I’ve come to notice in Korea that few people past their twenties will openly admit that they watch anime, read manga, game, or collect toys. That said, I was surprised to see that a variety of toy conventions pop up in Seoul year-round, and each one well attended by almost exclusively adults. So while I felt like a lone nerd when I initially moved to Seoul, over time I realized that this country is full of people just as nerdy as me; however, unlike me, most don’t feel the need to shout it from the rooftops.
Here’s me full of wide-eyed wonderment before entering the con. It’s a bit smaller than some of the other toy and pop culture cons in Seoul (i.e. Seoul Kidult Fair) but it still made me giddy as hell. The majority of the convention consists of exhibit and sales space for indie toy designers, although you can also find a couple booths selling nendoroids, Gundams, anime and Sanrio blindbox toys peppered throughout.
She had me at tea party.
If anyone ever mentions a tea party, I’m in. It doesn’t really matter what it’s celebrating or where it is, I all about anything related to dress up or pretty foods. In this case, however, my cousin asked me to help her plan and host a Lolita tea party for her sister’s birthday. Of course I accepted the offer, then proceeded to procrastinate so that I ended up having to make about 5 different dishes two hours before the party. All in all, things turned out pretty good, though. Take a look at the spread below.
You’d be surprised how versatile cream cheese is and how many different times you can cram it into one dinner menu without anyone really noticing, so long as you use a little food coloring and creativity. I made tea sandwiches, vegetable canapes, scones, and stuffed tomatoes, while my cousin supplied all the desserts (no damn way could I have made those petit fours). Note the wide-eyed and mega kawaii food pics contributing to the tablescape, courtesy of my brother. (more…)
Perhaps I’m a little bit spoiled in that I expect virtually every nerd event to involve toys. So while Seoul’s monthly anime cons were like a cosplay miracle, the fact that none of these cons had toy or figure vendors sort of put me in a panic. Where are my toys? How can you deprive a nerd of their toys? Thankfully the Seoul Kidult Fair helped to assuage my fears that I would leave Korea without an opportunity to fangasm over some sweet figures.
The Kidult Fair is an annual toy and hobby expo, hosted in a convention hall within the Coex megamall. It’s a combo of toy vendors, industry innovators promoting their products (i.e. 3d printers), contests, and toy and art exhibits, along with a massive gaming space. For someone like me, it was an endless heart-attack risk. I ran amok with the hyperness of a child, scouring through bins of discounted anime figures and marveling at the display of BJD dolls.
One of the more notable sights was the exhibit of felt sculptures and papercrafts. At the end of the exhibit there was an area to buy your own papercrafts, along with a workspace where you could assemble your purchases–with the aid of staff members if need be. Well aware that I lack goth the patience and precision for that, I was happy just admiring the pieces and identifying my favorite video game and anime characters.
There are so many wonderful and breathtaking things to explore in Aeoul, but I’ve realized that while traveling in general, one should never set their expectations too high. As someone who’ll soon be able to say that she’s visited all of the countries she’s dreamt of seeing since she was a child (Korea being one, Japan the other) I’m working on perfecting this whole “reasonable expectations” thing. I bring this up because I have accounts to share about my two recent adventures–to the Hello Kitty Cafe and to Seoul Comic World. Some aspects of my adventures were surprisingly amazing, while others, not so much. Let me elaborate ^^
HELLO KITTY’S PINK-HUED PANDEMONIUM
The Hello Kitty Cafe is a cotton candy-hued building nestled away in a hilly side street in Hongdae. I’ve been there twice–on a Saturday and Sunday–and as one might expect, the experience varied drastically depending on the day. It’s a sought after destination for tourists and kawaii girls no matter what day, but if you show up on a Saturday, anticipate that it could be a madhouse.
Happy Belated-Thanksgiving, everyone ^^ I hope you had a lovely holiday full wining, over-dining, and long, awkward conversations. There are a lot of things I’m thankful for, and right at the top of my list is my large, close-knit family. Every time I visit we try to make it memorable, and one of my favorite family outings this year was to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA.
My family was a little resistant to the idea of dressing up at first, but when I found out they’d booked the trip the weekend right before Halloween, I explained to them that it was non-negotiable–“you have absolutely no choice” I think were my exact words. Though the Renaissance Faire has an obvious, err, Renaissance theme, there are no strict rules you need to adhere to. In previous years I’ve seen everything from Ghostbusters to werewolves to Spock and Kirk galavanting about amidst the jesters and maidens. That being said, my father went as a vampire prince, my mother as a maiden, my grandmother as a glam witch, and I went as a Demon Mage.
Lately my greatest love has been Kdramas (Korean television dramas). One day I stumbled upon one (Shut Up and Let’s Go) on Netflix, and from that point forth they’re basically all I watch. I won’t go on about them too much, because I realize romantic melodrama isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I will say there’s one I love so much I decided to create a mini event around it, to both celebrate and soften the blow of the series’ finale.
Innocent, comedic (both intentional and unintentional) and immensely heartwarming, Boys Over Flowers started as a guilty pleasure, but now I’ll unashamedly state that it’s one of the best programs I’ve ever seen. It can be described as a modern-day Cinderella story with multiple princes, or else Twilight without the supernatural aspects and far better acting–but however you put it, it’s basically the story of a poor girl who steals the hearts of a bunch of self-absorbed, out-of-touch rich dudes, and a long, overly-complicated love triangle ensues.
This past weekend I prepared a Boys Over Flowers-themed picnic (I sure do love me a themed party, dinner, anything). Nothing too over-the-top, but with themed food and attire. With my personal motto being “the more dramatic the better,” my original intention was to cosplay as the lead character, Geum Jan-di, but my school uniform was a bit too slow shipping from Japan, so plans changed. Instead, my friend and I donned summery outfits inspired and color-coordinated to match our favorite male counterparts of the show’s love triangle. Here’s Alisha’s light and lovely Yoon Ji-hoo attire.
And I, always clad in black and a fan of the bad boy in any love story, wore a look inspired by character, Goo Jun-pyo.
It’s hard to know where to start. I’m almost tempted to say “what happens at AnimeNext, stays at AnimeNext,” or “the first rule of anime conventions: don’t talk about anime conventions.” But I won’t cop out, especially since I took so many pics of my adventures. Though even with a full con recap, there are still some things that can’t truly be explained, and you just had to see for yourself. For example, watching Link and Hello Kitty have a krump-off while two young vocaloids squeeled with glee from the sidelines is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. And cosplay burlesque–I definitely didn’t expect to see Richter Belmont whipping the clothes off of sexy vampires, or April O’ Neil gyrating in turtle pasties…
Atmosphere, Events, and Antics
I take it for granted that people reading this already know what an anime con is, but if not, it’s basically a convention for all things relating to Japanese animation, manga (Japanese comics), gaming, and even branching out to include Japanese music, fashion, and some Korean pop culture. I’ve been to regular comic conventions in the past, but this is not the same, with the glaring difference being the amount of cosplay. If you don’t show up in costume, you’re in the minority.
I know that New York Fashion Week wasn’t a competition, but if it were, the award for Best Overall Performance would go to Jeremy Scott. I don’t recall the last time I was this wowed by a collection. It’s so playfully creepy, with a youthful edge. In this collection we saw mummies, zombies, leopard-print, anarchy, and some absolutely crazy neon fur. I need these things in my life.
I had a birthday this past Monday, and I celebrated it the way everyone should celebrate their 27th birthday (ugghhh 27)–prancing around a Victorian mansion.
I rounded up my ladies and went to a place that I can’t believe I haven’t already been to at least a dozen times, and a place that I wish I could stay forever–the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
I hope all of ya’ll had a wonderful Christmas/holiday/time-off-from-work-without-celebrating-anything/etc. Sorry I kind of vanished from social-networking and blogging land for a while–I was busy doing crucial holiday stuff like hangin’ with my family, sleeping for an eternity, and eating profuse amounts of low fat, sugar free, flour free pumpkin pie (no doubt the most appetizing thing you’ve ever heard of, I know).
Christmas is the big holiday for my family, and everyone was too busy running around to take pictures of the action. No pictures my grandmother dancing to Gangnam Style two times, my reenactment of the knife fight from Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” or pictures of my cousin’s epic outfit that reminded me of Rihanna gone goth. (more…)