Sushi and Sumo: Shoujo Visits the Japanese Festival, version 3.0

It’s time for my now ?apparently annual? excursion to the “local” Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival. Chronic is picking me up from my home this afternoon, following which we will pick up his twin brother from said brother’s place of work and make our way to the home of our friend living adjacent to the gardens. Last year, the heat made the festival unbearable. It’s also hard for me to believe I was out walking around so shortly before my back went out completely, but I know I must have. That does help explain my previous entry on the festival (found here) which might read normally, but I was trying SO hard to be cheerful.

While it’s nothing new at this point, so long as the weather holds, it should prove a decent endeavor. The food alone… yum. However, I woke up this morning with a good deal of pain in my upper back and neck, not to mention the slightly-more-elevated than usual pain in my lower spine. This upper back pain is worse than it’s been in actual months, so…

Really, I’m going back and forth about attendance.

I’ll probably be fine, so long as my friends understand my limitations and Chronic (because he is driving, after all) doesn’t mind cutting the day together short should I need to do so. He was very good about this when we went to Anime STL and another, smaller con that required a greater travel distance, so… I mean. I think I can take the risk and go out with my friends.

I think.

I still have some time to decide on the matter, so if I actually publish this journal-like coverage, then I suppose you’ll know I did indeed take the plunge. But now, I think I’m going to lay down for a while.

Maybe I’ll message Chronic about my predicament and leave the decision up to him.


Well, I did it, and things went pretty well. When we arrived, we parked at our friend’s house and walked to the gardens. Our first stop upon arrival was the food area, where I ordered a bento 🍱 containing katsu poke (I’m living that “Yuri on Ice” life, right?), noodles, gyoza, a spring roll, a takoyaki ball, lettuce, and white rice. It was just as delicious as you’d probably imagine, though I neglected to take pictures. We then proceeded to the Sumo demonstration.

Three genuine wrestlers showed how Sumo is done as the host educated the audience and answered questions. Sumo takes such dedication and training; it’s really a life-long sacrifice, too, because after retirement in your late 20s (as you would imagine, Sumo is hard on the body), you’re still dealing with the repercussions on your body, with weight-related complications and joint injury being the most common. A wrestler’s day begins at 5 A.M. each morning. After they wake up, they train for a solid 5 hours before eating their first meal of the day, taking a nap, and going about their personal business.

After demonstrations, actual matches began. The longest sumo match ever recorded lasted only 4 minutes, with some matches being over in mere seconds. The wrestlers presenting here are all fairly evenly matched, so matches tend to last longer than that just because they know what to do with expect from each other and how to counter.

Following the sumo demonstration, we made our way to a cooking demonstration, wherein a chef made various types of sushi while answering questions from the audience. He prepared cucumber rolls, California rolls, shrimp nigiri, and salmon nigiri. We didn’t know this when we went in, but when the demonstration was over, we got to sample his creations! They were delicious, probably better than any sushi I’ve ever had.

After eating, we walked around a bit in search of melon bread (though I personally was in search of a fluffy cheesecake), and we ate those things while chatting at table in the shade. I also bought some cookies n’ cream Pocky (the only good Pocky in my honest opinion) to take home and save for rough days at work. :p

The bonsai exhibit was closed by the time we made it that way, and so we ended up going back to our friend’s house and chatting a bit before we went home. I also didn’t find any Amnesia Memories or Hakuouki SSL pins this time (I mean, the latter was a 1 in a million occurrence last year, lol), but I didn’t expect to, really.

I’ve spent the last two days recovering from lots of walking, sitting on the ground, and standing around, but it was a good time, in the end. I’ve been peopled-out for a while, though. Homebody me needs to get back to being a homebody. ❤

I hope you’re looking forward to my next anime post this week!

Until I write again,

Shoujo 🌸

P.S.

These are pictures of me and my friends, as well as one friend’s cat. Cause, you know, why not?

“I Have the Plague.” –Anime STL 2019 cosplay & commentary

I have the plague. I don’t know when it happened—if it was slow in coming or began all at once—but I have it, and I’m looking for a cure.

An amazing someone tried their best to cure me, and their medical expertise was unparalleled in its individuality (the usage of ducks was very inventive, for example), but even though they offered me a glass jewel and pronounced me cured with a sticker (was so enchanted by this that I almost cried, I exaggerate not.), I think the plague stuck around. I don’t blame them, though. They tried their best. I have that glass jewel in my pocket to this day.

img_3075.jpg

It’s gotten so bad that I can’t finish any of the 51 drafts on my computer. That’s a shame, because I had so many seemingly decent ideas that won’t come to fruition. At least not now. Anyway, I can’t finish the “Dragon Ball Z as a Shoujo” parody post I began working on forever ago, and that seemed like it could be entertaining, but I just can’t. I don’t know why this plague won’t leave me. Like I said, it’s May, and the plague has been lingering for a while indeed. So I’ll show you a set of some cosplayers I really like from that title instead. I ran across the same group last year; stand up looks, guys.

Chronic and I focused this time on voice actor panels that described what it’s like to work in the industry. The things I learned could spawn a post all their own if it wasn’t for this sickness, so I’ll instead say here that it’s made me really reconsider how much I want to do voiceover work. I’m not saying I DON’T still think it would be interesting, and I have a web portfolio at least fleetingly ready to go, but listening to Cynthia Cranz, Wendy Powell, Patrick Seitz, Terri Doty, and Damian Mills talk about their experiences in and out of the booth was both illuminating and very valuable.

I ran into a white blood cell, and even a boost in immunity didn’t cure me. He is really cool, though, and I’m all about white blood cells even though I haven’t seen the anime just because, I mean, look at them. So badass. I digress.

Still, I have the plague. I need a hero, you say? Perhaps I would have thought that, but even heroes fail to save me thus far. The mysterious Tokoyami and his powerful shadow are intimidating to any reasonably physical foe, but those that are microscopic? Not so much. I got this picture, but I didn’t seek his aid. Maybe next time.

I did find some relief in Artists’ Ally through a very soft little fruit bat (a banana or “batnana,” if you will) that has since come home with me. He is excellent to cuddle and made with love by an artist’s own hands. If I can gain some repose and support a creator at the same time, I’m about it.

There was also an enlightening and frankly hilarious panel on “Hot Dads of Anime,” and now I have some new titles to watch because they looked SO cool, guys. If only this plague will let me write about them…

Anyway, it distinctly did NOT help that I was touched during the “Name that Anime Tune” panel and had to escape. Until then, the panel seemed like it would have been fun, though. Try and stay with friends, guys.

I wasn’t going to write about that. I really wasn’t. I guess it’s still really bothering me, though? I don’t understand. Or maybe it’s the plague making me emotional.

Don’t answer that. Don’t.

I need to bring the post back up again. How, you ask? The best way I know how: my child, the baby Muffin. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Look at that sweet child enjoying her meal. Look at her. I swear, I’m so blessed. She’s so precious. My beebee kitty. ❤ ❤ ❤ YET, EVEN SHE CANNOT CURE THE PLAGUE. D:

And that’s it, friends. If you know an herbalist that can cure me, do let me know, but I think that time might be the only answer.

Until I recover,

Shoujo ❤ ❤ ❤

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P.S.

I should write a post about how big of a problem con harassment can be. I really should. I know I’m not the only one. ❤

Botanical Garden Japanese Festival 2018

Like last year, I attended the Japanese festival at our “local” botanical garden, although this time I went with my friends (Ginger, Chronic, and Chronic’s as-of-yet-alias-less brother) instead of Husband. Also unlike last year, we went on a Sunday instead of Saturday, and thus we had different experience options.

I just re-read that opening paragraph and already I find myself to be decidedly boring. Gotta step up my game, somehow. But what can I do if it’s just that kind of dayyyyyyy????

Yeah, I dunno. But moving on.

To begin, we arrived at around noon and ATE! Just like last year, there were dozens of choices for authentic cuisine, and it was delicious. I again got a bento box with teriyaki chicken, takoyaki, and the like, while my friends sampled other wares. I bought a Ramune for Husband, because of course, and I stuffed it in my purse as we meandered on.

I didn’t cosplay; as much as I wanted to run an informal trial of my recently complied Trisha Elric, it was just TOO HOT. (Please, fall, arrive…) I did dress up, however, in some sort of cute street fashion, which both made me feel happy AND caused Ginger’s kind neighbor to think I was “crossplaying” (as he struggled to find the word “anime.”)

After eating, we wandered a bit, stumbling across what could only be described at some sort of Japanese street performance. And it was fun! The man did some work with tops, particularly, that was very impressive.

At one point, we stopped off at the bridge to watch beebee koi, and it seems as though they’d been fed so much that they were quite unconcerned about the food being tossed their way. Ah, well, good on them. Self control is a virtue, right?

(Okay, so maybe they are absolutely not babies, but hey, they’re so cute, see!)

Carrying on in this similar “look what we saw” fashion, while we missed the ice sculpting, we did see the sculpture melting away in the heat. The water flowed like small streams down the side of the structure, and it was honestly kind of amazing (also because just LOOKING at something that frozen in the heat was a relief, to be honest).

Below you’ll find the Omikoshi that is carried through the gardens as a sort of festival parade along with an explanation as to why as much is done.

And though I’d already seen it, Ginger had never been privy to the tea ceremony, so we watched it once again.

All in all, it was a fun time, but nothing else was much to speak of; I don’t know that I’ll go back next year, though it did make me miss anime conventions all the more…

Until I blog again,

Shoujo

To enter the sweepstakes mentioned here, click here. I’ll include this link on all blog posts published between now and the sweepstakes conclusion. 🙂

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Pack Bonding with a Smol Octopus (Anime STL —Day 2)

Today brings a return of my rambling, journal-like coverage of AnimeSTL. When I saw Elias, I knew it would be a good day.

I’m currently waiting the next 20 minutes for the Caleb Hyles concert, and following that, well…

I saw the CUTEST giant hedgehog at the dealer’s hall, and it is 25 dollars, but I really want it, and I’m at war with myself because I LOVE hedgehogs, but also… $25…

Make that 45 dollars!

And there is also a small ice cream narwal that I have my eyes on from artist alley…

And I think I might be out of line, but I’ve been waiting here for like 40 minutes, sooo… if they marked off lines, we would not have this problem. I just hope no one thinks I’m trying to be rude. I just have no idea where I’m supposed to be… :/ 😦

Now people are showing up and standing over here who just got here so I think they need better line marking. AX was line con, yes, but at least we all knew where to be so we didn’t accidentally cut in line…

As I wait, I’ve seen some awesome Sayians and Demi-sayians:

I ~may~ have seen a few in the dealer’s hall as well, but those are the evil, early arc ones. Watch out for those.

I’ve also seen a bonified Disney princess and her beau!

In any case, the doors open in 5 minutes; let the concert begin!

————少女

Okay, so the concert has not started yet, but I gotta share… look how close I am! *mild fangirling but also worrying about hearing loss*

Every time I see Caleb Hyles (he came out earlier to talk with fans), I put my hand over my nose like I realized I do when I’m nervous. I am ridiculously ridiculous and need to stop this nonsense. :p I was equally excited to meet Josh Grelle last year, so I guess I’m just an overly-excitable person. But, I mean, we all knew that, right? ^_−☆

Anyway, I’ll catch up later!

————少女

That concert. I am in awe. It was so cool. Caleb seems so nice! He sang a whole new group of songs he hasn’t sung in concert before, and… just and!

I also ran into Kiki and Tombo in the dealer’s hall. Jiji seems a little shy! 😛

I found Howl. Luckily his hair is still blonde; Chronic and I didn’t have time for any natural-hair-color-reverting freakouts today. ^_−

And, today again, superheroes (and their SOs!) patrolled the convention to keep everything running smoothly.

I bought a hilarious print and a very adorable smol octopus ❤ ❤ ❤ from artist alley. I am so emotionally attached to this tiny octopus (simply named Octopus), and to quote the viral ?tumblr post?, humans will pack bond with anything. So, it’s now Chronic, me, and the beebee smols.

As we now sit in another humorous anime game show, I have a moment to share with you that I FINALLY FOUND A VICTOR. (Well, actually Victor fangirls found both of us and called us together for a picture; honestly that was better.)

I was also found by a Yuuri!

(I couldn’t remember if I got explicit permission to post this to the blog, so I’m blocking the cosplayer’s face along with my own.)

Further, it isn’t a convention without at least one unwanted, awkward interaction with a man. I don’t know why. I don’t like it. I wish it would stop. So does Octopus. ( ; ; )It can’t just be me!! Please just be cool, gents! I am afraid!! (>人<;)

(Again, pack bonded with the octopus.) 🐙

Next up, I head to a character shipping panel! I’ll check in again soon!

————少女

The shipping panel was both fun and hilarious. I got to talk to all the people about HijiChi, too!

(Hazelyn, that Makoto\Haru is for you! Lol)

Meeting up with Chronic again (as he went to another panel–“Getting Your Friends Into Anime (No, Really)”), we ran into Dr. Strange!! His powers seem in fine working order, though he was tuning them up when we came by!

We then went to the LAVA (Loud, Annoying, and Very Annoying) panel, which was absolutely fantastic improve by Robbie Daymond, Max Mittelman, and Ray (not “Tay,” autocorrect?) Chase. Pictures and film were prohibited at this time.

Look! Edward Elric!

Now we’re waiting for our final panel of the con (we decided that Sunday was a short day that didn’t hold much appeal for us, so we’ll call it early), “When Good Tropes Go Bad.” It’s on awful fanfic tropes. We predict it will be hilarious.

————少女

Final Update: the panel was funny, but the last part was dirty. 😦 Now we’re headed out!

Thanks for reading my rambling coverage! Check back in soon for more of my shoujo thoughts! ❤

~Shoujo

Mayes Hughes is Alive and Well! (Anime STL—Day 1)

If you are reading this post because I handed you a business card, welcome! If you are of my usual anime compatriots, also welcome! Just welcome, everyone! And so begins my highly subjective, rambling, journal-like coverage of Anime STL!

Does anyone have any rose petals I can borrow? How about a periwinkle jacket? No? Aw, man. Maybe Honey Senpai does!

Today, No Face handed me gold nuggets. It was amazing.

Following this, I got to meet CALEB HYLES, and I even got to sing on stage with him during his Disney/Anime sing along! (It was to “History Makers,” by the way!)

He was so nice, even though I was such an awkward fan girl. I texted beloved Husband that I met the man, but the picture didn’t go through and it led to a strange “met who?” and clarification phone call. 😛

Moving on, I ran into a wicked queen turned witch who offered me an apple, and a large demigod with a fish hook who isn’t afraid to say “You’re welcome!”

After a quick dinner with Chronic (chicken and rice bowl!), I ran into two superheroes patrolling the convention center to keep our anime compatriots safe.

(If I see Spongebob, I’ll be sure to let him know his idols are nearby.)

Earlier, I’d stumbled across at least part of the Teen Titans.

After all, villains lurk around every corner.

Chronic and I are currently sitting in anime trivia, and the casual nature of the panel gives me opportunity to make a needed, reassuring announcement…

A few days ago, I jumped forward in my FMA viewing to compare Mayes Hughes’ death to that of the man in my previously viewed FMA:B. It was truly tragic; Elicia’s little voice echoed insistently as she questioned why they were burying Daddy. How is he gonna do his work? The inclusion of a real child’s voice created such emotion, and I was honestly in tears.

Well, I am so happy to say that the anime has been proven wrong. I ran into the Hughes family complete and well! (Let me live in my denial of canonical truths, okay?)

After this anime trivia is complete, I think we’ll be headed on to the Art of Being Evil panel. I’ll update this post as we see more!

———————————–少女

The Art of Being Evil with Keith Silverstein was interesting for sure, but once finished, Chronic and I were both pretty exhausted; as such, we only popped our head into the 90s Nostalgia Prom for a few minutes (I lured him in with the promise of dancing dinosaurs) before heading home. We’re currently in the car and waiting for the windows to de-fog.

Tomorrow, we’ll head back around noon for our final con day, as Sunday holds little interest for us. I have learned today that wigs are good for about ?six hours? before they start to hurt, and that I’m more socially awkward now thanks to my anxiety than I have ever been. Woo!

Good night, all!

~Shoujo ❤

Cosplay Updates~~ 1950s Gender-Bent Yuuri Katsuki

You may remember that I’ve planned a very specific cosplay for Anime STL (as well as any other cons I pick up this season). The deadline for creation draws ever nearer, and I’m getting antsy as the bulk of my work still lies ahead as my RL job gets ever more demanding…

To begin, the pattern came in today for my poodle skirt. I had attempted to find said pattern locally in my size, but no dice. 🎲 Now that this is settled, I’ll soon be buying a crinoline online (or making one, but that might be just asking for extra work… but also fluffier?!) After the skirt is assembled (hopefully this weekend!?), I’ll need to create a perfectly YOI poodle as an accent. My biggest hurdles now are:

  • choosing a skirt color
  • darkening/styling my hair

Regarding the first, I was thinking that a deep blue would be my best choice to compliment the dark athletic/under armor shirt and stay within the confines of Yuri’s personality. It corresponds beautifully to his pair skate costume, as well, and so…

Yeah, in elaborating on my thought process, that decision came easier than I thought. So, yes. Deep blue. Now to find the perfect fabric. *nervous face*

My hair was always destined to be in a straightened ponytail with a few gelled pieces falling forward into my eyes, but my own hair is a medium brown, and it doesn’t feel dark enough.

[art by Gearous]

While I can have my photo-shop savvy friend darken my hair in post for pictures, I’m considering using a hair mascara to streak black into my brown and darken it up… but then it might stain my Victor jacket. I’m at a bit of a loss, actually; what do you think, anime compatriots? Should I just leave my hair the brown that it is, or should I attempt the hair mascara? There is also the option of wearing my hair in a bun and preventing color rub off… or, again, I could leave it brown.

OH NO! I still have to get more business cards made!! It might be too late!!

Well, I’m off to panic about that and see if I need to/can order them tonight!

~Shoujo

P.S.

Here are some sneak peeks of my accumulated items!

P.S.S.

I just ordered the cards. They should be in on time! ヽ(*^ω^*)ノ

🌸⛩Shoujo and Husband Attend a Japanese Festival🌸🇯🇵

Two possible truths could prove the less-than-profound-yet-highly-accurate jumping off point for this post’s introduction. The first? I am incredibly but happily tired from an afternoon well spent. The second? I might need to go back on my no-more-fan-media pledge for Yuri on Ice and read some fanfiction because, dear readers, I have been inspired…

By this:

[Yurio had run off to the bathroom, but would you look at this 🔥 group?]

Husband and I adventured through the closest botanical garden during their annual Japanese Festival, and—apparently—how could Yuri and Victor not drop by with their friends? Does that not seem like such a Victor thing to do? (The sheer inclusion of all these skaters makes this cosplay fangirl-worthy, right??)

Anyway, moving on, I’ll begin with our outline of events and proceed thusly in effort to stay coherent. Husband and I headed over in the early afternoon after church, lunch, and changing our clothes. After some navigational mishaps, we arrived!

The gardens were so crowded that we ended up parking quite far away and hoofing it to the entrance, but that was lovely exercise and we both wore comfortable shoes (even though wonderful Husband refuses to wear anything but sandals unless absolutely necessary). (^^)


Digression:

Speaking of shoes, my pastel street fashion made me feel very happy. (*^^*) There is just something about skirts and pastels and cap sleeves that makes a Shoujothoughts feel so~~ alive!! Can’t we all just dress up like that all the time if we want?? Hehe. (^^)


Anyway, getting back on topic, we ended up by the food stalls upon arrival (which were amazing and regarding which I will wax on shortly), and we made our way toward the main entrance to see the booth of an anime convention* (a festival co-sponsor). They were holding a Pokémon Hunt in which you had to locate and take photographs at different points in the garden, turning in your results for a chance to win a free pass to their next con (and one also won a tea bag)! I did not participate, but Ginger knows the gardens well as she frequents them, so if she had gone, (she could not as she was working) we might have undertaken the challenge. As it stands, there were too many other things to do!

*I’ll be going to this particular conversation next May, hopefully with Chronic in tow!

Husband and I watched an artist demonstrating calligraphy whilst in the same area as the con booth. Said artist is from Japan, but she is traveling in hopes of sharing the art form around the world.

Her work was quite interesting to watch unfold.

Next, we wandered toward the bonsai tree exhibit… Is is astounding to think that some of these beautiful, tiny trees have been living as bonsai for decades… The dedication it must take to care for them must be reminiscent of a pet rather than plant!

I read a bit about bonsai types, and we proceeded on.

In the same hall, we sat and watched an artist ranging flowers. Her particular illustrated style of Ikibana turned out to be (and I’ll probably spell this bit wrong) “Rika Shinputai,” a more modern facet originating in 1999. (Okay, Google tells me that I got pretty close. It is actually “Rikka Shimputai.”)

I felt like I was in Magic-Kyun! Renaissance for a little while there. (If you don’t understand why I say that, you should go watch the show for *literal* shoujo sparkles.)

Wandering out of the main entrance building, we perused the Japanese market, which was a bit small and a tad underwhelming compared to what I had expected, but—while I didn’t find any hair sticks—I did later purchase an egg shaper for use in making my bentos. 🙂

Husband and I stumbled into his brother and said brother’s wife shortly after, and decided—after parting ways and consulting a festival volunteer—to grab food before getting in line to watch the tea ceremony performance. (But not before running into a friend who shall remain nameless and making awkward but nice small talk.)

The food… oh, my anime compatriots, the FOOD WAS DELICIOUS. Husband got yaki tori and a Japanese soda, whereas I got a bento to sample multiple wares. 🍱 My bento included a salad (mixed greens drizzled in some sort of sweet sauce), two pot stickers (which Husband refused to try even though I bet he would have liked them!), and two takoyaki, as well as rice with spicy chicken. I was in Heaven!! This was my first time eating Japanese food other than sushi, and I loved every bit of it!!

Husband’s soda tasted a bit like bubble gum, and it wasn’t bad in my opinion, but he really liked it! He said it was better than his go-to soft drink, Sprite, which I thought was cute and interesting because he was so sure he wouldn’t find anything he liked, but went two for two (as he liked his yaki tori as well). (^^)

[I’m going to have to try and order some of that online for him as a surprise!]

And guess who we saw shortly after we

finished eating! Chronic and his mom!!

After lunch and parting ways with friends once more, we watched the tea ceremony, which was interesting and also quite long, lasting around an hour. I didn’t get any pictures during the ceremony itself as I was trying to stay in the moment as well as keep myself from being disruptive, but I did manage to capture a few images before they began. Here’s one now…

After the ceremony, we wandered a bit through the Japanese garden…

Exiting the area, we watched some traditional dancing!! It looked very fun, and they even let the audience get invoked with some of their numbers. Below is a portion in which the dancers demonstrate their craft…

By this time, we felt like winding down. We headed back through the botanical gardens, stopping to peruse the Japanese snacks on display before heading back to the main market where I bought my egg shaper. One more serving of spicy chicken be rice later left us ready to make the trek back to our car.


Have lost all coherency. Waiting for video to load almost made me pass out. Autocorrect is great but still trying really heard here. Going to wrap it up but so glad I got to share this awesome experience.

Love and Cheese Danish,

Shoujo