One of my good friend has been working on her own jewellery brand, I had the opportunity to see some of the designs and I can tell you it’s gonna be cute, glamorous and classy!
In order for everyone to follow the project she created a blog where she also shares some of her cake recipes (I did made some with her, and they are as good as they look gorgeous!) and some fashion tips.
Sadly it’s all in French as she lives and works in Paris.
So check it out if you’re a French fashionista, or if you would just like to have a look at the Strawberry cake she makes!
Once upon a time, we had a dream of meeting our idol actors from the TV show. Xivent saw it and burnt it to ashes.
As part of Yat-Tus Prod, we collaborate with our friends from Mes-series.FR,a French website dedicated to French actors who happened to also do voice acting. This time we had the…
You, people, have clearly never been to a convention before. In terms of time delays, this con barely had any and even then they managed to shuffle everything around and still fit all the important stuff in.
As for Emilie, it’s not just the organizers’ fault, if you were there on Saturday, you’d know that Emilie is to blame for what happened too.
The photoshoots weren’t even rushed, all my friends and I managed to ask for the poses that we wanted and even when the photographer was saying hurry up, we didn’t give a damn and neither did the actors.
In regards to them screaming to stand in line, not take photos in the photo ops/autos rooms, or whatever. That’s standard con behaviour. And they weren’t even screaming. You didn’t hear screaming until you attended LFCC, or FedCon, or DragonCon and JCB is screaming her head off right in front of you and you still love her for it because you know she’s right, and you know that there needs to be a semblance of organization, because otherwise the whole con would turn to dust.
About the photos. Do you know how many cons have problems with their printers/paper and end up not being able to give them on the day? At least here it only happened for Bex’s Sunday photoshoot (and then some random photos throughout the weekend.) One year at CMK, all their systems crashed and they lost all the photos. Now THAT is a problem, not the fact that they didn’t have time or whatever to print one batch of photos. Also, they’re putting them online for free!! At all the other cons you have a to pay at least a fiver for each photo.
I wish I’d met that security mad dog you kept bringing up. All the security guys I met were nothing but polite and respectful, they even held your badges when you went in for the photo ops and they weren’t supposed to. Besides, if any of that were true, then Jared and Lana wouldn’t have praised them so. Didn’t Jared say they were the best, or something?
And of course they’d scream at you if ppl were taking photos when they weren’t supposed to. After the ball on Saturday night heaps of photos ended up online and that was prohibited during the night. Same for photos in the autograph rooms, and photo op rooms. Or ppl standing at the gates waiting for the actors to come out or for their cars to pass by. You see them for a whole weekend, you get the chance to talk to them, touch them, hug them, why were so many fans acting like stalkers? That really iffed me. Some ppl need to learn what respect is.
Xivent did a FANTASTIC job and while there are some negatives, the positives farrrr outweigh them. They can learn from their mistakes from this year, but you ppl expect far too much and think that everything is entitled to you.
I have to say that this was one of the best cons I’ve attended. And I didn’t even speak French.
You, people, have clearly never been to a convention before.
I’ve been doing conventions as a staff for the past 10 years. that includes the biggest conventions in Europe.
As for Emilie
I never mentioned anything about EMilie, so I’m not sure what you are refereing to.
The photoshoots weren’t even rushed, all my friends and I managed to ask for the poses that we wanted and even when the photographer was saying hurry up, we didn’t give a damn and neither did the actors.
You clearly were lucky, that’s a good thing, and that’s a change for once. Most of the fans were not as lucky as you were, specially on Sunday afternoon.
I wish I’d met that security mad dog you kept bringing up.
I would gladly show him to you. It’s not because you haven’t seen things that they didn’t happen or that anyone here is lying. I’m telling my story, if yours is different, that’s fantastic. All the actors are honourable professionals, we are not talking of divas who would have probably complain about less than that. I’m praising and respecting the actors just as you do. Again, do not accuse people of lying because you were not there to see.
I’m not sure what you are referring to about the photos but what was discussed with the staff and for the staff is obviously different. Nobody was stalking anybody and still people were mistreated. That’s the problem. We would have understood obviously if measures were taken in appropriate situations.
Once upon a time, we had a dream of meeting our idol actors from the TV show. Xivent saw it and burnt it to ashes.
As part of Yat-Tus Prod, we collaborate with our friends from Mes-series.FR,a French website dedicated to French actors who happened to also do voice acting. This time we had the occasion to work with them for a Fairy Tales Convention II, and had the French voice actors of Belle, Snow White, Regina, Young Snow, Henry, Neal, the Blue Fairy, Auguste, Wales,… the Artistic Director of the show who works with the production and Disney for the French diffusion to come and talk about their work.
Our friends of TOFU PROPS & PLAY slaved for days hand painting a wonderful set of the enchanted forest for the fans and organised a cosplay performance. Everything was supposed to be perfect. Little did we know, we just landed in Hell.
I saw fans who paid at least 200EUR a day getting scolded because they were standing in the corridor trying to have a glimpse of the photoshoot they couldn’t afford. “What the hell are you doing here? You can’t stay here if you haven’t paid. Get out”
I saw hundreds of fans waiting outside because there was nothing else to do when you were not rich enough to book a Photoshoot or Meet&Greet.
The French actors sacrificed a nice sunny weekend with their families in order to meet the fans and talk about the show (They accepted to do it for free for the fans). The instigators gave us an empty room at the last minute to put their belongings in. A table, some chairs and one little bottle of water probably forgotten by a staff member.
The American actors told us they would be happy to meet their fellow workers. Sean Maguire mentioned “We are all actors so we have to stick together, you know”, but they hardly get any breaks at all. When finally Belle and Regina met their French voice actresses, security barked again and again “nobody could come close, do not take pictures, get out, hurry up, don’t hug, take a picture, move on, leave now!”
Same Security Mad dog almost yelled at Lana Parilla because she was “spending too much time talking and hugging fans during photoshoot”. Being the wonderful human being she is, she refused to stop. She came for the fans and intended to do her job. Maybe the Mad dog thought this was an Avril Lavigne event…?
All of us staff were treated like scum. Staff members slaved from dawn to dusk with a 10min break a day. No food provided, buy your own if you want to eat. Do not even think about switching station. You’re all volunteers, you should be grateful we let you work for us.
One pregnant fan was throw outside because she had the audacity of being friend with a volunteer for a competitor. She paid her entrance like everybody else and never caused any problem, but that doesn’t matter. Pregnant or not, they stressed them out and banned them of the convention.
I saw Robbie Kay making the effort to come and see the set Tofu props had prepared, thanks to his wonderful PA. He was our highlight of the day. He gladly offer to pose with the group and offered individual photos as well. After one flash, Security Mad dog strikes again “no, move on, don’t take more pictures, we need to go”. Robbie looks confused “Really? just one more photo with them maybe?”. Mad dog refuses and barks again. Robbie looks at us sadly and apologise again and again but he has to go.
You think this is bad? Wait for it. This was only the first half day!
Let’s talk about the “VIP event” people paid a fortune to attend.
Some of the members didn’t speak English so I was in charge of translating for them. When Jared S.Gilmore kindly came to spend 5 minutes to our “Table” I walked next to his PA and explained to her that I would translate for the group if that’s okay with her. She agrees. Jared didn’t hear me coming and was a bit surprised. I apologise and we laugh. Guess who screamed at that moment?
Yep, Mad dog! “Get out of here! you’re scaring him, back off, back off now or I will throw you out of the building myself”. Jared is confused, my friends don’t understand because they’re all standing in a respectful distance of Jared already, I look at the PA and she seems as chocked as I am. I tried to explain that I’m here to translate. He insult me a bit more. I go around and tell him again that if he would listen he would know that I am not a hysterical fangirl and I haven’t laid a single finger on Jared because WE respect him. He apologise finally “I didn’t know.” I grunt “you would if you would listen to people before insulting them”.
My cosplayer friends were asked to perform a week before the event. They will never get the chance to actually do it, after sewing costumes, preparing a performance, they are ask to stay at an empty table with a can of Coca-Cola and they are supposed to say thank you for it.
Mad dog almost insult a man who was talking to Robbie Kay. But wait…oh, right that is actually HIS DAD! Because you know he’s not supposed to talk to his dad either maybe?
I was dressed as Regina and met a fellow German Oncers dressed as the Wicked Witch and when I finally had a little time to ask her how things went she sadly look at the ground, and smile “Rebecca was wonderful so we did have a great time with her but…I guess everything else is still worth this.” My fellow Oncer sister doesn’t know the event put a huge pressure on the guests.
As fans, we are ready to suffer for our idols and what we want is to protect them. That is even more true when Xivent literally treat fans, Guests, and customers like cattle. Everybody is just a round purse of coins they have to steal. And this is outrageous.
We all had a dream for this weekend: fans to finally spend a few moments with their idols. Actors to finally spend a moment with their fans and thank them for their support, professionals meeting and having a little chat on their respective work on the TV show.
None of it was respected. The guests (French and Americans) were wonderful and generous professionals and fans were respectful and loving. But that means nothing to Xivent.
Beware fellow fandoms, we Oncers do not want this to happen to you or to us ever again. Spread the word so Xivent can NOT ruin your event. We still believe in our own magic, even though they just took a huge crap on it and throw it back to our faces.
This is NOT acceptable and this should NOT happen ever again.
Harrods is one of the most famous shopping center, with several designer brands, things you can’t afford if you’re a commoner like me…or you. And all the people I know. Probably the same for you. Anyway. It’s the equivalent of our French Galerie Lafayette I suppose.
It goes on several levels, the Egyptian stairs are designed like a museum, with a singer on top of it. A singer. In a staircase. How fancy is that?
Ladies and Gents I present to you: the stairs!
Even the toilets are worth visiting, it’s bigger than my previous appartment. I would have stolen samples if i could, like the ones everyone takes at the hotel. This was almost too fancy for me.. xD
And because I always walk with a hair straightener in my purse, I can stop by the toilets to fix my makeup AND my hair! \o/
Or vacuum the place if I have a sudden urge to clean! How thoughtful :D
The main attraction for us was the Disney store, located next to a cafe where you probably pay 10£ an espresso, and to the Bibiddi bobiddi Boutique, where you can dress up your little girl as her favourite Disney Princess for the modest sum of 1000£.
And no, I didn’t make any mistake when writting down the price. Magic comes with a price, everybody knows that, ask Regina or Rumplestinskin.
The store in itself is great, it’s quite big with exclusive products designed by and for Harrods. It’s the first Disney Store I’ve seen where you can take pictures! We had a chat with one of the sales assistant, very nice lady and snap a picture with Anna. Not me but almost.
And finally the Pets Empire. With a pet saloon included. You can buy clothes and biscuits for you pet. Fancier than the one I can afford at Tesco. I would eat those cookies instead of giving it to my cat. Oh yeah.
Seriously, I can’t even criticize it, I loved it, you can find anything you want, you have areas where you can sit and rest, huge teddy bears to snap pictures with,
Doctor Who and Avengers,
Batman and My Little Pony,
Yup, you can find both Batmant AND One Direction…I was not expecting that!
And I was definitely NOT expecting this.
and the Fairytale version of Monster High,
goodies from the Hobbit and Harry Potter, a library…
Look at all the goods I can’t buy!
We spent a lot of time here, it’s worth it. Well played Harrods, well played.
In Kensington Gardens, when walking along the Serpentine and the road that separate Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park, well hidden next to the italian fountain, you can find The Peter Pan Statue. That’s about it. I mean we were tired and had been walking all day so yeah…
Have a look at the full album, there’s a lot of funny pictures in it and even a squirrel. Don’t laugh it took me 10 minutes to snap this picture, it’s worth mentionning.
For those of you who don’t know, I regularly update my DA gallery and my latest craze has been My little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
I really couldn’t understand why people were making a fuss about it. Plus I found the chara design horrible. Then a good friend insisted on viewing at least a couple of episodes. That’s when I got hooked.
It’s actually very funny, not too childish with a good drop of sarcasm and once you get used to the design you happen to hate the old one.
But rest assured that it’s not the only thing you’ll find in my gallery. There’s also a bunch of fighting video games fanarts as they are my favourite. You can see things like costumes, photoshoots, some of the drawings and fanarts I made, etc.
Remember to Watch if you like it, you’ll be 20% cooler in 10 seconds flat I can guarantee that. Oh and by the way, the latest addition is the Sailor MLP.
This day, after having coffee at Earl’s court and snapping pictures with the TARDIS, my friend Myv and I decided to stop by the Victoria & Albert Museum, also known as V&A.
It’s no secret that we are big kids so we decided to take pictures of the free exhibit (yes, my fellow broke friend, it’s freeeeee) with Olaf and Meeko instead of us. Just because we can.
We wanted to visit the Club to Catwalk part but obviously this part was not free as it’s a temporary one… Like I cared anyway…*sigh* But, around this part there’s a free exhibit about 1880’s costumes, man, women, children… Should be even more interesting for the fashionistas.
And a small window with some Vivienne, Gaultier and Galliano.
You shall not visit!!…..Unless you pay.
I especially like those huge monuments inside the museum, all made of ….plaster….PLASTER! I know it’s quite impressive still, but come on, I felt disappointed. You liar!
Yup, it’s plaster. Not stone, plaster!
My favourite area though was the one dedicated to theatre, costumes, scenery, scripts, you could find costumes form musicals like the Lion King, or singers like Mick Jagger, and I found my favourite gown: The Viking Cabaret costume!!
How awesome is that?!
There’s also a cute little installation in the patio that is inspired by chinese/japanese garden, with a lot of tiny details you can’t spot from afar. It’s quite big, you can walk around it and enjoy all the details here and there. I believe it’s also temporary. And it would look better with a bit of sun. Hem.
Some of you might already know this but I’ve been staying in London for about 3 weeks now, and here’s a little geeky update for my fellow whovians.
Thanks to a friend I learned the existence of the so-called TARDIS at earl’s court station. Turns out it’s a genuine Police box, like the ones you could find all around London instead of Telephone box. That’s why the design is a bit different from the TARDIS we know, the light on the top for example is really large.
As it is quite dusty, some fans wrote “Bad Wolf” everywhere on it it’s always nice to find those message from fellow fans, hehe like we have a secret code or something. Anyway, i’ll post a photo of what the police boxes look like nowadays in comparison to this one, and let you enjoy the photos.
Little cover of a girls version of Uta no Prince-sama with our special guest Momo from the Amaitsuki dance team. We promised to do this for our Japanese friend Emiri, who introduced us to the anime and who’s such a HUGE fan of Utapri!
Thanks to spicedSn0w for the audio track, modified to fit the female version.
I’ve just realized I never took the time to make an article about this emblematic distric…Shame on me…
I saved the visit of Akihabara, also called Akiba, for the last week of my stay in Japan as I knew VERY well that I would just spend an insane amount of time and money there. It is famous for its Electric Town, and every shop you want concerning goodies, anime, cosplay,etc. And you can also see the idols of AKB48 everywhere, but that’s only logical.
I fell in love with the Donki, 7 levels tall building, each one filled with clothes, beauty products, things you don’t need but that you will want to buy anyway, it was like discovering the Tiger Cave in Aladdin. I found a funny sponge jumpsuit, there were many different ones with Hello kitty, Stitch, Chip & Dale, etc but the one I chose has a priceless face (I suppose it’s a character from a japanese cartoon):
Some buildings of the district are entirely dedicated to costumes (school girls mostly, he). As I was alone, I was not brave enough to enter…but you can find anything in Donki anyway…Except that they didn’t have my size…like I care…..*roll on the floor crying*
I found Kotobukiya though. A well-known shop with awesome goodies and I bought the most eccentric cranky japanese thing I saw : the dream cushion of Ren, from the anime Uta no Prince-sama! It made me laugh so hard, I mean where else could you find something like that? It’s a bit expensive but damn iit I have no regret. Buying the matching bedsheet would have been a bit too much though…But please, let’s take a moment to fully appreciate this baby :
Oh yes I did! Note that they sell only the cushion cover, you have to either buy a L-shape cushion or sew one yourself. Or I suppose you can just keep it folded in the box….or hang it on the wall…. Anyway, I sew a cushion myself and it’s a damn confortable one. I don’t sleep holding Ren in my arms, don’t freak out….but my cat does. Sometimes she even sleeps on his face. Fair enough.
I know, I’m pretty late on the blog, I’m so sorry about that guys, so here’s a list of funny things I found in Japan:
- Masks: It’s not a myth, I saw people wearing them everyday riding the metro. Friends told me it’s either because they’re sick, they don’t want to get near other people’s germs or they sometimes just wanna hide themselves in order not to be disturbed. You can even find vending machines in the toilets to buy some!
- Toilets: those high-tech toilets with included remotes are wonderful, you can get warm water to clean you, you heat the seat, you can put a fake flushing sound if you don’t want people to hear you doing your business, etc. We should get some of these babies!
- Vending machines: They are everywhere, either it’s drink or tobacco. usually people don’t drink while walking, they buy the drink, have it next to the machine and toss it before leaving. You can have either cold or hot drinks for about 150JPY. Plus I found some DBZ cans, I have to get one or two….
- Metro: It’s a nightmare in Tokyo, the system is quite complicated because you ahve different companies owning different lines, then you pay a different price depending on which line you’re taking, don’t forget to charge your pass by the way (it’s quite expensive), and sometimes to get to one line to the other you have to walk outside to find the next entrance….Pretty confusing, but luckily every sign is written in English, that helps a lot!
- Size: The good surprise was that Japanese clothes and shoes can fit the big European that I am! I’m not talking about pants (obviously my thighs are too big) of even underwear (obviously I have boobs…Alright, even in Europe I have big boobs). But!! I could find clothes in free size, L size, and concerning the shoes I’m a 39 (I’m tall but with small feet) and this is the bigest size they have in Japan but they call it “LL”.
- Schoolgirls hobby: One of the biggest trend was taking the “Kamehameha pictures” where one person is standing still and the others jump as if they were hit, we did our own during a BBQ on Kids’ Day. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that last week was Golden week by the way!
- Idols: I’m not talking about Jpop idols that I love, because obviously they are way less popular than few years ago. No. Oh no. I’m talking about the new kind of idols that are booming in Japan: the Anime idols. Or “how not-really-good-looking voice actors who can really sing become popular among girls”. I started to watch Uta no Prince-Sama because one of my friend was SO into it, out of curiosity. Now i’m doomed. It’s so cheesy and cliché that i found it awesomely funny, and the music and dancing are indeed catchy! But it also makes me sad for the real idols… the anime CD is twice more expensive than the KAT-TUN CD that I bought!!! T__T I mean come on, they’re even doing live concerts!!!!!
Tokyo Daigaku, aka Todai, is the most famous japanese university as it is considered the most prestigious one. The manga that made it popular for us otakus was Love Hina.
Todai is really huge, with a lot of different buildings everywhere. You’d think that you have the main building right beside the gate but actually you ahve to walk through an alley. It looked a lot like the british architecture.
The main building was more like a square where everyone can come and have lunch, some highschool students were taking pictures, a couple of old ladies were sitting under the tree chatting, it was peaceful and cheerful but it had nothing to do with the uni vibes I had in France. Actually it didn’t really feel like being on a campus…
On my way to the uni I managed to get lost in the district behind it, I walked in a bunch of streets, pretending to know exactly where I was going when the postman looked at me suspiciously, and finally ended in a temple where a tiny festival was held! Maybe it was the shrine where Naru and Keitaro went to pray….maybe it has nothing to do with it, who knows?
For those who are not familiar with Sailor Moon (and may I just add: Shame on you people!), it’s one of the most popular Magical girl manga of all time. It was created around 1992 by Naoko Takeuchi, was adapted into a 200 episodes anime and made the Magical girl stories popular again, inspiring many other stories and of course countless parodies and sometimes…disturbing cosplays….
I know: blonde with blue eyes, how Japanese she looks….But is that really important compared to the talking cat that comes from the Moon??
In reality, the manga is widely inspired from Azabu Juban but it’s not an exact replica of it. I found a pretty acurate website where the author makes the comparison between the anime/cartoon and the real hometown of Sailor Moon right here.
It’s already pretty well done so I don’t need to re-do it but well all in all I spent the day walking around the district, up and down the hills and visiting the shrine with a lot of emotion.
Sadly, as the story was created over 20 years ago, a lot of places have been destroyed or have changed but I still got the chance to have a glimpse and that’s what matters in the end.
After that, I went to the Tokyo Tower, the japanese equivalent of our Eiffel Tower…. Actually when we were younger my brother and I first thought it was indeed the Eiffel Tower…Hem. Well, anyway, the weather was quite rainy and windy that day but I still managed to get some good shots!
As I cut my hair few months ago I wanted to buy cute hairpins and headbands. And i remembered seeing some cheap ones in Harajuku! Takeshita Street is full of cute shops at afordable prices so that was the main attraction for me today.
Then I saw that the Meiji Shrine was open so I first stopped to visit there. Meiji Shrine is the most popular temple whereas Sensoji (the one I visited in Asakusa) is one of the oldest.
As it was Monday, it was not really crowded and I enjoyed the Azaleas garden, went to the shrine, walked through the surrounding forest, and did the prayer as indicated:
First, rince your hands and mouth before entering, at the place called Temizusha
Clap hands twice
and when you’re done, bow twice again.
Then I went to Harajuku, found what I was looking for, and a bit more, found several Idols shops and stopped by to get some Johnny’s’ photos for me and my friends before heading back home to watch Game of Thrones while having dinner from the conbini :D
The first thought I had when going to Shinjuku was for City Hunter, one of the numerous animes we were watching when we were kids and in which you have several scenes of Tokyo. I found a good article in french that shows the real places along with Tsukasa Hojo’s drawn versions right here. Those were the places I was aiming for!
Anyway, I spent the whole afternoon in Shinjuku and started with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the twin towers are quite recognizable, where you can take the elevator to floor 45 and enjoy the panoramic view of the city for free. You can even get a handy tour guide as well, quite useful with a map of each district of Tokyo with the main things to see in it!
On very clear days they say you can see Mt Fuji but I was not lucky enough. The funny part was when I took the elevator with a group of korean old people making jokes, laughing loudly and the poor elevator lady was just whispering in japanese whereas I, the only non asian person, was stuck in the back trying not to laugh. They looked exactly like a bunch of teenagers going out for the first time!
Shinjuku is very dense in my opinion, there are lots of a tiny streets filled with bars, restaurant, shops, pachinko and game centers. I even got lost in the station, it’s crowded, huge and a bit confusing. I headed to the other part called Kabukicho, quite famous for its ‘entertainement’ at night. I went through a street to spot a funny building then realized I was surrounded by pictures of women wearing hardly any clothes, with men standing in front of each stores whispering “DVD? DVD?” to the men walking by. One of them hesitated to offer me the DVD, stared at me until me and my mini skirt went back to the main street in an awkward silence. I didn’t even take a photo of the so-called building. I guess I would probably not go there at night!
I stopped for a snack before heading to Koreatown with one of the awesome crepes. I went for the Banana Chocolate Cheesecake Special!(yes, they put a slice of cheesecake in it.)
Koreatown is up north of Kabukicho, and it’s basically one main street where Idols Stores aligned with comestic stores. On each side you can find tiny streets with restaurants and cafes but I was really chocked by the huge amount of Kpop Stars gifts shops E-very-where. I went into one and it’s very different from the ones in Korea: several screens all along the walls displaying different music programs and movie videos, creating a wonderful hubbub that would give you a headache in 5 minutes!
This and the shining white spotlights that blind you whenever you walk into one those shops.
And just in case you have any doubt in being in Koreatown, pictures of G-Dragon are plastered freaking everywhere. I have to admit, as much I love Kpop….I got really scared…
The afternoon went by really quickly so I didn’t have time to eat anything else (even though I would have love some tteokbokki), I just bought a foundation powder, made jokes in Korean with the store’s assistants (aaah I miss Korea) then headed to Shibuya to meet a friend for a girls night at her place!
All in all, another wonderful day spent in the Holy Land :p
Today I wanted to visit the Ueno Zoo but realized it was closed on Mondays. So instead I went to Takebashi to visit the East Garden of the Emperial Palace….and found out it was also closed on Mondays and Tuesdays….Turned out almost everything is closed on Mondays…But well I had a nice walk through the Kitonamaru Park, where you can find the Nippon Budokan, the Craft Museum, the Science Museum, the National Museum of Modern Art and even the National Archives! I will go back later this week to make sure to visit, especially because the gardens have free entrance!
Then I headed to Kagurazaka through Shirogane, the so-called “French district”, which is mainly a street with a lot of european restaurants and bakeries, along with the traditional japanese pastries, cafes and restaurants. I once again bought a Taiyaki (my new favourite), then ate a Ramen as the cake wasn’t enough. I was a bit nervous to order by myself but I applied the legendary foreigner technique: randomly point something on the menu with a large smile saying “one please!”. It works, that’s all I need.
At the end of the day I went to the nearby station called Kurokoen where the Tokyo Dome is. As I watched several Jpop concerts DVDs, it was something I really wanted to see, but the To-Do is mainly known because of the Giants…I’m not really into Baseball actually but well there are shops for the fans around the Dome but also a baseball museum. In front of the Dome is located an Amusement park called Tokyo Dome City. I have to come back there as well… BUT, I found a shop I didn’t even expected well hidden down the stairs: The Jump Store!!!
For those of you who don’t know, Jump is one of the most famous manga magazine in Japan as it usually discovers the series that will soon become the most popular ones. The shop was quite small but you had several goodies of Dragon Ball, One Piece, Slam Dunk, Kenshin, Naruto, etc. I bought some, but not much….I have to admit I’m quite proud of the Trunks towel I just purchased though <3
Last Saturday, after spending the previous night partying with friends eating homemade yakisoba, we went to Nihombashi, fancy district with a commercial center with luxury shops. On the top level was the Dragon Ball exhibition, with original boards from Akira Toriyama, some of the original covers, and what I found funny was a corner with a video of the same scene in every different languages!
Photos were not allowed except at the end of the exhibition where you could have your picture in a Kamehameha stage set! Of course there was a shopping part that I had difficulties to avoid but managed not to buy anything….yet. Seeing Dragon Ball in Japan was quite emotional for me, I mean I saw the 30 years old ink! xD
After that we went to the cinema to see the new movie, I discover a banana flavoured popcorn served in a huge bucket for 600 Yens! You can buy a token for 200 Yens to have your seat vibrating during the movie as well, and as we went to see it in IMAX, let me tell you it was just excellent conditions!
Of course I didn’t get anything they said (or almost anything) but still managed to understand the plot (yeah, it’s not quite hard really…but it doesn’t matter it’s Dragon Ball ><).
For dinner our good friend Devil took us to The Lockup in Ikebukuro! It was an awesome theme restaurant, everything is made to look like a space prison, you enter the restaurant after walking through a dark mirrored tunnel, you’re greeted by sexy policegirls, the tables are in cell and at 9PM you have a special event: lights are down, monsters have escaped and attack you,
Everything on the menu is presented in chemists’ vials, food looks like experiment and you sometimes have some food to share with a little surprise in it. For example, you can order some potatoe cakes with one of them with hot chili topping, but you have to taste it to discover it. Same goes for some of the cocktails!
We really loved the design and the vibes of the place, the food was delicious, I have to get the pictures of the dishes but it was always funky and original (I personaly found it cute but that’s my opinion). If you get the chance I highly recommand the place as it was not really expensive as well. I wish we can go back there soon!
On my first day in Tokyo, I went to Shibuya to do some shopping. We got off at Omote-sando, and walked through the district up to Harajuku. I bought quite a bunch of stuff, specially in 109’s Garula and d.i.a, but as we have some Para Para nights out coming every wednesday, I needed shoes (instead of my walking boots) and something nice to wear in the civilization!
It wasn’t really crowded luckily but I know I will come back here often…Hem. The next day, I met one of my friend for lunch and ‘help’ him with his own shopping. No need to say that I was as helpful as the shop assistant! After that I joined my paralist friend in Roppongi for my first parapara night. I made a membership card as well, it was quite a moment for me! I had fun even though I didn’t know most of the songs but the mood was really nice, I met new people and I had free drinks all night :p
Tokyo Tower at night
The next day I caught up on sleeping as the weather wasn’t nice it was a good thing to do and yesterday I spent the day walking around Asakusa and Ueno Park. I went to the Senso-ji temple, visited the garden where they give you a cup of green tea that you can have watching the garden, had a good omen, had a bunch of sweets in the street then went to Ueno.
In Ueno, I went through the huge park where you can find a lot of museums and visited the Tokyo National Museum. The architecture is impressive and some of the museum have european mixed with their traditional japanese style. In the TNM, they organized a “Sakura rally” that is to say you go aroung the museum, collecting stamps and when you have them all you get a sakura pin. Yeaaaah \o/ Well it’s a nice idea nevertheless. After walking for more than four hours I went back home before going out with friends to a home party.
And today my friends is Dragon Ball Day so see you later!! :D
I’ve been dreaming to go to Japan for more or less 20 years, since the moment I understood that the cartoons I was watching with my big brother were called “anime” and were adapted from comic books called “mangas”. When people asked “why do you like mangas?” it’s like asking “why do you like Super Heroes?” Everybody loves Super Heroes, and let’s face it: what kind of heroes do we have in France? Bécassine?
Awesome drawing by Tico. Please visit the gallery of this artist on Deviantart!
With my big brother, we’ve been playing videos games and discovered heroes like Mario, Sonic, Link, Ryu, Chunli, Mai, Kyo and Iori. We’ve been worshipping Sangoku, Sailor Moon, Ken (Hokuto no Ken, not Barbie’s boyfriend….Well technically I had them too but that’s not the point!), Ranma when our parents were talking about Conan and American Comics. We were fascinated by this far away country and started to fancy Japan like our parents were dreaming of America when they were younger. Japan created a wonderland where we felt confortable, a fantastic world where we could be safe, far away from our daily life problems and/or bullies.
When growing up, internet helping, I fell in love with Japanese music, started to learn more about the culture, read books (real ones, without pictures, so hardcore!) about the pop culture in Japan, but also about geishas in ancient times (far from the polished image I had), about the troubles of a society that developed too much too fast, about work pressure, racism, teen prostitution. But I was also reading magazines about Japanese idols (you know, these guys that look like girls?), secretly dreamed of dressing up like a kogaru. I also read stories about students trying to enter Todai, stories about samurais wandering during Meiji Era, about angels being reincarnated, goddesses living on Earth, video girls coming out of the TV, and yes sometimes in all those stories you could find sex and/or violence but it was not the only thing there was, contrary to what the majority of people said.
Like every otaku, I started to draw and wanted to be a mangaka. I used half of my weekly lunch money to buy a manga every single week and slowly built my precious collection. I self-learned Japanese and then stopped when it got too complicated and taking classes was too expensive. I was called a weirdo in High School because I was still playing fighting video games instead of fixing my make-up like other girls. I bought Japanese cooking books that I seldom used. I wanted to eat watermelon on a wooden deck with paper doors behind me, watching the sakura trees blossom with a pig-shaped ceramic mosquito coil server by my side. I couldn’t sleep at night for years because I was scared that a girl in a white dress with long black hair covering her face would kill me and panicked whenever the phone rang in the middle of the night.
When I finally got to Paris after getting my Bachelor, I remember my brother took me to my first Japanimation convention. We were not weirdoes here, we found people like us, and for God’s sake they had goodies with a white kitten wearing a bow, how cute is that!? I had posters of Hyde next to Eminem (no need to say that I cried like a baby when he came to Paris with his group L’Arc-en-Ciel), watched Japanese dramas along with American TV shows, did musical video games competitions, learned strange dances in which you only move your arms, fiercely said to ignorant people “it’s not Chinese it’s JAPANESE!!!” and occasionally did cosplay as well.
I spent a good part of my childhood with two fingers firmly pressed on my forehead trying to teleport, walking around with a glittering pen that was supposed to transform me when I pointed it to the sky and shouting “Venus Power, Make-up!”, writing stories about how cold water would change me into an animal, throwing phone cards that never stuck in the wall with “Cat’s Eye” written on them or even holding a palm tree leaf while wearing a white dress, and when my desperate mother would ask “what the hell are you doing on the roof dressed like that holding this bloody leaf?” I would always give the same proud answer while the wind was blowing my hair in my face “I’m burning my cosmos!”
We just had different games….
After 20 years of saying “One day, I’ll go to Japan. You’ll see. One day.” I’m now looking at the blemished Kakashi phone chain my brother gave me 10 years ago when I moved from Reunion Island to Paris with a smile, thinking about our childhood. I even made a list of what I wanted to do, which places I wanted to visit. (Oh, when I say “a list” I mean the freaky one on Excel table with colors and sh*t…..What?)
So there it is. It’s Monday and I’m heading from Melbourne to Cairns and then catch a flight from Cairns to Narita, Japan. I told you I’ll be going there one day. And that day is today.
I left Melbourne to get to Belgrave for my new (and maybe last) Helpex where I’ll be staying for almost 10 days. I met my new host at the Belgrave train station, Miss Kooka, and we drove about 10 minutes to get to her house, located in Menzies Creek, in the Dandenong region. The house is surrounded by the rainforest’s gum trees; it almost looks like a modern version of Hobbiton: houses hidden in the forest!
On my first night here, Miss Kooka introduced me to her friends: a whole family of Kookaburras standing on the deck, waiting for food, a border Terrier and a guinea pig! We gave some Kangaroo minced to the seven Kookaburras and I got my fingers bitten several times.
My work here is mainly in the garden, and after the storm there’s quite a lot to do: cleaning the fallen barks, weeding, but also washing the car, cleaning the house and helping for the market during the first weekend of April. I work during four hours every day but it can get quite tiring for my back. Anyway, that’s always good to be busy especially because I was starting to be a little bored in Melbourne.
Miss Kooka usually cooks for both of us and I got to have some traditional Aussie meals: roasted lamb and Shepherd’s pie! The Sherpherd’s pie looks a bit like the French Hachis Parmentier except the meat used is lamb and the sauce used is gravy. That tasted awesomely good, as you reckon Miss Kooka can sure cook! I returned the favor by making my Reunion Island traditional Sweet Potatoes cake and Chiken Cari.
We went to see the Puffing Billy, located next door,a ” century-old steam train still runnning on its original mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, in the scenic Dandenong Ranges and is a genuine relic of more leisure days”. The train still runs thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers and I had the strong feeling it would finally get me to Hogwarts…or maybe back to the Future?
We also visit some amazing veggie patches in Monbulk where we got no less than 5 different kinds of tomatoes, and on my day off we went to the Sherbrook forest in order to see the emblem of the region: Lyrebirds!
We woke up at 5.30AM (well 4AM for me actually), went to Sherbrook Forest (which is part of the Dandenong Ranges National Park) walked for a while, waited for dawn and finally got to see four of them, 3 females including one singing, and a male scratching the floor. Lyrebirds are quite famous for their perfect imitations of birds, chainsaw, camera shutters, alarms, but this usually happens during breeding season (June to September), when the male is trying to seduce the female by singing and dancing on the mount he prepared and flipping its tail over its head.
The female looks like a pheasant with a larger tail while the male looks like a peacock but when they are running, the first image I had was of Road Runner! We then had breakkie with Egyptian-eye toast made in the BBQ area nearby, surrounded by Cockatoes, Crimson Rosella and Galahs (Yes, they were “freed from desire”…*pom pom tchiii*) parrots. It was fdefinately worth it to wake up early!
On Sunday, I decided to stick to with my tiny list of free stuffs to do. I started by waiting next to Melbourne Central for the free city shuttle, that goes around Melbourne CBD and stops in front of every main building in town. They say you can also hear some historical facts in the train. Yeah, “they say”…..I waited 30 minutes before realizing that the city was not running today, as it was Children’s day and some roads were blocked. Dammit.
That didn’t stop me; I made a little detour when I spotted the Children’s Book Festival in front of my dear State Library and then headed to the National Gallery of Victoria, south of the CBD. On the way, I spotted a lot of people in orange shirt, sweaty, with hot pink cheeks from the run they just had. They just came back from the “Run for the Kids”, were having a break at the Sunday Market at the Arts Center or at Federal Square. In the streets, artists were painting, dancing, singing for money, giving to Melbourne its well-known artistic vibe. It felt like a modern version of our French Montmartre.
I arrived at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) around noon, sat at the entrance where paper and pen were provided under a sign saying “remove you shoes, have a sit and draw your comics, I’ll make a big comics with what everyone has done”. I sketched two drawings, had a first look around the dark grey stones of the building, the glass windows on the ceiling, and the metallic letters on the floor then waited for the 12.30PM free voluntary tour: Portraiture.
We went to see sculptures outside, upstairs on level 2 where some of the most valuable acquisitions of the Museum are exposed and finished with the Asian Arts exhibition. I met some old friends from my High School History of Arts days on the way: Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Rodin and met some new ones like the Australian artist Bea Maddock.
At 1PM we stopped to watch the dance event from the balcony of the Grand Hall. Every dancer was in a square, doing random choreography, each in a different style of dancing, some shouting, some using music, others doing a more elaborate mirrored routine. Then they all stopped at the same time, standing still, tall and straight, eyes shut. Like time was frozen, capturing the attention of the visitors who were suddenly waiting for something big or unexpected to happen. They tried to disturb the dancers, make them laugh like every visitor does when spotting the Royal Guard in front of Buckingham. We waited 2 minutes, 5 minutes, before they all began to dance again like before: ballet, modern jazz, hip hop, flamenco…
After the tour, I went to see two fashion collections: Ballet & Fashion on one hand and Dior & Yamamoto-The New Look, ended by the European gallery which consisted mainly in religious artifacts, sculptures and paintings from France, Italy, Germany, Spain…
If you like the smell of wood, the surrounding dim lights, the whispering of tour guides telling you secrets about a piece of history, the space and calm you can feel when sitting on one of the big black couch in every gallery, and finally if you come to enjoy what they call art throughout ages (out of passion, curiosity or even boredom), then NGV is definitely a must-stop.
For the past few days, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the State Library. I fell in love with this building. The architecture from the outside is almost as impressive as the one you can find inside. It’s very modern with the polished glossy stairs, the glass doors, the cold metallic elevators, the art gallery and the equipment you can borrow in the Art department, the videos on the big screen on the way to the reading room with a hint of old from the used cover of the books you find everywhere.
But the reason why I fell in love was when I first entered the Latrobe Reading Room. It looked like the library you see in Beauty and the Beast (okay, not quite as big) but it gave me the same feeling. A huge dome covering shelves of books on the balconies, long wooden tables with little green lamps, like the one you see in American teenage movies. I felt like wearing a “University of Melbourne” jumper to walk in the corridors (or my Harry Potter Hufflepuff cloak maybe)! Plus they have free Wifi…Praise the Lord!
I made new projects for later this year, spend time updating the blog, made some research, writing some articles about a bunch of things I had in mind, and of course like every single student in the room: I chatted on Facebook with my friends. Yes, just give it a look and you’ll spot a tiny blue banner on the screen of every single laptop around you.
Well, I didn’t spend all my time there. Almost not. I also had a long walk in the North of the city on Saturday when I wanted to visit the Rose Street Market on Saturday. Never found it (apparently it was close, I saw a lot of people looking for it and following me at the tram station…That’s a failed). Instead, I had a look at the Flower and Garden Show next to Melbourne Museum, deciding I was not passionate enough to spend money on it and just enjoy walking in the streets for 3 hours.
In case you had a doubt: yeah, this is a freaking big city.
On the list of the free things to do in Melbourne, I decided to start with the “I’m Free” tour. It’s a 3 hours walk around town guided by a local volunteer. So the tour is free and you can reward them with a tip (you choose the amount, of course). The concept already exists in Sydney and is quite new to Melbourne.
The meeting place is at 10.30AM in front of the statue of Sir Edmond Bary, at the State Library.
We walked to the State Library, the Old Jail, the Parliament, some arcades in the city, tiny streets to spot the famous street arts, China Town, Carlton Gardens (well, it was closed but still…), St Paul’s Cathedral, Theatres (Princess, her Majesty’s, Hamer Hall), Federation Square… Every stop was explained by our guide with some anecdotes, history facts, and personal impression about the town, the constructions, etc.
I just love the architecture of the city; you can find lots of different styles like old types and very new and modern ones, all mixed up on the same picture. I went to 2 churches as well: one close to the hostel called St Mary of the Sea, and St Paul’s Cathedral, in the city. I like going to churches, I think it’s very relaxing and intimate, plus it gives you a good idea of the type of art you can find in a city. But that’s only my opinion.
Melbourne had a gold rush period in the 1850s and it reflects on some of the buildings. It also seems that Melbourne and Sydney are always competing to get the title of “most popular city of Australia”. Melbourne is very art and culture oriented, it’s quite know for the street arts (you have to get in the tiny streets to spot some of them, it changes every time as the artists keep on painting over one another), and I found the whole thing quite….cosy.
I was not particularly interested in visiting big cities like Melbourne and Sydney (how boring is that…?) but I have to admit the city is indeed charming. You can find different precincts, and every culture is mixed and has its own. They also try to get inspired by all those immigrants’ culture to get a new cuisine. Something maybe more interesting, that could define Australia a bit more precisely, get a more unique taste (and God knows they need it, I mean seriously: sausage rolls??). Funny how it reminds me of Reunion Island sometimes (except that we don’t have precincts, everything is all mixed xD)
I found it very interesting; especially when you just arrived in town it also gives you a good orientation of the city. I would recommend this, especially because we all need a low budget activity sometimes, and there’s no nedd to book it, you can just show up and tours run every day!