My Dream Con

There’s something about this time of year that makes me wanna go to comic conventions! It’s probably because San Diego Comic Con happens during the summer, but Seoul also recently had its first Comic Con this month as well! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go because I was on vacation.

Being in it’s infancy still I wasn’t surprised to see the featured guest list was rather small, as was the panel guest list but nearly as much as the former. The artist list seemed much more solid. That is not a surprise. Korea likes it’s comics especially in the way of web comics like those featured on Naver Webtoon. Also Seoul and Busan Comic World, which happen regularly throughout the year, pretty much only have a giant artist alley as well as cosplayers.

That all being said, I’ve recently thought about how I wish I could get to a comic convention. I was lucky enough to go to SDCC years ago (like, about 8 or so years ago?) before it was so dang hard to get tickets. It was amazing for little ol’ geeky me. A giant gathering of all kinds of people who love all kinds of media. If you can get past the crowds and waiting in lines (c’mon, guys, that’s inevitable) an event like that was just so fun!

But it’s getting harder and harder to attend SDCC. Plus, it’s rather far. Putting aside that I’m currently in another country, even going from Wisconsin was an investment in time and plenty of money. The flight cost I can swallow, but a hotel in downtown San Diego during SDCC is nothing to sneeze at. If only there was such a gathering closer to home! Milwaukee may be a little bit of reach now for a comic convention on a grand scale, but Chicago is much more doable. There are actually a few decent conventions in Chicago like Wizard World and C2E2.

And my dream con experience?

Let’s talk: cosplay

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Sailor Mars

There’s no denying my weeaboo/anime past. Though I don’t watch nearly as much anime anymore there’s a couple shows that have a special place in my heart. One of them is Sailor Moon. A team of badass girls who saved the world? Heck yes! I probably first picked Mars because I’m an Aries, but I loved her no-nonsense attitude and that she was a strong independent girl (well, more so in the manga than the anime). The costume is somewhat straightforward too – no crazy hairstyle, no weapons, pretty plain footwear.

(If I could I’d be every sailor senshi though!)

 

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Sakura Kinomoto

Did you know I do a Cardcaptor Sakura podcast with one of my BFFs? It’s called Kero-chan Check! and you should check us out. 😉

Sakura is another favorite of mine. It’s one of the shows I bonded over with my friend (hence why we do the podcast). If there’s one thing CLAMP does well it’s costume design. Sakura has some gorgeous costumes thanks to Tomoyo.

Her dress from the 3rd season opening “Platinum” is sooo cute! Lots of ribbons and frills — which means gathering the fabric on that skirt would probably be a pain lol. The wings seem like they’d take a bit of work too. I’m a novice seamstress at best so this would pose quite a challenge, but this is a dream cosplay so I’ll just keep dreaming.

 

Guests

I think it would take way too long to try and list every potential guest I’d like to see at a con, but I can at least list a few at the top of my list:

  • CLAMP – the group of women behind some of the best-known manga/anime like “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Chobits”, and “Magic Knight Rayearth”. I don’t even know if they’ve ever made an appearance at a con in North America. Barring them, since we’re getting a new Cardcaptor Sakura series I’d like to see people involved with the show like directors, artists, and voice actors.

 

 

  • The Adventure Zone – I don’t even play D&D, but I recently fell in love with this podcast by the McElroy family. I started listening to “My Brother My Brother And Me”, or MBMBAM, earlier this year, but only started “Adventure Zone” a month or so ago. I can’t stop listening to these good, good boys! The brothers, along with their father, are just too dang funny. I find myself grinning like an idiot in public because I’m trying hard not to laugh out loud (I can’t always stop myself).  I think a live show of “Adventure Zone” would be very fun at a con. You can find their podcast at Maximum Fun or any fine podcast app.

 

  • PIXAR arists – I’m a pretty big fan of PIXAR films. I used to listen to the “WALL-E” soundtrack on repeat during my last couple years of undergraduate school (very nice to paint to btw). You can usually see some kind of material from PIXAR/Disney at big cons like SDCC or, obviously, D23. I’d be interested to see a panel of folks like directors, storyboard artists, foley artists, etc. There’s so much that happens over the course of making just one film that you could probably hold a couple different panels with different departments. There’s probably a far amount of animation fans that would be keen to see that.

I think there’s plenty of guests who would be obvious like those involved in Marvel movies, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and the like so let’s just assume they’re on my list too. 🙂

Whew! I didn’t even delve too deeply and that really required some thought! I can’t imagine what all goes in to planning an entire convention.

If you’re looking to plan your own event, though, you should check out Eventbrite. They have Online Event Registration that helps make planning easier. You can set up free or ticketed events, manage data, it’s mobile-optimized, and it has built-in event promotion and social sharing tools.  You can, of course, use the main site to look for local events to attend in your area as well.

 

Hopefully I’ll get together my photos and videos from my recent trip to Taiwan. My MacBook just decided it hated it’s hard drive, so that’s in the shop. I’m lucky I have a back-up! Summer vacation is over after this week too, so I hope I can stay focused!

 

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Monsoons, TOPIK, & Mud!

Rainy/monsoon season is no joke. Imagine my shock/surprise/horror when I left the house at 7 AM on a Sunday and it was just absolutely *dumping* rain. There was just no avoiding getting soaked. I was so annoyed!

But the test went well… I hope. I don’t have the results yet. I ended up shopping a bit after the test, and exercising in the evening. I have to work out in my apartment because I only belong to a taekwondo gym right now. I’d like to eventually join a real gym so I have access to equipment. My room must suffice though.

I also enjoy running outside, but the random rain makes it difficult. Turns out that heavy rain from that morning just flooded the stream and river in Jochiwon. I only got about 1 km into my run before I was forced to stop because the path was flooded. Squishy mud made it annoying and maybe a little dangerous to run in because it was slick.

I think the rain is tapering off these days, but we’re still stuck with ridiculous humidity. Must persevere so I can make it to vacation! For now, gotta make it through summer English camp for the coming 2 weeks. 화이팅!

Jo Kwon Mini Fan Meeting

I was lucky enough to be picked to attend Jo Kwon’s (singer of 2AM, musical actor) fan meeting at his cereal cafe – Midnight in Seoul – a couple weeks ago. The meeting was to celebrate the 9th anniversary of his debut.

I applied on the 2AM Daum cafe. I was a bit apprehensive because I’m not 100% confident about my Korean skills, but also meeting someone I admire was intimidating too. Nonetheless I applied and I went.

It was a pretty chill affair, although the weather itself was far from chilly. It’s summer which means heat, humidity, and the rainy season. Luckily the rain wasn’t a problem… until I had to go home anyway.

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It was held just outside Midnight In Seoul which is the cereal cafe Jo Kwon runs (co-runs? co-owns? The place was originally run by other people, I believe). About 30-35 fans total sat outside in the outdoor seating area while we waited. Actually, Jo Kwon came in rather nonchalantly. His parents and aunts were waiting inside, so he sat with them for a bit.

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The whole event took about 30-40 minutes. He greeted us and answered questions we wrote on memo notes. My question was what’s his favorite musical, but he answered all the ones he has been in and one or two others lol. So actually I don’t know if it was interpreted as “What’s your favorite” or “What’s your favorite that you’ve done”. By the way, he said he’s working on a new solo album. No word yet on when it’ll be released since he’s currently acting in the musical “Evil Dead” in Seoul.

He then showed us how to make one of the cereal specials that’s on the menu in the cafe. We also each got a chance to go up and say hi/get a signature. I was pretty nervous, but it turned out okay.

That was pretty much the end of the event. A few people got selfies with him, but he looked kinda busy so not many did it. I thought he’d pack up and leave, but he actually stuck around and worked at the cafe! Granted, there were other staff members, but he helped here and there. I ended up buying one the menu items which ended up being pure sugar.

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See? Tasty, but holy cow that’s just all sugar right there.

Now quite a bit after the event, maybe 30 minutes or so, I ended up getting a selfie with Jo Kwon. I had stayed to snack and also because the rain got kinda heavy. I didn’t really feel like walking in the rain (I ended up having to anyway). I felt bad about asking for a photo because he looked pretty tired, and I think he was packing up to leave. He was very kind, though, and obliged to take a photo.

Quick note: The cafe itself is nice. It’s actually split into 2 sections which are on either side of the building entrance, but share the outdoor seating area. I didn’t partake in any other food, so I’m curious about the privately labeled cereal. You can actually order it on their website, so I may give that a go one of these days.

You can check out Midnight in Seoul on Instagram and their website. If you’re in Seoul it may be fun to head on over. You may see Jo Kwon or other celebs!

I Have Too Many Sheet Masks

The struggle is real, guys.

I’ve been good lately about not going into Korean cosmetic shops (well, except Olive Young). I know what’ll happen if I go in. Inevitably I will buy something and if it’s not make-up it’s possible it’s gonna be a sheet mask.

I love ’em! Every store has their own and they can help your skin in different ways — moisturizing, firming, brightening, sebum control, etc. Plus they aren’t all that expensive (generally 1,000-2,000 won though there are some that cost a little more).

If you haven’t given them a try yet why not check some out?
Via Amazon.com:
Etude House – https://goo.gl/WeYYpT
The Face Shop – https://goo.gl/ozzFAS
Innisfree – https://goo.gl/ZT4cQV

Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival

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Long time no blog!

So… I’m back in Korea now. (“Say whaaaaat?”)

Yep a lot has happened since my last post *cough* last year. Long story short I re-applied to the EPIK program and was accepted. I’m now living in Sejong which is right next to Daejeon. How lucky!

I’m going to try to get caught up and do a back log of some of my adventures over the past couple months, but today I wanted to show some of what I saw at the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul.

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A lantern parade float

I randomly decided on Saturday morning that I should go to Seoul and check out this festival that I had read about online. A lot of my friends in the EPIK program decided to go to Jindo for the Sea Parting Festival which I a) still haven’t seen but b) forgot to chime in that I maybe wanted to go haha. So a solo Seoul (Seoul-o?) trip it is!

I was able to book a hostel in Hongdae pretty easily which was lucky since my first choice place was booked up. Well, that’s what I get for waiting until the last minute. I killed time in Hongdae until I headed over to Jogyesa Temple where the festival was being held. Jogyesa is the chief temple of the Jogyesa Order for Korean Buddhism. The festival is held in honor of Buddha’s birthday, which fell on May 3rd this year in Korea. It changes every year because of the lunisolar calendar, but it’s typically in May.

It was such a sight to see! There were groups playing traditional instruments, people dressed in beautiful hanbok and other traditional clothes, and so many people carrying lanterns. And the parade floats! I’d seen pictures of past parades, but it’s a whole different thing to see them in person. I can’t imagine how long those take to craft. Plus, there were people from different places like Thailand and Myanmar marching together with their own floats in honor of Buddha. The people carrying lanterns were even just handing them to people as they passed. I got 2! One I got was shaped like a lotus, and a little girl was staring longingly at it. So I gave it to her, and she traded me the one she had. I ended up having to leave 1 behind at the guesthouse, though, because I couldn’t carry it all with me (boo!).

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The floats were parked and lined up on the street, so I got to take a good look at all of them. I also explored Jogyesa a bit. There were soooo many lanterns hanging, and it just looked beautiful at night.

I also went inside the temple to pay my respects. I just quietly stood in the back because people were praying and I didn’t want to disturb anyone. I did, though, take part in the Bathing Buddha ritual. The ritual is supposed to help improve happiness and peace of mind. A person takes what is essentially a long ladle and pours water over a small Buddha statue 3 times. Each time you should say each of these things:

  1. May I eliminate all evil thoughts.
  2. May I cultivate good deeds.
  3. May I help save all living beings.

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Before I went back to Hongdae I walked down the street once more and came upon another celebration. There was a big stage set up with performers on stage (my guess is they were pansori singers, but I’m not sure). There was a large crowd watching, and also groups of people, both Korean and non-Korean, holding hands in a circle and dancing — or walking? They were walking in circles to the music anyway haha.

I honestly hadn’t expected the whole thing to be so lively. My initial thought was that since Buddha is such a revered figure that maybe it’d be a “tame” event, but it really was more like a party! I’m so glad I was able to experience it. If you’re in Korea around Buddha’s birthday you really should give it a go.

Kero-chan Check! – Episode 5: Is That Really a Panda?

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Episode 5: Is That Really a Panda?

We’re back after our unexpected break!

There’s a totally cute toy shop opening in Tomoeda, but it seems the shop owner as a troubled past. The panda toy from her shop keeps getting “stolen” from people’s homes and ending up back at the shop. This causes the owner, Maki, to have to move her shop to another town. Luckily magical girls are totally common/helpful and Sakura is on the case.

You can find us on Podbean and iTunes.

We are on Twitter as well at @kerochanpod.

Thanks for reading/listening!

New project! New podcast!

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You may or may not know that I’ve dabbled in podcasting before with my fellow NYAN folks at Not Your Average Netizens . I’ve also really been getting into listening to other podcasts like The Nerdist and Dear Hank and John. But lately I’ve been especially obsessed with Love and Justice: A Super Serious Sailor Moon Podcast. Holy cow! Funny ladies talking about one of my favorite anime/shows ever? Hell yes!

So I was inspired to start my own podcast with my bestie Stefanie. We became friends freshman year in high school over the works of CLAMP (and other manga), and one of our favorites was Card Captor Sakura. So that became the inspiration for our podcast – Kero-chan Check! – A Cardcaptor Sakura Podcast. 🙂 We only have 3 episodes out so far, but we’ve been trying to record every week so get material out. If you live anime, magical girls, and podcasts (c’mon, who doesn’t?) then give us a listen.

You can find us on Podbean and iTunes.

Listen to the 1st episode on Podbean

We (mostly me) are on Twitter as well at @kerochanpod.

Thanks for reading/listening!