Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Back from AWA, #jfashionatkatsu, and BIG traveling news!


Hello everyone!

Well, I just returned from a weekend of lots of traveling! As planned, I did attend AWA and I had a lovely time! I was so happy to spend time with Mauti, Ari and Timeeka! We had a great time together and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, understanding group of friends. The first two days were devoted to press work, if I felt like I was becoming more confident in my natural abilities at PMX, I fully feel it now! I had not one, not two but five successful interviews! I think I made a good impression too. I’m feeling so much more confident and happy and am thinking of wanting to only model less and less. I thank two people in particular for helping me realize this, no names though! >__<

The last day of the con was my birthday and I spent it in the most wonderful way! Ari and I went to a mixer party in honor of the fashion guests, the designers of Galaxxxy and the adorable model Neeko! Their fashions are very cute and colorful, quite different from the elegant lolita and romantic looks I usually go for, but nice for casual everyday wear. I felt somewhat embarrassed about wearing a honey dress but the designers and Neeko were so incredibly nice and fun! I ended up buying a Galaxxxy top and plan to buy more in the future for days when I don’t feel like being so dolled up like usual.

Even though I am home now, I can not rest, not even for a moment! True I am not traveling anymore for conventions or events this year (unless you count AUSA at the end of this month but that is hardly a trip for me) but there is so much that will happen in the next few months! Katsucon is in February and from then I will be busy promoting my new hashtag for the convention in order to get more notice to the con’s upper management that future jfashion programming would be a great investment for the convention. But that is not the biggest thing that is going to happen in the next few months:

I WILL BE TRAVELING ABROAD AGAIN!! This will be my first trip in afew years and I am so beyond excited! This time I’m going to Europe for a week to ten days, I will know exactly how long as soon as I get more details about the main event I am going to. Over the last two years I have been looking misty cow-eyed at the beautiful pictures from European lolita events, particularly the Street Fashion Europe ones and even more particularly La Vie en Rose which was in France earlier this year! I promised myself that next year I would make it a point to go to the next SFE event if the opportunity came. Well I am thrilled to say that it has come!

I am so excited because I am going to make it an absolute point to create the best coords I have ever created for this event and to be absolutely stunning and beautiful. I’ve seen that European events have a great sense of regality and making coords for the event will be difficult (especially since next years theme is “under the sea”, meaning mermaid and pirate coords will be the order of the day) but I am looking forward to the challenge! XD

Like I said, I can’t give much info at the moment about my trip until I know exactly when the SFE event will be because that is what I will center the time of my trip in Europe around. I can say though that I will be visiting two countries: The Netherlands because the event will be in Amsterdam, and afterward I will be spending time in France because of all the European countries (except maybe Italy but that will be too far) I’ve always dreamed of visiting that one the most and again I now have a reason to go! It’s going to be such a wonderful adventure that it’s almost painful knowing I still have a few months to go before I go. But I know those months will pass by quickly so I am getting ready now; since last week I have been on Polyvore and Pintrest non stop trying to come up with coords, looking at flights and also brushing up on my French language skills (I studied it back in school but since I’ve had no one to practice on I’ve become quite rusty. XD). One good thing though, I already have a mermaid dress from AATP that I can use for the event. LOL!

I will keep this blog updated with more info on my trip as it comes as well as my facebook (my fashion one, not the personal account). I would love to meet and hang out with many European lolitas while I am there and make new friends! It makes me so happy how fashion has the ability to bring many people together from all over the world. I know this trip will be amazing.




Birthday selfie! Taken right after the Galaxxxy mixer on Sunday. <3


Yours Jasmine

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pacific Media Expo 2015 ~ Crimson Nail



Hello everyone!

As promised, here is my post about the Femme Fatale concert at PMX this year, the main reason I ended up going this year!

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so deeply hooked on a “traditional” vkei band. And by traditional, I mean with a powerful metal sound and standard number of 5 members. XD I think the last band I was really into was Versailles. Either way, Femme Fatale is the first band that has caught and kept my attention in a long time and not just for Kaya. I had previously been aware of Tana and Iori from past bands they were a part of and Toshi in particular was the bassist of another of my favorite jrock bands, A (ACE). Sadly they disbanded/went on hiatus some time ago.

Since Femme Fatale only formed last year, I did not expect to see them stateside so soon. Their announcement at PMX came as a very happy surprise to me and I must say, they are really awesome and fun to see live! Kaya’s amazing vocals and graceful stage presence mixed with everyone else’s equally incredible instrumental skills and lively personalities made for a show that was so wonderful, I’m taking a whole post on this blog to write about it! XD

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Right before the concert! Jin and I had the same Femme Fatale bracelets that were included if you bought the limited edition of their first album last winter.

I sat with Kassandra for a little bit before lining up while Jin and Crystal walked around trying to get more fan signatures for the big US flag Crystal would present to the band after the show. Soon enough the doors opened and we were let in; first press then VIPs and then other attendees. While waiting for the show to start, I decided to chat with some of the people standing around me; imagine my surprise when one of the people standing next to me was actually another follower of my blog through my instagram! It’s still surprising to me that other people outside those close to me read my ramblings here but it makes me happy none the less. XD

 In any case the air of excitement in the room was strong long before Femme Fatale took the stage and when the lights dimmed announcing the start of the concert, it jumped sky high! The members entered the stage one by one first was Fumiya the support drummer, and then Toshi, from the moment Toshi appeared I could feel his enthusiasm and it was rather exhilarating to say the least. Iori was next, followed by Tana. When Tana took his spot on the stage I closed my eyes for a second but they bolted open when I collective of intense shrieks from the audience announced Kaya’s appearance, my heart jumped. He was dressed in his “Freya” dress, a gorgeous black strapless gown trimmed with black feathers along the neckline and black and gold lace down the full skirt. In many ways he reminded me a lot of the goddess Freya in his appearance so I guess it makes sense that that was the first song performed. XD Kaya commanded the stage with his signature mix of grace and flamboyance, when it came time for the Freya chant mid song; he replaced it with some amazing operatic vocals that seemed to echo throughout the room. After “Freya” was “Jester”, an awesomely fun track. Kaya’s voice was absolutely on point and the bassline of this song in particular is awesome and really showed off Toshi’s skills.

I can not put into words how much I enjoyed the concert! I loved watching each and every member but I must say, Toshi stood out to me the most! He had a lot of energy as I said before and seemed to be really enjoying himself, his smile was very infectious! Many times he would look in the direction of my friends and me making faces as if to pump us up with more excitement, it’s hard to describe but it was really awesome and helped me from surrendering to fatigue all throughout the show. It was so intense. And it goes without saying that Toshi had my attention a lot of the time because I have a thing for bassists’ and he is just so damn sexy he was already a part of a band I really liked. LMAO!

 Iori was also awesome, he and Toshi were the members closest to us and I spent a lot of the concert watching him as well. At one point Kaya left the stage for a moment and Iori treated us to a rock version of the “Star Spangled Banner” on his guitar! It was beautifully done and drove everyone wild!  He told us that how much he loved the US and it made my heart very warm. Such a sweet guy! >w<

During one of the MC’s Kaya thanked us all for coming to Femme Fatale’s debut show in the US. He talked about his solo project for a bit, and how Femme Fatale is very different from that, a lot more rock! XD It’s true and in a lot of ways Femme Fatale is also very different from Schwarz Stein too. Another one of the reasons I really like Kaya and respect him as an artist, the versatility of his voice knows no limits. ^.^ There was a certain song I was really, really REALLY hoping to hear that night though I worried I probably would not hear it since it’s a very intense song and probably too intense for a convention concert. But I held onto the hope of hearing it throughout the show.

Even though I was waiting/hoping for a certain song to be performed, I still enjoyed every song of the concert and all of my favorites were included.  During another MC, Kaya mentioned a certain song called “Kodou”, it’s technically a new song even though the single was only released for a limited time at lives in Japan this summer. I was quite surprised to see it on sale at PMX and of course I bought it. Kaya explained that the CD cover of the single is rather “sexy” to say the least, and it is, it really REALLY is! It makes me blush just to think of it! XD In any case, Kaya announced that they would be performing that song next and said for all of us to think about someone we really love while listening. At once a bunch of people called out Kaya’s name and he giggled in his cute distinct way, hugging himself and pretending to act shy/embarrassed. I personally WAS embarrassed by this, but for another reason and in a good way though. XD

“Kodou” is indeed a very sexy song and Kaya moved in a way that was quite provocative. I later learned from one of my roommates that Kodou I another word for “lovers” in Japanese. After “Kodou” was another one of my favorite songs, a lovely and bittersweet song about parting called “Voyage”. Another of my favorite songs performed was “Stardust”, it’s also my favorite track off of their first album Arcana. Upbeat and fun, Crystal mentioned that she liked this song because the sound reminded her a lot of Kaya’s solo work and honestly I am inclined to agree with her. <3 Toward the end of the song we sang along with Kaya in what was a very wonderful moment. And then, the moment I was hoping for finally happened. The room when near completely dark for a moment and Kaya performed what I thought was maybe a poem or monologue; either way I could not understand it but I didn’t have to, I knew it was the beginning of the song “Crimson Nail”!!!

Based on his posts on twitter, I know whenever Kaya comes overseas he is concerned about playing the more overtly dark songs (he was also when Schwarz Stein came to AUSA) and before PMX he posted about the possibility of doing this particular song. I’m very glad that he did. Thoroughly dark and intense, hearing the recorded track is NOTHING compared to seeing this song performed live. For the first time during the whole show, I turned my attention completely toward Kaya and was in awe at the amount of power and rawness he put into his performance. Screaming out and pleading in a way that could make me feel the agony in his voice. I thought maybe he would hold back only a bit since this was a convention but absolutely not, Kaya held back nothing! After his lament he collapsed fully onto the stage, his skirt of his beautiful costume pooled around him as the rest of the band continued playing. When the song was over and Kaya finished off with another pained shriek that bounced off the walls of the room, I could actually feel entire body shaking. As everyone clapped and screamed in applause, I actually blurted out “Holy shit!” It was a magnificent performance and, in my opinion the highlight of the show. The shaking in my body remained with me until the end of the concert.

After “Crimson Nail” the remaining songs were all the very dark and intense songs; “BABEL”, “Medeia”, “SALOME” and “JUDGEMENT –the die has been cast-“. During the middle of “BABEL”, at one point I was too focused on watching Iori that at the very last minute I noticed Kaya’s glance was RIGHT on me! It was as though his eyes were making a piercing straight into my heart! >___< “Medeia” was one of the few songs in which Tana came over to our side and actually stayed there for longer than half a minute. So I took in as much of him as I possibly could. I’m not sure if it was “Medeia” or “SALOME” but at one point Kaya went over to Iori in a teasingly seductive manner, putting his arm around the guitarist and at the very last second, kissing him! Needless to say when I saw that, my fangirly instincts went in to overdrive! It was soooooooo cute!!!!! XD Of course, I absolutely enjoyed “SALOME”! I still want to do a Kaya cosplay based around his Salome costume. This has become one of my favorite Kaya songs of all time. Toward the end of the song, Tana Iori and Toshi all went toward the back by the Fumiya, waving their heads in unison while Kaya enchanted us all with his fabulous dancing.

“JUDGEMENT –the die has been cast-“ was the last song of the main set. A gorgeous song about fate, it was the perfect song to wrap up the main set of the show! Kaya, Tana, Iori and Toshi all came very close to the stage, standing together and seeming to never stop smiling. It was wonderful. Kaya thanked us wholeheartedly, waving and smiling widely as the rest of the band reached out to all. I reached out for Tana’s hand since he was closest to me at the moment but instead grabbed Toshi’s with success. XD I did manage to grab Tana’s hand for a second, and then Iori’s before the whole band left the stage.

It didn’t take too long before everyone was calling for an encore; and it didn’t take much longer after than for Femme Fatale to return to the stage, greeted with thunderous applause from the audience. Kaya teasingly responded that they “had” planned to end the concert at the last concert but because we all seemed to still have a lot of energy they would continue! XD The band members all introduced themselves and spoke a little, and honestly and sadly, I cannot remember what any of them said because of what Toshi had to say. He took the mic from Kaya and began to say in English “My room number is…” and at once Kaya snatched the mic from him while manager san rushed to shush him up. It’s sad how much I was rolling at that. XD ANYWAY! The last song of the night was announced: “Grim Reaper”!

If anyone had lost any energy by this point, it was fully recovered for this powerful encore! The headbanging seemed to never end and the band treated us all to a good dose of fan service and exposure. At one point Tana, Iori and Toshi were all together on our side of the stage, bending down at times and allowing the fans to touch them. I held back though because I was trying to catch Kaya’s attention; he was grabbing the hands of fans, kissing/biting them and at one point touching one lucky fan’s lips! It was so thrilling but it had only just begun. At one point Kaya actually leaped OFF the stage into the audience! I was expecting to at most have him grab or kiss my hand BUT NO! Kaya threw himself into right MY general direction and I got to hug him! OMG! Talk about amazing, even if it was for only a moment! XD

Such an incredible concert!!! When the band left the stage for the final time, I immediately collapsed into the first chair I could find. I had to take a few minutes to compose myself and take in all of the amazingness of what I had just experienced. My body was still shaking too. Kassandra had been beside me the entire time and soon I met up with my roommates. We all mused about how great the show had been and soon there would be an autograph session with the band! I watched as people began to line up but I was still quite overwhelmed and remained sitting as I watched all my friends get things signed. Soon enough though I got in line, I decided to get my Voyage poster and Arcana photobook signed. I bookmarked each page of the book I wanted signed with the little gift boxes I had prepared for Femme Fatale: pieces of handmade jewelry using colors and stones I felt suited each member’s respective personality. Finally it was my turn, my heart was racing but I managed to stay calm and collected through the experience. I first met Fumiya, he was very nice but I felt somewhat guilty that I had not bought a gift for him as well. I do believe that in time he will become an official member of the band.




Toshi was next; next to Kaya and Tana I was most nervous about meeting him! I could feel my hands shaking as I handed him his gift after he had signed my photobook. He accepted my gift with great enthusiasm, thanking me and shaking my hand heartily. XD




My shyness fully disappeared by the time I got to meet Iori. He is so sweet and has a very warm essence about him. I think the drawing he made is supposed to be a seal, he likes seals! <3




I was quite nervous about meeting Tana though! He’s so very gorgeous and my second favorite member of the band. This going to sound very odd, but something about him reminded me a lot of Kyoya from Ouran Host Club, does that even make any sense?! >o<




And of course, I was most excited/nervous about meeting Kaya. However, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve met him many times, or because by this point I had met the entire band without any moments of embarrassment or fail; but when I first went up to him and he said hello to me with a very sweet smile on his face, my heart felt strangely calm with a sense of warmth. He really is such a lovely, beautiful person and seems to really care deeply for his fans and music. At the right moment I presented my gift for Kaya with both my hands, all the while thanking him for coming back to the US again and telling him how much I enjoyed the concert as best as I could; I could hear the high pitch in my voice but I still kept it together. He took it with both of his hands and thanked me graciously, shaking my hand afterward. Only then did my heart become fluttery again and I nodded my head quickly and went back to my friends. I was so, so happy. *___*

Afterward everyone had to leave the room, I left with Jin and Emily but I watched through a crack in the door when Crystal presented Femme Fatale with the US flag covered with all of the many signatures of fans that had come out for this wonderful show. The band looked very happy and took pictures together with the flag that can be found now on Kaya’s blog and Iori’s twitter. It makes my heart so warm thinking about how much effort all of the fans put into the flag project and seeing the band appreciate it. I can only imagine how happy Crystal felt too!



After the concert! Can you see the exhaustion on our faces?? XD

Despite still being overwhelmed from the show none of us were sleepy just yet. So we decided to go out and eat and muse and fangirl even more. So much fun we had, so many inside jokes made! The last thing of note to mention was that as we were waiting for Crystal in another part of the host hotel, we saw the band, sans Kaya, pass by us to get to the elevators. That was slightly thrilling! LOL!

Yours Jasmine



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pacific Media Expo 2015 ~ Stardust


Hello Everyone!

It’s been a week since PMX and now only a week until AWA! Let me hurry up and post this report before I become too busy again. XD

I actually finished writing my PMX report less than a day after returning home but to be honest I had been debating with myself for a long while about posting this report as it is now or editing it down tremendously. The reason being because soon after returning from PMX I received some info that strongly suggests that I am currently being stalked by a very jealous and very vindictive former friend. In the end I decided to keep this post more or less the way I wrote it originally. Mainly because for the longest time I have tried to promise myself not to let this horrid person control me or make me afraid to post things I want to on my own blog. So fuck it and fuck this person. Here is my report as I originally intended it!

Before I start, let me inform that I will be writing this post a little bit different than my usual con reports: I will be covering all three days of the con in this post alone EXCEPT the Femme Fatale concert and autograph session after. The reason being is because I usually post detailed reports on VKH but this time I covered for them only the fashion aspect of the con (which actually may suit me better, as I’m learning) and that usual task shall go to my new colleague. But because I enjoy and respect Femme Fatale so deeply I will still write a report from my POV, I’ll just post it here for the enjoyment of my readers. ^.^

And so without further ado, here is my report from my great time at PMX this past weekend!! This was my fourth time at this con but have not been to PMX since 2012 and much has changed. It’s in a much bigger venue now and the lolita and jfashion following has grown immensely. The fashion show and boutique is larger now with more brands, indie and major alike, and the guest list was nothing to sneeze at either! I had toyed with the idea of going when Imai Kira was announced but the minute Femme Fatale was announced I knew I was going! XD

It’s funny that, as I mentioned before, my first experience with PMX was when Kaya was there in 2008 and it was the first time I had ever seen him in person. So I had a somewhat feeling of nostalgia as I flew out to California on Friday. But beyond that, the weekend was very lovely and I was so fortunate to have as my roommates a lovely group of girls, two I had met last year at AUSA. I was also so honored and happy to be able to conduct my first successful interview as well for VKH. So much happened but let me start from the beginning.

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I had forgotten how exhausting it is to fly to California! >__< I left for the airport after work Friday and departed around 6:30 that evening. I was able to see the sunset from my window seat on the plane; to see the sky painted in golden and magenta hues and then slowly fade to dreamy shades of dark blue with the moon and stars decorating the sky in the distance was very beautiful unlike anything I have ever seen. It was already night when I arrived at LAX. I ought to have gotten to my place of logging soon after but I was stuck with an idiot of a shuttle driver who dropped me off several blocks off course. With my phone dead who knows what would have happened if I had not ran into a very kind group of people who directed me to the right place. By the time I made it there I was beyond tired from toting my luggage several blocks all the while trying to adjust my body to PST. Before long I was out like a rock! XD




A picture from our secret place where we stayed that was found on Airbnb since hotels were not available this time.

I woke up very early the first day to get ready and get my badge. Rooming with me were 3 very nice girls; Jin, who I had met last year at AUSA and was previously one of my own blog readers, Crystal one of the leaders of Kaya’s US Street Team and a lovely lolita named Emily. I left first to get my badge and met my new colleague Kassandra, someone I actually knew already from my days on livejournal way back when. It was great to finally meet her and to be working with her. ^.^




My outfit for the first half of Day 1. I call it trying out otona-kawaii style in order to be professional but failing. XD What do you guys think?

The first day of the con before the concert was rather uneventful besides getting acquainted with Kassandra and her sis, browsing the new area and getting lost, working out my bank account at the fashion boutique and Femme Fatale booth, and running into old friends. My fangirling partner from the Kaya/Moon Stream concert at Complex LA 2 years was there and we ran into each other at the Femme Fatale booth, we had not seen each other in so long and I was surprised she remembered me! I was so happy to see her. Soon we went back to our place to refresh ourselves and relax a bit before the night ahead.



Imagine our slight shock when this little one was waiting for us at the door! We named it George (though we later found out it’s a girl mantis and changed her name to Georgia) and it stayed there for most of the weekend until the last day, as if to welcome us home every time! XD


The second half of the day was also somewhat uneventful. Emily and Crystal went off to Imai Kira’s autograph session and Jin and I ventured to the photoshoot room to get professional photos of our coords.







These are just afew of the pictures that were taken. I think I should have stood behind a lighter backdrop though! XD But I actually leaned a lot about posing from my little time with the photographer. All in all I think these came out rather well! <3

Soon it was time to line up for the concert. Like I’ve said I’ll write about it in another post. But I will say this: it was incredible. Each time I’ve seen Kaya perform weather it was him alone or with a band it has been incredible, but what I love most about seeing him with one of his bands is that I can appreciate how well he can blend with any musical setting. And the other musicians of Femme Fatale, all of them, are also incredible in their own right. Many times I actually shifted attention away from Kaya to pay attention to Toshi, the bassist who reminded me a lot of a lion in his performing and personality. XD

Obviously I really enjoyed the show. Afterward we returned home for a little bit and then hung out at a nearby Denny’s before returning home for the night; of course, George/Georgia was still in the corner of the door to welcome us home. XD

The next day started out good, I had some press duties to do with Kassandra early in the day but later was Femme Fatale’s Q&A panel. For some reason though, I found it hard to focus and became very lightheaded. After the panel I changed into lolita to prepare for the tea party PMX was giving in honor of Imai Kira and the other fashion guest Lorina Liddel. Sadly I was only able to stay for a little bit because I became very sick and sore all over. For a time I was really concerned but in hindsight I think it may have been a side affect of jet lag. I ended up sleeping the remainder of the day until evening. Jin went off to visit a friend and the rest of us went out to a nice Japanese restaurant for dinner. Afterward we walked around the con a little more before finally returning home for the night. And that was Sunday for the most part.

Monday was the last day of the convention. It started out wonderfully with me conducting my first successful interview with Kassandra’s help. At the end of it, I felt so happy and proud of myself because in the weeks before the con I had been so distressed about how it would go but my worried turned out to be unfounded and everyone gave me good feedback. I look forward to doing more in the future! ^o^




Me and my wonderful roomies goofing around before the fashion show. I miss them all so much!

The fashion show was the last event of PMX that I attended with my friends. For the first time in about 2 years, I felt absolutely NO insecurity while watching the show. I think the reason for this is because even though I was not on the runway as a model, I was press and still doing something important by video taping and taking notes for a future fashion report that I will post on VKH. For the longest time I felt like the only way I could have a place in the world of Jfashion was as a model and because of my weight (and skin color to a lesser extent) I could never expect to be respected as a Jfashionsita or a fashion reporter. And when others close to me realized my dreams before me, well, I’m ashamed to admit that I lashed out angrily at them but mostly I was just disgusted with myself. Now I am seeing that I was wrong. I still dream of modeling, but I know that it’s not the be all end all for me and I’m even seeing that maybe my place in Jfashion may very well be something else. I won’t say what that thing is just yet but know that I am feeling a lot more confident about things than I was earlier this year and certainly more than I have been in a very long time.

In any case, the fashion show was lovely and very big, certainly much bigger than Anime Matsuri’s fashion show and many more brands too. Not just Japanese brands but indie ones too; from Korean brands to Chinese Taobao brands, even some western ones too. In addition to Lorina Liddel showcasing pieces from Atelier Periott, there were also pieces from Haenuli, Dolldelight, BABY and AATP and R-Series. Just to name afew.




I mostly took notes of the designs I liked best and took video. But here are a few of the photos I did manage to take.




I’m not much one for the headwear but this dress is adorable and perfect for more casual/otome looks! I believe it’s from R-Series. Oh, I hope it can be custom made!




THIS IS SO GORGEOUS!!! *_____*




A Haenuli print. The blue and gold combination is so regal and elegant!

After the fashion show I went to find my friends, and was so happy when I managed to run into David! We had not seen each other since the last time I was in California and I always enjoy seeing him. I was glad to see him again even though we could not talk for long; but we did manage to snap this picture this picture together.



^w^

I said goodbye to him and finally found my friends. They left soon afterward and the rest of my day was spent strolling around Pasadena happily before finally heading out to the airport later that evening for a very early morning departure to home. I mentioned before what an amazing sight seeing the sunset from my window seat on my way to California, but to see the sunrise…. I have no words for how lovely it was to see the sun rise across the seemingly boundless sky. I returned to Baltimore Tuesday afternoon after spending a brief layover in Atlanta. It seemed somewhat ironic to me because in less than two weeks I would be there again for AWA. XD




My little PMX haul, made up mainly of Femme Fatale merch, goods from BABY/AATP and some Imai Kira postcards. Not pictured is my Femme Fatale umbrella and Imai Kira iphone case.

So to sum it up, PMX this year was wonderful! Even with it’s ups and downs, getting sick the second day and the recent slew of drama after I returned home, I all in all had a great time and really enjoyed being press in a more official capacity. Like I said before I’m becoming more and more confident in my own natural abilities and am seeing that I don’t need to model or be skinny to have a place in the fashions that I love. I really miss my California friends but I know I will see them again in the future, which, at this moment, could not feel brighter to me.


In my next post I will write about the incredible Femme Fatale concert that took place on the first night of the con. So look forward to it! ^__^

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Top 5 Conventions for Jfashion Goodness that are NOT AM


Hello Everyone!

So in the few days or so, the extent of the corruption of Anime Matsuri has finally been exposed. I have always had issues with this convention but for the sake of not writing too many depressing things in this blog, I have for the most part kept these things in my head.

In all honesty, with the exception of seeing my NOLA dears each year, Anime Matsuri has to be the biggest disorganized unprofessional clusterfuck I have ever had to deal with both as a regular attendee and a member of the press. My experience being a member of press last year for the con to cover the Nightmare events was just that, a nightmare! Between a rather embarrassing convo with John Leigh, the co-chair of the con right before the concert, and major logistical issues with the concert proper, it was just too much to deal with and it is no wonder that my boss did not get me press for this year to cover Disacode.

From rude and or inept staff members to 2-3+ hour waits for big events, not getting merch that I had PAID for in advanced and sketchy mixed messages regarding tea party tickets in 2014 and other things that me saying would probably breech my confidentiality agreement with VKH, I never really enjoyed AM much besides the company of my lovely NOLA friends and getting to meet certain Japanese fashion guests I sadly probably would not have been able to meet otherwise (like Minori). Also, the cliquishness of the other lolita’s I’ve met at AM and always being denied a spot in the fashion show (and probably having my submission laughed at, based on recent info that has come to light) has done nothing but damage to my self esteem. I also had my own ideas/speculations about the dubiousness going on behind the scenes but for the most part it was only talk. But late last week this amazing account was posted from a former AM staffer and HLC member.


I really really REALLY commend buttcape for writing this because since then other former models and such are now coming out with their own stories and from all accounts it’s a lot worse than I could have imagined, sexual harassment and dubious methods for selecting Jfashion models and just this most recently THREE of the Kawaii Ambassadors have now LEFT the JLA and their posts as Kawaii Ambassadors because of this. What has been probably most sickening to read is how they have treated Misako, Midori, Akira and the other Japanese guests, not feeding them for hours on end, not giving them translators or handlers and not even informing them about the things they would be doing!

At the present, it appears that the JLA is investigating Anime Matsuri.

This is all so appalling, the lolita community as a whole already has a lot of elitism, cliquish hierarchies and bullshit as it is without Anime Matsuri soiling it all the more. This is why, among many other reasons, I am a lone lolita. Please everyone, if you have not already; please kindly sign this petition for the JLA to revoke John and Deniece Leigh’s positions as honorary Kawaii Ambassadors. As long as they have any hold in this community, things can’t get better.


Sadly though, I feel like even with all this incredible effort to end their corruption, many lolitas and Jfashionistas will still attend AM and their associated events. Simply because despite their obvious bullshit, they are still probably the biggest anime convention for Jfashion programming; with all the brands they bring along as well as models, it’s a very tempting event. I fully admit the main reason I went to AM this year was for an opportunity to meet Akira. Not only that but rumor now has it that they will be bringing a whopping SEVEN brands next year and based on pictures they have recently released and my own intuition (which is quite accurate 99% of the time), one of those brands may very well be Triple Fortune and I really REALLY want to met Kaie and Babi since I missed them at Rufflecon last year. But even so, despite the strong temptation, I will be staying far away from Anime Matsuri next year and every year from now on. I won’t even be attending the Grand Tea Party this November. It’s the principle of the matter.

I acknowledge that Anime Matsuri is a very tempting event for those who love lolita fashion and may want to meet these guests or take part in brand tea parties, fashion shows and the like. But I can no longer support an event that harbors sexual predators and allows such disorganization that it would make a small student run event like Tigercon far superior by comparison! I know that not every lolita (or most for that matter) can have the good fortune to be able to make multiple trips across the country to other conventions and events like I do. But in my last 7 years of con-hopping, I have taken note of the conventions that can be counted on to have the best programming Jfashion wise.

So for this post, I will be giving my top 5 conventions that usually have good Jfashion programming. Hopefully you will consider these conventions as alternatives to AM.

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Pacific Media Expo ~ Pasadena, California (http://pacificmediaexpo.info/2015/)
Usually this event is in early November, around Veterans Day, but this year it’s Labor Day weekend. PMX is an interesting case because even though it is technically an anime con, they really go out of their way to have all kinds of Japanese Pop Culture programming and even some Kpop too; from Jrock to dramas and of course, Jfashion. They even have a separate website specifically for their fashion department. It was at PMX 2008 that I first saw Kaya perform live and it was wonderful! In 2009 they had AP designers Maki and Asuka (AP was also there at PMX 2007) as well as Gashicon from Hangry and Angry. The last year I went Masumi Kano from BTSSB was there and in the last few years they have had the designers of Innocent World and Juliette et Justine and many events from craft and tea parties to fashion swap meets. I have always enjoyed PMX and with their recent move to a bigger venue, I am confident that it will continue to be a great con, I highly recommend it!


Anime Expo ~ Los Angeles, California (http://www.anime-expo.org/)
Anime Expo is the largest anime/Japanese culture convention in the country and since 2006 has had always had some kind of Jfashion programming or guest, probably even before that and I don’t know. In the past they have had iconic figures like Mana and Misako Aoki as guests and have even had gyaru brands in their dealer’s hall and as a part of their fashion show broadening the horizon for how Jfashion is manifested at conventions. Both this year and last year Kimura U was a guest and Naoto Hirooka of h.Naoto will be a guest for this year also.


Anime Weekend Atlanta ~ Atlanta, Georgia (http://awa-con.com/)
AWA has had the benefit of not only being able to host many brand events and guests, but they have a very strong lolita following as well. Before it disbanded, the Atlanta lolita event FRILL would often host events at AWA and even had a full boutique rented out in the Cobb Galleria in 2012 which was awesome for shopping. In the last few years the con itself has hosted many notable brands such as Putumayo, BABY and a few KINCS designers too. Misako Aoki modeled with Putumayo in 2013 and they hosted a tea party that year also. The local lolitas that I have met at AWA are also very sweet! I already mentioned this but I will be at AWA again this year for my birthday. I’m not sure yet what Jfashion goodness they have planned this year as I have not yet checked their guest list extensively (I’m mainly going for Eir Aoi and Reika XD) but I’m sure whatever they have planned, it will be great.


Anime Next ~ Early June in New Jersey (http://www.animenext.org/)
Anime Next has only recently come upon my interest in the last few years. I only went to Anime Next once two years ago but was very impressed with it Jfashion wise. Last year they had Kimura U and the brand Galaxxxy and in recent years they have hosted several other notable fashion guests like Sixh, Mint Neko, GRAMM, BABY (Founder and CEO Akinori Isobe was there in 2013 along with designer Masumi) and most recently this year, h.Naoto. Next year they will be moving to a larger space in Atlantic City so I am certain that Anime Next will continue to deliver great programming for Jfashionistas.


RuffleCon ~ Early October in Connecticut (http://www.rufflecon.org/)
I have not yet had the privilege of attending this conference but from all accounts, it is very nice, fun and well organized. RuffleCon bills itself as a Northeast Alternative Fashion Conference and caters to many different fashions not just Jfashion, also historical fashion general gothic and Victorian fashion, etc. Events include the standard tea party and fashion show but there are also fan panels and workshops specializing in fashion related topics, a masquerade ball and a talent show too! Last year they had Fumiko chan of Enchantilic Enchantilly and Kaie and Babi as guests and I would have gone if Schwarz Stein at AUSA had not taken priority. XD

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As lolita and other Jfashions become more popular in the west, most medium to big cons usually have at least one designer come to their con these days. These listed are just my personal favorites/the ones most notable. There are many others too; for winter International Lolita Day this December, I am planning on attending the new lolita convention Dream Fantasy Theatre Presents: A Royal Weekend in Orlando Florida. It will be my last convention of the year and likely last convention for a while besides Katsucon next year (staffing again). Since Dream Fantasy Theatre is rather new I can’t speak yet on wheather or not it’s a good con but I have high hopes.

 In the meantime, I hope you all take these conventions listed above into consideration when planning to go to one if you are interested in Jfashion. And don’t just limit yourself to just these or whatever conventions plan, work with your local lolita communities and talk to the conventions in your area about having Jfashion programming if they don’t already. There is power in numbers; this very year Mechacon, the New Orleans convention that a lot of my NOLA dears attend, will be hosting a BABY/AATP fashion show and tea party. It pains me greatly that I won’t be able to go but I am very proud and happy for them to be able to do this! If you guys are reading this, you guys are so awesome!! <3

Also this year back in April, the Pittsburgh convention Tekko had RinRin Doll as their very first Jfashion guest in the conventions history. Even now, I am currently doing all I can to convince my superiors at Katsucon that hosting a Jfashion guest in the future would be a great thing for the con and I know others in my local comm. are trying to do the same. Look for me this autumn wherever Katsucon is promoting where I will, in addition to promoting the convention itself, will also be raising awareness for my new hashtag #JfashionatKatsu, something I hope will get more notice as katsu gets closer.


Yours Jasmine 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kamijo 20th Anniversary Concert in NYC aka how I spent my International Lolita Day Part 2 ~ Vive le Roi!!!


Hello Everyone!

And now to continue with my International Lolita Day adventures in New York. After taking the subway again from the boutique we made it to the Highline Ballroom a little past 4. By this time there were a lot of people lined up, I saw a few other lolvely lolitas and even a few Kamijo cosplayers too; there was this one Holy Grail Hizaki cosplayer that looked absolutely stunning!

There were two lines, one for general admission and one for VIP ticket holders, which were us; we would get the opportunity to meet Kamijo before the show! The very thought made me a little sick in my stomach such was my nervousness. This all still seemed like nothing more than a wonderful dream to me but as the time got closer and closer it was beginning to hit me harder and harder that THIS WAS NO DREAM AT ALL!! After 7 years from discovering Versailles and 3 years since their announcement of hiatus, I was going to actually be meeting this incredible, talented, beautiful man who’s bands’ music had been such a driving inspiration to me for so long, helping me through very rough times and making me so happy other times. Not to mention all the wonderful friends and experiences I found through his music. I never imagined that I would have this opportunity. At that moment, I could no longer think about the depressing things that had made me stop listening to Versailles and Kamijo’s music for a while, those things just seemed to erase from my mind fully.



And things REALLY began to sink in the minute I saw this!


In any case, while in line there was this very kind girl holding a large US flag with the gold emblem of Kamijo’s solo project in the center and Amanda and I each signed our names on it. Before the meet and greet staff members let bunches of fans in at a time to buy merch which honestly was very slim pickings. None of Kamijo’s music was for sale which made me rather upset and the only size fan shirt left was way too large for me; in the end I settled on 2 photo sets, gifts for Kitty back home and my friend in Georgia who sadly could not make it. 

After buying merch Amanda and I went back to the VIP line to wait a little more for us to be called back into the venue. As it happens the meet and greet started late and honestly it happened so quickly! There were a lot of VIP’s, probably more than 100. We were led to the upper level of the venue where from downstairs we could see the stage and see people beginning to line up for the show itself, this slightly worried me because I wanted a good spot and didn’t pay $120 to stand TOO far from the stage! While waiting Amanda and I looked down below and could see Kamijo being led upstairs and THAT is when the reality of all of this hit me, I’m worried I may have crushed Amanda’s hand such was how tightly I was squeezing it! We continued holding hands until finally it was my turn, again so quickly! With one last squeeze of her hand the staff member guarding the door opened it for me went into the room.

My head was down staring at my shoes and my heart was racing; I heard the word “Bonjour~” and that’s when I finally looked up at a very gorgeous, warm smiling Kamijo, he reached his hand out to me and all I could say was “Hello!” in what was probably a very squeaky voice as I shook his hand. I wanted to look at him but he was wearing his vampire contact lenses that make his eyes look a piercing almost white blue that made my heart race again. The staff member took our picture and then Kamijo turned to me smiling and shook my hand again with both of his hands saying “Thank you so much, please enjoy!” This time our eyes actually met and I could fully take in how regally handsome he is! The racing in my heart was replaced with a warm fluttery feeling and I squeaked “Arigatou!” but by this point it was all I could do not to break down and cry. Even now it all seemed like nothing more than a beautiful dream and only when I took my first look at the cheki of Kamijo and I did I finally realize that this was no dream. I had just met Kamijo, I had shaken his hand twice and he actually looked at me! I had expected the whole experience to be A LOT more daunting but it wasn’t. Despite having a very commanding, slightly intimidating presence (and *cough* sexy! *cough cough*) on stage he was so kind and gracious and it felt like the fluttering in my heart would never go away. What a true gentleman! It didn’t even matter to me that the whole thing only took at most half a minute.




I’m sure regular readers of my blog already know how rare it is for me to give a full, true smile in any picture. But in that moment everything just felt so incredible and euphoric that I could not help but smile. Thank you Kamijo, I will treasure this picture forever! ^O^

I wandered back down the stairs in a strange sort of daze, waiting for Amanda. And then I ran into fellow MD lolita Erica who had also come up to New York for ILD and the concert! We had not seen each other since Anime Matsuri and it was nice seeing her again. She had also just met Kamijo and she, me and Amanda all mused together about the wonderful experience we had all just had and look at our chekis. 

It would still be another two hours until showtime so we spent most of the time talking about Kamijo, the songs we hoped he would sing, what we had done in the city that day and lolita crack dresses! XD (the fancy make to order dresses from BABY that generally retail for about $1000 USD but sell on auctions for 10X more) By 6:30-7pm our feet were killing us so we all sat to rest right there by the stage, and from the looks of it we were not the only ones. Poor Amanda actually fell asleep for a bit and I didn’t bother to wake her until it was time for the concert to truly start.

Despite the meet and greet being late, the concert started promptly at 8. The lights dimmed and we all got up from the floor and went wild with excitement!! A blood red hue illuminated the stage and the beginning tunes of “Vive le Roi” began. We all chanted along with “Vive le Roi” as the support members appeared one by one, oh how my heart raced when Masashi appeared but not as much as when Kamijo finally strode upon the stage obviously relishing how wild we all went for him! Together we all began to chant “Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi!” I was getting really excited and my heart soared when Kamijo spoke out the words “The world is, like a Masquerade!” and the epic symphonic chords of “Masquerade” began! One of my all time favorite Versailles songs! Kamijo sang with so much feeling and I could not help but sing along with him as loud as I could. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I never imagined I would ever hear this song performed live so the whole experience was just so surreal and amazing. Kamijo moved with such elegance, twirling the cape of his shimmering black and gold jacket and pointing out to the stage, he never seemed to stop grinning. Then when it was time for Masashi’s bass solo that is when I really lost it! I really wish I had a spot closer to him but it was still amazing seeing him because he is so truly talented!

After “Masquerade” we all cheered and I finally was able to fully look upon Kamijo and admire how glorious he was. He smiled at us all and said “Bonjour!” to which we replied back to him with even stronger applause. “Welcome to my palace!” He said in a very regal, somewhat seductive tone; Kamijo always seemed to me to have a certain “passion” for other languages and his English seemed to have really improved since Versailles! The next song was another Versailles tune “Shout and Bites” and then “Phantom” from his New Sodmy days. During these songs I tried to keep my attention on Kamijo but I found my attention often shifing to the very cute guitarist closest to us but most of all, Masashi. Versailles had ended before I could really come to appreciate him as an equal member of Versailles and I was very happy to see him as support member during this show. Like I said he is very talented and seems to have a very strong stage presence in his own right. Amanda said she thinks he’s cute. XD

Soon Kamijo said to the audience “Rose of Versailles” and I knew what that meant: “Bara wa utsukushiku chiru” Lareine’s rock version of the classic shoujo anime opening! Kamijo always made it clear that he really loved Rose of Versailles and so do I! Again I sang along all the while images of Lareine and the anime appeared on the screen behind them, then another Lareine song; “Fuyu Tokyo”. Then Kamijo left the stage for a moment while the support members wowed us with an instrumental track I did not recognize but it was amazing. And then the support members left the stage as well and everything went dark for a moment.

 

Kamijo returned to the stage and performed a beautiful Japanese version of the Versailles song “Love Will be Born Again” to a slow instrumental track that nearly bought tears to my eyes. As he sang I looked upon him without fear and could really see (and feel) all the emotion he was putting into the song, it filled my heart with a mix of sadness and joy. After that song the support members returned to the stage for the next song, a beautiful and romantic Lareine track called “Fiancailles”. We sang along joyously to this sweet tune; I was really happy with all the Lareine songs Kamijo had chosen for this show. My only wish was that I could have heard “Metamorphose” “Fleur” or “Lillie Charlotte” as well. But it’s okay. Midway through the song a guy reached out and gave Kamijo a bouquet of blue roses; he kissed the bouquet and continued to sing with the bouquet in his hands. Such a lucky guy!

 

There was a little video before the next song. Now I will admit, with the exception of the very first few songs Kamijo released and the MOST recent of his solo work, I am not all THAT familiar with his solo work, most of last year I devoted my attention to Jupiter and did not pay much attention to what Kamijo was doing. So to that end the next few songs were kind of fuzzy to me as they all seemed to be mashed together. I only remember Kamijo performing “Dying Table” and “Throne” but that’s because those tracks I particularly took a liking to. So again I just focused on the way Kamijo was moving to and fro in a very flamboyant, elegant way. It was so captivating! He really does have that noble vampire act down pat! For that night, he truly owned the stage.

 

After the last song of the main set we all chanted for an encore. By that time it was a wonder that I had any voice left after so much screaming and singing along to nearly every song I knew AND already battling with a slightly scratchy throat. But the screaming had only just begun.

 

Another video played that showed all of the best of Kamijo over the last 20 years, from Lareine, to New Sodmy, to Versailles to now. It gave me a strange sense of joy and nostalgia to see how far Kamijo had come in his career and I was happy to be able to be there to celebrate his music with fellow fans and him. Finally the support members returned and a blood red hue lit the stage again as a grave, daunting beat began, Kamijo returned chanting “Whoa-o-oh” and we in turn chanted back “Whoa-o-oh”, in a strong voice Kamijo then sang “The time has come…” and we sang it back to him before the start of the first song of the encore set: the very intense and powerful “Bastile”! We all tried to get as close to the stage as we could as Kamijo performed and came to our side, singing out “Destroy the…” and we replied “BASTILLE!” as loud as we could! Such a fun song to experience live!!

 

“I want to see you dance!” Kamijo said to us as the next song began “Moulin Rouge”! Another fun party song that is very jazzy and somewhat sexy. I actually had to remove my shoes in order to really dance and enjoy this song like I wanted to and Kamijo did not disappoint! I was very taken back with the sexy way Kamijo danced and moved, licking his lips afew times and moving his hips in a seductive way. Every time he said “It’s showtime!” I danced with so much energy, I could not hold back. At one point we went over to Masashi and danced with him in a teasing way that was obviously meant to be for the sake of fanservice and was met with an eruption of rabid screams from the audience!

 

Kamijo announced the last song and I swear my heart stopped all together when he said the words: “Aristocrats Symphony”! The first ever song I ever heard of Versailles and my absolute favorite of theirs, “Aristocrats Symphony” holds a very special place in my heart. Even when I was not listening to Versailles for awhile during mourning for Jasmine You or because I was depressed about their hiatus, I would still listen to this powerful symphonic tune. All at once a wave of wonderful memories began to hit me as the song began and continued as Kamijo sang. Memories of seeing Kamijo and Versailles for the first time ever at a con in Dallas many years ago, memories of staying up until dawn with my friends watching their PV’s or live clips on YouTube, memories of passing out Versailles flyers as a member of their US Street Team cosplaying as Hizaki, memories of releasing a purple balloon into the sky every August 9th, a custom I observed every year until 2012. I had forgotten all the bad things, all the drama and all I could think of was headbanging intensely and singing along with Kamijo to this wonderful song. By this time, I could not hold back my tears any longer but I was so, so, SO HAPPY! Words cannot describe the happiness I felt. We all sang along. I did not ever want the song to end.

 

 

 

After the song Kamijo introduced each of his support members, I cheered for every one. They all had done such a magnificent job. Then Kamijo asked us teasingly “And I am…?” I don’t think it was possible to comprehend the audience screaming out Kamijo’s name, such was the passionate volume of everyone. Then Kamijo was presented with the US flag we had all signed earlier and he put it over his shoulder like a cape and even put it over his head once! So funny! He never stopped smiling, even for a moment!

 

And then sat with the support members close to the stage for a picture, we all squeezed in as close as we could for the picture, I think I actually got a very good spot. ^.^ At the very end, Kamijo instructed us to all jump on his cue and he took the hands of all his support members and together we all jumped as high as we could, but at this point I merely pretended because my feet were crying after hours of walking around in EGL platforms and dancing. Kamijo and the support members waved to the crowd and thanked us all graciously and wholeheartedly before leaving the stage for the last time. The concert was over.

 

Reality returned to me immediately as I realized what a magical experience I had just been a part of. Amanda and I didn’t leave right away though, we ran into my VKH colleague and friend Shiro and we decided to collapse into the middle of the floor, breathless and euphoric and musing about how amazing the concert had been. We also ran into a bunch of other familiar faces too. It had occurred to me that I was only able to know most of these people through Versailles and by default through Kamijo. It was so wonderful and I can honestly say without a doubt that this had to be one of the best jrock concert experiences I had ever had.

 

Amanda and I returned to the bus station, still trying to take in what a wonderful day and night it had been. Sadly, my bus left at 1am, before her’s so holding back more tears I bid her farewell and we promised each other we would see each other later this summer for Otakon and I returned to Baltimore. It was nearly 5am by the time I came home and I fell into bed, still fully dressed in my Moitie regalia.

 

 

 

All my purchases from the day. OTK’s from AATP, a headbow from BABY, a Kera magazine and autographed Disacode photobook, the lovely box my Laudree macarons came in and, of course, photos of Kamijo!

 

It was such a wonderful day! Probably the best International Lolita Day I had ever had! It was even better experiencing everything with Amanda. I feel like I had been waiting so long for this concert experience and despite the hiccups with the organization, everything fell into place so wonderfully. Even now I’m still sore from that day but it doesn’t bother me at all.

 

Summer is coming but my decision still stands of taking a break from con-hopping until at least September. I’ll be relaxing this summer but I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated throughout the summer. So please look forward to future posts from me! And now if you excuse me, I’m going to go order Kamijo’s new CD on CDJapan! XD

 

Vive le Roi!!!

 

Yours Jasmine