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Unread 11-30-2008, 06:56 AM   #1
Drackt
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Goin' to Japan...questions

I have a query. I'm planning to go to Japan and as well as hanging out at the bridge in Harajuku, I'm wondering if there's other places where cosplay is acceptable.

Firstly, I've seen people do it at Disneyland. And not just at Halloween. I'd probably just wear my Namine dress as it's not conspicuous, but is it a problem for the other months out of the year?

Secondly, would you be allowed to wear it to the theater? I was going to make a vamp dress to wear at the bridge, but I'm not sure if I'd have to go back to the hotel to change to see a musical. (Which happens to be about vamps.) Mainly because I don't want to be some "hen na gai-jin." (Crazy foreigner.)

Heck, I'd wear loli stuff out in public, but these are different.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 08:46 AM   #2
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I had a friend who lived there for a year and there are in fact a great number of unwritten social rules there. for instance it would be very inappropriate there for you to wear a costume on the way to a con, as it is offensive to the company running it or the owner of the con centre. It is proper etiquette to change into a costume on the premise. She also said that is you want to cosplay just for fun in public its either all the way or not at all. she says she will see people in full Lolita get up and thats alright , but she was told that it was inappropriate for her to wear her fishnets over a pair of stalkings out regularly. Now im not sure if theses were specific to the group of people she was with, and they do sound kind of silly but japan's rules on social etiquette are very different from our own so it's probably best to ask a resident and find out. But for a culture when cosplay originates from, when it comes to cons, it's far less popular. Which explains the high number of private photo shoots we see of japanese cosplayers, and the small levels of at con pictures.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 09:52 AM   #3
LilMaibe
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you know, not to be rude, but you should learn about what japan REALLY is before you go there.
You appear t associate Japan only with anime, manga and cosplay...
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Unread 11-30-2008, 10:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by LilMaibe View Post
you know, not to be rude, but you should learn about what japan REALLY is before you go there.
You appear t associate Japan only with anime, manga and cosplay...
While I think it's important for people to know about a culture they are about to venture into, this person seems to be making an effort to do so.

It's no crime to go to Japan just because you want to hang out with friends, attend Comiket, and look for anime and manga! I think this person will be missing out on a lot if that's all s/he wants to do, but that's their choice. Liking certain aspects of a culture while having no interest in others is not a crime.

What if a Japanese person really liked some American sci-fi and came here for a sci-fi/fantasy convention? Would you feel like the Japanese person was rude because they came over here just for the sci-fi show and a chance to dress up from it without wanting to experience our culture at large?

Just sayin'.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 11:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty Llama View Post
But for a culture when cosplay originates from,
Drive-by correction on that: Meet the first cosplayer. He's American.
Worldcon 1939.

I'd advise very very strongly that you do not wear your costume anywhere outside the specific times and places that people expect to see a costume--i.e., the bridge on Sunday. Japanese culture is very emphatic about the proper thing in the proper place. The theater is not the proper place, and neither is any further from the bridge than the first public bathroom to change your clothes in. Outside of the specific situation in which it's expected, wearing a costume would be considered profoundly embarrassing both for you and for anyone near you. Yup, that means people walking by you on the street, the ticket window girl, people in adjacent seats at the theater, etc. Go to the bridge, have fun, and change into normal clothes.

I'd also like to second the "all the way or not at all" sentiment. It's part of the proper thing in the proper place sentiment--a thing that is worth doing must be worth doing fully and correctly. Otherwise, why do it? Do not half-ass your costume. Make it as beautiful and perfect as you can, and do not gloss over details like hair, makeup, and shoes.

The goal would be to look perfectly unremarkable on your way to the bridge, beautifully weird while you're there, and straight back to unremarkable before you leave.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 12:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhoenixStarr44 View Post
What if a Japanese person really liked some American sci-fi and came here for a sci-fi/fantasy convention? Would you feel like the Japanese person was rude because they came over here just for the sci-fi show and a chance to dress up from it without wanting to experience our culture at large?

Just sayin'.
That doesn't apply here because frankly, very few Americans would really give a crap. The difference between us and the body of citizens from every other country is that there really aren't any unifying rules of etiquette or courtesy that we observe as a country or let alone care about. If anything, the one rule is that there are no rules and that we'll look at this example japanese tourist and either A) not care, or B) Care WAY too much and be judgmental about it, usually to themselves and immediate friends though of course since many of us are not confrontational. Caring about culture has been proven to be either very unamerican or at the very least on a case-by-case basis, with the exception of course that if you're a cosplayer great chances are you do care and find great importance in culture; well at least Japanese culture.

But seriously, I've never heard of the concept of someone in another country asking "gee will that be polite in the States?" when our country is essentially the anti-thesis of culture. You can blame capitalism for that, or the 250-year melting pot effect on our country's population, but whatever you feel is the case the fact of the matter is that Drackt is already setting herself apart from normal Americans who simply wouldn't care what the Japanese would think of her.

As for throwing my two cents into the pile about the main question though, I personally do not know what the answer would be about public cosplay. You could have a couple of friends with cameras and videocameras follow you around and one friend with a microphone, that way you could all say you're making a movie as an excuse. It's a thought, albeit a terrible idea.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 01:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangochutney View Post
Drive-by correction on that: Meet the first cosplayer. He's American.
Worldcon 1939.
Thank you for the correction I apologies for a seemingly un-researched statement. However it was more of a comment that Japan where the source of the anime/gamine cosplay genre originates from.

The point however remains the same that it is something that is not regarded highly even at conventions (as i make reference to my previous comment of it being socially disrespectful to wear a costume on the way to the convention). Just remember that Japan has it's own very distinctive cultural norms and you should really study up on them before making assumptions about what is appropriate and what is not. So it is good that you are asking for advice but i would strongly advise against the kairi dress in public it is recognizable and may offended. Honestly the best advice I can offer is to bring your stuff because there will most certainly be a time and place for it, but always seek advice from a local resident before wearing any of it.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 01:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Shifty Llama View Post
she says she will see people in full Lolita get up and thats alright , but she was told that it was inappropriate for her to wear her fishnets over a pair of stalkings out regularly.
If she's wearing lolita, that's a lolita rule. Fishnets are a big no-no for lolita. For a multitude of different reasons, but mostly because they are fetish wear, and that's unacceptable for wearing with anything other than ero-lolita (ero as in erotic). Ero generally isn't worn as an outside the house for anything other than a photoshoot or on the bridge fashion. Lolita has enough problems with it's connotation to sexual fetishists than to wear actual trappings of fetish with it. It's also good to note here that lolita is a fashion, and not cosplay. That's why it's so widely worn in public, and is "ok". Even though it's a fashion it still isn't generally accepted as appropriate clothing to wear because it's so outlandished, which is why it's lumped in with cosplay as "wtf r u doin by most Japanese people" wear.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 02:22 PM   #9
Shifty Llama
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticfreefall View Post
If she's wearing lolita, that's a lolita rule. Fishnets are a big no-no for lolita. For a multitude of different reasons, but mostly because they are fetish wear, and that's unacceptable for wearing with anything other than ero-lolita (ero as in erotic). Ero generally isn't worn as an outside the house for anything other than a photoshoot or on the bridge fashion. Lolita has enough problems with it's connotation to sexual fetishists than to wear actual trappings of fetish with it. It's also good to note here that lolita is a fashion, and not cosplay. That's why it's so widely worn in public, and is "ok". Even though it's a fashion it still isn't generally accepted as appropriate clothing to wear because it's so outlandished, which is why it's lumped in with cosplay as "wtf r u doin by most Japanese people" wear.
This is indeed a fact i am well aware was but i was using it as an example of how easy it is to take americanized views on what is acceptable and use them in a culture where the rules are very different. In countries like American and Canada all be it a personal fashion choice it is acceptable to wear fishnets with stripy rainbow socks along with your normal clothing (and was not dressing in Lolita fashion) (which is what my friend was trying to do and by her cultural standards was in no way fetish wear) It is basically the case that some fashions are acceptable and some are not. She simply commented that it bothered her that it was ok there for people to dress in the traditional Gothic Lolita style (out on the street on a daily basis may i add) but her americanized goth kid styles were unacceptable, which quite frankly is kind of snobby but that is how the Japanese culture works and anyone going there will need to know these every so slight details.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 02:25 PM   #10
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I definitely will take that advice about changing in a public place to heart (As I've done it in Navy Pier before), although I'm going to post that Namine picture and see what you guys would think. I have read that gai-jins draw attention if they're in skimpy clothes...although you see gai-jins model undies in adverts over there. Go fig.

http://ladracul.deviantart.com/art/Namine-95264768
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Unread 11-30-2008, 03:13 PM   #11
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To me, that looks like a cute sundress. Ironically enough, not being strictly accurate will probably play in your favor here. You could pretty much wear that anywhere without attracting much attention, but on the flip side it's very unlikely that anyone will acknowledge that you're cosplaying if you attend a cosplay-friendly event.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 03:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drackt View Post
I'm wondering if there's other places where cosplay is acceptable
First, see if you can talk to an actual Japan resident for advice.

If you can't - I have no knowledge of Japanese modern culture, but personally, I would go ahead and assume that, just like in America, there is no "acceptable" place to cosplay outside of special events. A convention is a special event. Disneyland is a special vacation spot. A theater is not.

If you're concerned with it being acceptable and not being perceived as a crazy foreigner, my advice is to wear your costume to this bridge event only, and wear normal clothing everywhere else.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 07:08 PM   #13
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Hnnnn....The dress isn't bad, but at least from my experience over there, girls are generally expected to wear tall socks when wearing dresses/skirts that stop above the knee. Showing that much leg isn't really...risque per say, but you aren't going to see many girls (that aren't following the gyaru fashion, anyway) wearing skirts/dresses above the knee without some kind of knee-high stockings or socks. I think that'll just be up to you though, and you'll probably be able to get away with it more easily as a foreigner.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 07:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Drackt View Post
I have a query. I'm planning to go to Japan and as well as hanging out at the bridge in Harajuku, I'm wondering if there's other places where cosplay is acceptable.
There isn't, really. People will just stare at you or be uncomfortable because of it. There's a reason that cosplay events have a dressing room on-site, usually for a fee.

I've even seen girls, Japanese girls mind, on the train in their full EGL gear and people just tried to pretend they weren't there.

Akihabara in Tokyo is probably the only other place you could get away with wearing a costume, but even then you'll stand out. You'd only really want to do it on Sundays, same with Harajuku, since there's more likely to be more people doing it. Even then, if you cosplayed in Akihabara you'd want to not try and draw attention to yourself. It could be deemed as disturbing the peace. Cosplayers doing street performances were stopped by the police fairly recently, for example. Despite the nerdery there, it's not ALL otaku-types so don't think everyone will smile and welcome your cosplay. The majority will stare or avoid contact.
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Unread 11-30-2008, 08:11 PM   #15
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Do not wear costumes as streetwear-- it will make the people around you feel very awkward.
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