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Unread 01-01-2010, 04:13 AM   #1
Strifehart
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Looking for cosplayers near Tokyo/Yokosuka

Hi, I just moved to Japan, and I have no family or friends here. I would really like to meet some people who are into cosplay, but I can't figure out when any cons are happening. This site only lists two.

I'm not expecting to meet anyone in person unless you are interested, but even having someone to talk to online would be a great help. Thank you, I look forward to meeting some of you.
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Unread 01-04-2010, 04:41 PM   #2
kiratsukai
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I'm about 4 hours south of Tokyo by Shinkansen (in Shikoku) but attend events in Kansai and Chubu. Cosplay culture, for whatever reason, seems to cluster in Kansai, so you may find yourself travelling south to shop for costumes/props/wigs or to rent studios/attend location-shoots.

This site doesn't support general Japanese events. I've tried adding them to no avail.

To get event lists, you'll want to pick up a flyer at your local Animate, or a copy of a cosplay magazine like LAYERS. Both have lists of events broken down by prefecture. The first is free, the latter is more extensive. All of this information is available online at Cosplayer's Archive and sites like it... but in every case, the information is in Japanese.

The Osaka area has a seasonal free-paper called "Milk Lariat" which lists maid cafes, shops, doujinshi and cosplay events in Kansai. It's fabulous. I don't know if Tokyo has something similar. Someone else here may know.

My advice reguarding information in Japanese is this: apply yourself to learning to navigate the schedules and rule listings or find a Japanese-speaking friend to guide you... Without enough Japanese to find an event, you won't have enough to understand the rules and restrictions or interact with anyone in a meaningful way either Japanese events are a good deal stricter than those overseas... not always for obviously sensical reasons. If you`re breaking the rules, the atmosphere is "chilly" to say the least and even if you're minding your manners, you're likely to be completely avoided for fear that you wouldn't understand any attempts at contact.

Using the dressing room and bringing extra items like mirrors, eyelash glue, and eye drops for contacts can help break the ice. If you see someone struggling or a big group sharing one mirror, you can offer them your extra items to borrow. It also helps to greet everyone when you enter the changing room and when you finish changing, to "otsukaresama deshita" everyone. Make bi-lingual introduction cards if you want to stay in contact with anyone... and don`t be shocked if someone gets your info and then never contacts you (sometimes it's only for show).

The image of foreign cosplayers and their behavior at Japanese events is a little... errr... unpleasant right now >.< But if you try to do it by the book and make an extra effort to let people know you want to talk to them (and can), people will be surprised and extremely welcoming.

Quite a few foreigners attend the "big" events ~ Comiket, Tokyo Game Show and Tokyo Animation Festa (the latter is actually more famous among foreigners than Japanese). All of these events have English volunteer staff and help-desks (along with sketchy English-language website branches). These events welcome non-English speakers with less reservation than others. These might be good starters (though be aware that they're also extremely crowded, ban most props and have very high-level cosplayers in attendance).

For costumes/goods and flyers about events: Ikebukuro's otome road, Akihabara, and Nakano Broadway are all good places to poke around.

Information in English on Cosplay in Japan and online shop/event links:
http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=196625

Last edited by kiratsukai : 01-04-2010 at 04:56 PM.
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Unread 01-04-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
Strifehart
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Wow, thank you for all that. Unfortunately I don't make friends easily which is why I came to cosplay.com for information, but I AM trying pretty hard to learn the language and to understand the cultural differences. Although the latter hardly seems to be a problem because of the way I was raised... I am struggling with the former.

But thank you very much for the information, it is very much appreciated.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 12:20 AM   #4
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I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've heard anyone claim that Kansai was center of cosplay in Japan. If you can find it in Kansai, you can find it in Tokyo. Studios, wigs, costumes, diy supplies, all of it. Hell, there is even a cosplay school in Shibuya.

One of the first things it would be helpful to do is to get the idea of a 'con' out of your head. There really are no 'cons' in the sense that you may be used to here. Comiket, Tokyo Game Show, and the like are probably the closest you'll find, but, yeah, still pretty different. Here, they hold events dedicated specifically to cosplay. Sometimes even cosplay from a certain series or publishing group.

Fliers and cosplay magazines are a good way to find out about events, but if your kanji skills are lacking, they may not be of much use to you. Many smaller events are very specific in the types of cosplay allowed and if you can't read the flier you won't be able to figure out what's allowed or even where the event is being held.

For the Tokyo area, I like to attend events held by JCF (Japan Cosplay Festival). They hold monthly events at different locations across Tokyo and have an email newsletter you can sign up for. They have a website (http://takama.ne.jp/jcf/) and you can run the site through a translator if you have problems understanding the kanji. They list all the rules and information for the events online so you can get a good feel for the dos and don'ts of the event. The events tend to be fairly large and well attended, which is nice to start off with rather than a smaller, more intimate event. If you are looking to cosplay soon, I would recommend the event at Toshimaen (としまえん) on the 30th and 31st of this month. In fact, I may be attending that event myself. Another online source I use is CURE's email magazine.

One word of warning through, while I've never felt a chilly atmosphere at an event, you will feel awkward if you attend an event alone. Most events are not the same as cons back home where cosplayers will wander around, taking pictures of each other and chatting in a casual manner. Most of the Japanese cosplayers will attend in a lager groups and then proceed to take pictures of each other. Yes, they will sometimes go to others and ask to take their picture and exchange info cards but there isn't nearly as much mingling as you may be used to. Also, as a foreigner, you will get a lot of looks and hear a lot of 'gaijin' whispers, but few if any other cosplayers will approach you. It will be up to you to approach them, which is why a decent grasp of the language will be necessary if you're looking to meet people. If you just want to go and cosplay and check things out, then not knowing Japanese isn't too much of a problem. If you want to take pictures, know the rules for that are different too. You should always ask before snapping a photo and if you want to post the picture online, you should get permission from the cosplayer after taking the picture. Not all cosplayers want their picutres online or shared.

Another word of warning...never, ever show up to an event already in cosplay. They will not let you in. Bring your costume and anything else you may need (makeup, wig, mirror, props, etc.) in a small wheelie suitcase. When you arrive, register to cosplay and pay whatever fee there may be, then head to the dressing room and change there. Depending on when you arrive, there will usually be a line. One thing kiratsukai recommended was to announce yourself when you enter and exit the changing area, but I haven't seen anyone do this.

Anyway, that should be more than enough info to get you started. If you are interested in attending an event in the Tokyo area, let me know and I may be able to attend as well. It's definitaly helpful to go with someone who knows what they are doing your first time.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 02:03 AM   #5
kiratsukai
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I said it tends to cluster there: meaning people who live in more than half of Japan rely on Osaka as their main city (and consequently, event and shopping) centre. I never meant to imply that it eclipses Tokyo. Tokyo will always have the most events... because it has the most people. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of unique events and shops worth travelling to Osaka to visit and that we never see anyone from Tokyo coming down for a Kyoto photo shoot. The attitude that Tokyo is the center of the universe and therefore the only place in Japan worth visiting can be frustrating >.<

Also in Kansai's defense: when I lived in Tokyo during University I found the cosplay shopping to be... not awesome. Was last there last week and found it... still not-awesome. I couldn't find the wig I was looking for anywhere (in three neighborhoods). Much prefer Osaka/Kobe. Quite a few shops and online businesses have branches or HQ in Osaka or Kobe (probably because it's the most central major international shipping port and goods tend to be made overseas in Asia). So yeah, there are at least twice as many events in Tokyo. But the shopping seems (to me) to be better in Kansai. We also have a plethora of non-crowded amusement parks, tourist locales and beaches which make for great cosplay event locations (something harder to come by in Tokyo where the choices are usually "convention center", "shopping mall" or "convention center with a shopping mall"). Or maybe I'm biased because Kobe has the most badass highrise craft-store known to man <3

As for greeting people in the dressing room, it's not "announcing oneself". If you make eye contact, it only seems right to nod your head and say good morning. It's an extension of regular Japanese manners... an "ohayou gozaimasu" never hurt anyone, on the street, in the office or in a dressing room. It just shows that you're polite. Granted, I tend to attend very small events... in which everyone talks to each other at some point anyway. It might not fly in big, busy events.

Last edited by kiratsukai : 01-05-2010 at 02:32 AM.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 05:53 AM   #6
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Hi! I'm based in the Tokyo area but my exchange program is ending soon, so I'm leaving on the 20th. Before that, however, I'd like to have fun and maybe make a new friend or two. There's an event at Tokyo Dome that will be held from the 16th to the 17th. It's called Cosplay Decorations TDC, and the information can be found here: http://www.cosplayfesta.com. If you buy a ticket at any Lawson outlet in advance, it costs 1600 yen. An advanced ticket for two days is 3000 yen. Otherwise, it's 2000 yen a day. It's highly likely that I'll be going on the 16th; as for the 17th, I'm not yet sure.

Also, sadly, most information about cosplay events is in Japanese. I usually check http://ja.curecos.com for events. Just click on the part that says "イベント情報" (event information), and you can search events by region and date. If you can't understand what's written, I'm sure that people on this forum would be glad to help. My Japanese isn't very good yet, but maybe I could help somehow.

Quote:
One word of warning through, while I've never felt a chilly atmosphere at an event, you will feel awkward if you attend an event alone.
Oh, gosh, I thought I was the only one who felt that way! I usually attend events alone, since I've always been hesitant to invite people to go with me, and it always felt really awkward. Also, I seem to be the only cosplayer who takes pictures of other cosplayers; most cosplayers do seem to take pictures of themselves and their friends alone. It really feels quite different from the atmosphere in my country, where people take pictures of any cosplayers that they find interesting/eyecatching/awesome.

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Bring your costume and anything else you may need (makeup, wig, mirror, props, etc.) in a small wheelie suitcase.
I also noticed that cosplayers here put their things in those suitcases. This is good if you have lots of things, but if you're like me, a large bag or even a paper/plastic bag might do. I find that dragging a suitcase from the station to the event is inconvenient, so I prefer carrying a bag. Plus, the lines for the baggage counter can get long sometimes, so even though it's a bit impractical (and maybe inconvenient) to carry my stuff around, I still do so. I don't know how advisable this is, though; I haven't seen anyone else put his/her stuff in anything other than a suitcase over here.

Quote:
The image of foreign cosplayers and their behavior at Japanese events is a little... errr... unpleasant right now >.< But if you try to do it by the book and make an extra effort to let people know you want to talk to them (and can), people will be surprised and extremely welcoming.
So that's why I've been rejected when I asked if I could join certain cosplay groups! If you don't mind me asking, have there been many incidents of obnoxious behavior by foreign cosplayers? To be honest, I was disappointed when I was rejected by two cosplay groups just because I was a foreigner, and I've always wanted to know why. One of the reasons I suspected was the language barrier. kiratsukai and lilypad114, you're right when you said that knowing Japanese is a plus. Despite the uneasiness that some of them feel towards foreigners, some of them do respond warmly when you make small talk with them. I myself have had the pleasure of talking with a few cosplayers when I was wandering alone. Strifehart, even if you're only just beginning to learn Nihongo, I think that maybe smiles and friendly gestures might still be helpful.

Quote:
and don`t be shocked if someone gets your info and then never contacts you (sometimes it's only for show).
*sigh* Before I came here, I had a really idealistic, romantic view of the Japanese cosplay community. As much as I like the Japanese cosplay scene, I've had my share of disappointments. Out of all the people I've given my cosplay meishi to, only one has ever contacted me.

Anyway, Strifehart, good luck and have fun cosplaying in Japan!
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:07 AM   #7
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kiratsukai sorry, when you said that Strifeheart would have to travel south to shop I was really surprised. I don't know the kansai scene well so it may have more quality goods but besides a very location specific photo shoot I can't think of anything you would have to leave Tokyo to do/buy. Also, there is way more choice than just convention center or shopping mall for photo shoots. The event I recommended is at a small amusement park that isn't very crowded. If you're only looking at things in the downtown area, yeah, places for shoots may be limited, but the greater Tokyo area also has some amazing, not so busy places.

Also, I know its not necessarily about announcing oneself. I ohaiyo and otsukare everyday for work. But still, I've honestly never heard anyone do this at any cosplay event I've attended (or I would be doing it too). I also tend to gravitate towards slightly larger events, so maybe its a small event kinda thing? Usually people are too busy focusing on getting ready to pay much attention to who is coming and going.


And crystaltiara, you are definitaly not alone in feeling weird about cosplaying alone. You'll notice that practically no Japanese cosplayers go alone and even the ones that do cosplay alone tend to come with a photographer. When I have to attend an event alone, I usually end up just going to take photos rather than cosplaying. Because if no one is coming up to take your photo (which is rare) then all you have left to do is take pictures of others if you don't have a friend to hang out with.

Also, I too am curious about where the negative attitude towards foreign cosplayers comes from. I myself haven't really experienced any negativity, usually just curiosity and a few giggles on occasion, but I also don't go to events to make friends or try to join any groups though I wouldn't be opposed to doing so.
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Last edited by mixaka : 01-05-2010 at 06:14 AM.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 06:50 AM   #8
kiratsukai
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystaltiara View Post
If you don't mind me asking, have there been many incidents of obnoxious behavior by foreign cosplayers? To be honest, I was disappointed when I was rejected by two cosplay groups just because I was a foreigner, and I've always wanted to know why.
I don't think there have been any high-profile or particularly shocking cases of bad foreigner-behavior in cosplay. But general stereotypes of foreigners can mix with our own misunderstanding or unwillingness to follow the rules to cause some bad blood. Some foreigners show up at events already in costume, conduct themselves in an overly forward manner, take photos without permission and/or post them on the internet without consent or credit. Inability to speak the primary (and usually only) language of the event can make those around you just as uncomfortable as it makes you. Things that we take for granted as acceptable back home are major breeches of conduct here and every little thing can be seized upon by someone who already dislikes foreigners to dislike them even more.

Very rarely will someone openly confront or reject you for neglecting the rules. You may be totally unaware that you've made a poor impression or broken any rules at all.

Very few people stay up biting their nails over their hatred of evil-foreigners, but if you're keen for acceptance, it can makes for a quiet form of discrimination that can be tough to penetrate.

*There are issues with "foreign" fandom on a larger scale which can contribute to some potentially shocking rejections or negativity, especially online ~> scanning and auctioning doujinshi, bringing mainstream international attention to pornographic subcultures (lolicon and shotacon), snatching/reposting fanart and photographs without permission, reposting NicoNico Douga videos on Youtube without permission, purchasing of secondhand anime/manga/doujinshi items in bulk to sell overseas at cons driving up domestic prices, and a general feeling of the overseas fandom being largely parasitic of the Japanese one.

I've mediated some unpleasant discussions about a few of these topics which lead me to believe neither fandom will ever totally "get" the other one (or really make much of an effort to). Luckily, the number of people concerned enough with the particulars of fandom to harbor grudges over any the above are relatively few. It can be awkward though... and in very rare cases, can cause someone to refuse to sell something, allow you to access their website or admit you to a group on account of your nationality.

I wouldn't let it get you down.

Last edited by kiratsukai : 01-05-2010 at 07:06 AM.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 04:26 PM   #9
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Hm... well that JCF seems like a good place to start... except I can't figure out the instructions for ordering your ticket >.< For that matter I'm not really sure where Toshimaen is.

The advice on all the customs of Japan is a nice refresher. While I was raised in a very respectful manner, it seems most 'don'ts' of Japanese culture come naturally to me. On the other hand I've noticed a few things I never would have guessed as cultural taboo. (Oh and I understand they aren't 'conventions' It's just habit to call them that.)

Honestly, until I can speak Japanese a little more fluently, and am more comfortable with things like getting around, I wouldn't really bother with cosplay, and maybe just show up to look around and see how things work.
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Unread 01-05-2010, 11:17 PM   #10
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While you can pre-order tickets to the event online, it isn't necessary. You can also register and pay when you arrive at the event. So if you can't figure out the online pre-sale form, don't worry about it. If you just want to check things out you have a few options. The event is held at an amusement park, so you can just go, pay for a ticket to the park and ride rides while checking out the cosplayers. If you want to take any pictures though, you will have to register for the cosplay event and pay both the registration fee and photo taking fee. Do not start taking pictures of the cosplayers if you haven't registered as a photographer. It's also helpful to have and introduction card, especially if you have a website where you will want to post the pictures online.

As for the location....did you try Google at all? One of the top results would tell you that there is a Toshimaen train station that sits pretty much right in front of the Toshimaen amusement park. If you need help figuring out how to get from your local station to Toshimaen station you can use hyperdia.com to look up the train route and timetable in English.
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Unread 01-06-2010, 08:22 AM   #11
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Hunh okay actually all that sounds like a REALLY good way to introduce myself into Japanese cosplaying. Good way to lay low, since it's at a theme park. Either way I do believe I'll attend that... unless I'm working...
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Unread 01-08-2010, 06:26 AM   #12
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Very few people stay up biting their nails over their hatred of evil-foreigners, but if you're keen for acceptance, it can makes for a quiet form of discrimination that can be tough to penetrate.
Indeed; I find that it's harder to penetrate the Japanese cosplay community. It's as if there are so many unwritten rules that govern the Japanese cosplay scene. As a result, even though I enjoy cosplaying here, I sometimes feel awkward, as if I don't quite belong. Still, I understand that this is due to cultural differences, and that's why I've been doing my best to understand the Japanese cosplay community.

Also, Strifehart, what do you think of attending the Jan. 16 cosplay event at Tokyo Dome? Tokyo Dome is an open-air place; there are shops, a wide, park-like space and even rides such as roller coasters around the area. In a few days' time, I'll let you know whether I'm attending or not. I'm kind of shy and awkward, and I'm not good at showing people around, but maybe I could help you somehow.
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Unread 01-08-2010, 08:16 AM   #13
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Oh I SHOULD be able to go. Where is the Tokyo dome in relation to the JR line that circles tokyo? I wouldn't have a cosplay ready by then, but I'd certainly like to look around. Oh and how much will it cost?

As for being shy and awkward, I am too. But I've been in this country for going on three weeks, and I haven't spoken with a single human aside from ordering food, and BEING ordered. So I'm pretty ready to make a friend T.T

All my online contact information is on my profile. So if you wouldn't mind talking about the details with me, I'd appreciate it.
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Unread 01-08-2010, 08:49 AM   #14
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You can't go to Tokyo Dome via Yamanote Line. However, Korakuen Station on the Marunouchi Line leads directly to Tokyo Dome. Here's the website lilypad114 was talking about; it's really useful for knowing how to go to a certain station: http://www.hyperdia.com/

Just type in the station you'll be coming from and enter "Korakuen" in the "to" part.

For this event, it costs 1600 yen if you buy a ticket in advance, 3000 yen if you buy a two-day ticket (this event is until the 17th) and 2000 yen a day if you buy an on-site ticket. But since this event is held in an open area, I think it should be okay if you don't pay anything and just look around. You just can't enter the hall where the cosplayers change. Some stage events (e.g. guest appearances by voice actors) are also held in that hall, but if you're not really interested in seeing those, then I don't think you need to buy a ticket.

Still unsure about going, but I really want to go to this event!

Last edited by crystaltiara : 01-08-2010 at 11:03 PM.
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Unread 01-08-2010, 09:57 PM   #15
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Hm... yeah maybe I'll just go to look around. Sounds good, I guess I'll put it on my calendar. Oh but I said in relation to the Yamanote line. In this case It's just one train from the Tokyo station (which the yamanote line stops at)

Last edited by Strifehart : 01-08-2010 at 10:02 PM.
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