On Friday July 3rd one of my dreams came true: I went to the Japan Expo! The Japan Expo is the biggest Japan-related convention in the world (outside of Japan). Last year’s edition welcomed around 240.000 people! I’ve been wanting to go to the Japan Expo for about six years already, but things always came up and I never got the chance to go. This year I wasn’t supposed to go either actually. A big Tea Party called ‘Doll Classica’ was planned with model Midori as a special guest. I was really on the brink of ordering tickets for Iris and myself when it was announced that Midori couldn’t attend anymore because she was ill! She made a heart-breaking video in which she said how sad she was she couldn’t come, almost crying. :(
Even though I love Tea Parties, the main reason I wanted to attend was to see Midori again, so when it was announced she wasn’t coming anymore, Iris and I decided to go to the Japan Expo instead. So in the end we had a fun day planned after all!
Iris and I met up around 10.15 am, got her some breakfast and then went on our way to Gare du Nord, from where we took the train to Parc des Expositions. It was quite warm already, so I was grateful I had brought my fan along (he really become my best friend during these heat wave days). We were sitting opposite a cool cosplayer and arrived around 12 pm. There were a lot of anime posters around the stations, which I thought was really cool!
Two of the posters we encountered along the way.
We followed the stream of people around a big building and soon found ourselves in a giant hall. Our bags were checked (well, “checked” the French way) and we entered a second giant hall with lots of gates and fences. Iris and I both had a one day ticket and we were quite lucky with them, because the line for four day tickets was really full, while we got to walk on easily. Finally, in the next hall our tickets were scanned and we were in! Of course, the Japan Expo opened at 9 am already and we arrived later, that probably made a real difference! ^^
Lovely Iris in front of the Japan Expo welcome sign.
We entered the official Expo and there were so many people! There was also a lot of noise of a concert happening close by and there were stands everywhere! For a moment I was so overwhelmed. I could hardly believe I was finally there! We had no idea where to go first, so we decided to go left.
I’m sorry for the not so great picture, but it’s the only one I have from our entrance so I put it in anyway. ^^
I must honestly say, I came terribly unprepared: the only things I knew were that I wanted to visit the ‘Jeunes Créateurs’ (‘young designers’) part and that my favourite cosplayer Reika would be attending. I have met her before at the Japan Tag in Düsseldorf, but if it were possible I wanted to meet her again. ^^ Other than that, I had no idea about the layout of the convention, performances or guests whatsoever. But to be honest: I quite liked it that way. There was no pressure of having to be at a certain point at a certain time, which was
We went left and tried to stay away from the stage where a band was playing super loudly, when we suddenly waked into a big wall indicating we had reached the ‘Hiromu Arakawa exhibition’. Hiromu Arakawa happens to be my absolute favourite manga artist, because she is the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, the greatest manga ever created (in my humble opinion of course).
The Hiromu Arakawa exhibition.
The exhibition was small with art work, manga panels and a big transmutation circle in the middle where you could take pictures. I didn’t look at everything, but just being there made me so happy! ^^
I’m in a picture with Edward Elric! *o* Also, transmuting~!
We walked on and were a bit at a loss of where we were (we couldn’t find a portable map) when I spotted the rainbow-coloured NHK booth! We were attracted by the amazing colours and were greeted by my friends, the always cool looking Aliénor and Funassyi personification Sandra. They offered us to take pictures in front of the colourful background of the booth with their amazing pancake hat and crusty crown props (they looked so real)!
Lovely Sandra and Aliénor and Iris and I with our amazing headwear. ♥
It was really nice talking to the two girls again. It’s always great to talk to people off Facebook once in a while, haha! x)
Don’t the hat and crown look truly edible? It’s quite amazing!
Iris and I walked on and accidentally ended up in the Jeunes Créateurs area, the part we were looking for. We actually spent most of our time there during the day I think, haha!
The Jeunes Créateurs area.
Iris and I decided to walk past each and every stall in a certain pattern, but often got distracted. We did see every stall in the end though, go us! There were so many amazing stalls and they sold the most varying things. There were super pink stalls selling adorable jewelry, steam punk stalls, stalls selling replicas (I saw the most horrific Victorian Maiden replicas I have ever seen) and so much more! I was most drawn by the pastel-coloured stalls of course, but I enjoyed every stall!
Some close ups of different stalls at the Jeunes Créateurs area.
I was planning on buying some accessories and I certainly had a hard time choosing! I am already not the best at choosing, but there were so many amazing stalls and goods it’s really no wonder! So I told myself to first check out all the stalls and later return to pick some things to buy. ^^ Although there was one stall I already knew I would return to for sure: Moon Bunny! I have loved their accessories for a long time already and I was very happy I got to see them in real life at La Vie en Rose in February. I was definitely planning on returning to their fabulous stall. ☆
Moon Bunny~! ♥
There was another stall I was looking for for another reason. A couple of days before I left for Paris, I discovered I had won a giveaway by the lovely shop of Les Bijoux de Sharuru, which makes adorable little decorated boxes! Lucky me! *o* I soon found the stall and had, again, a hard time choosing my prize. Eventually I chose a really cute one, you can see it at the end of this post. Also, the owner of the shop is looked so cool! She had combined Lolita with… well, awesomeness and it looked so sweet!
Les Bijoux de Sharuru and its adorable owner. ♥
I was happy to also walk into some familiar faces at the Japan Expo! I didn’t take many pictures of people and especially not from people I don’t know. *sigh* But I did take some pictures of (Facebook)friends. ^^
Lovely Rehem at her stand, Anastassia and Rosie looking adorable, Shimi super cute as Pusheen and Yuma looking charming. ♥
After we had seen all the stalls, we decided to explore a bit more of the Japan Expo. We started walking around again when suddenly, we heard oud drums in the distance. Naturally, we got curious and went to take a look. We ended up at a stage with a big audience, where a group of drummers/performers was doing a show. I only learned their name later, but they are called ‘Takarabune’ and they were amazing! They drummed, danced, jumped, did goofy slapstick acts, it was hilarious and wonderful. At first Iris and I watched from a distance, but eventually we sat down on empty chairs as well. The picture below nor the video at the end of this post do this group justice, they were incredible!
The amazing members of the Takarabune group.
The blonde guy, called Takashi, was my absolute favourite, but really every member was super energetic and fun. I wish I could have seen the entire performance! *o*
After the performance, we went to look for Reika. We didn’t really know where to go, so we asked at a stand and a super friendly girl went to show us. Unfortunately, Reika was just out for food, so we went to the toilets to get freshened up (heat wave remember?) and sat down near her booth to eat some food ourselves.
We hadn’t sat down for very long wen suddenly, Reika returned (with food) and we were second in line to meet her! Poor girl, she had to eat in between people. I would have left her alone if she didn’t jump up to meet her fans again. ^^
I am so happy I got to meet my dear Reika again! I cannot believe my luck. ♫
After the meeting we went outside in the courtyard for some fresh air. It was so hot in the sun, people were really crammed into the shaded corners. But it was quite pleasant in the shade indeed, so I understood why. XD
People in the courtyard of the Japan Expo.
We went inside again and aimlessly walked around some more. We passed several interesting stands that promoted the most varying things. The only conventions I’ve been to are nothing like the Japan Expo: always aimed at anime and manga fans and the occasional fashion lovers. This convention celebrated everything about Japanese culture. Of course it was to be expected from the biggest Japan-related convention, but still. It was so amazing to see.
We passed a stand promoting a site to support your favourite idols and they let you take pictures with cute frames, so well… why not? ♥
Aren’t we adorable? XD
I wish I could remember all the amazing things and stands we passed, but frankly my brain doesn’t have the space for it. It was just too much to process. So many wonderful goodies, people, stalls. My memory has just given up on certain parts. However, I do remember this traditional singer a shamisen and singing in a fabulous dress!
We didn’t stay long for her performance, but she was quite good. ^^
Coincidentally, here we walked into the cosplayer we had met in the train. That I do remember. Oh brain.
Iris and I decided to head back to the Jeunes Créateurs area and just walk around. We went to the Summer Tales Boutique stall, owned by my friend Katie, who happened to be present there now (when we went there an hour earlier, she was just walking around). The STB stall looked cute as ever and it was really nice talking to Katie and her team. They all looked fabulous~! ☆
Team Summer Tales Boutique represent!
I fell head over heels in love with Katie amazing magical girl-like moon necklace and she was super kind to show me where she got it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it anymore in a colour I liked, but it was nice sending a little time with Katie and just talking about… well stuff. ;)
We returned to the Jeunes Céateurs area, where we revisited as many of the stalls as we could. We also stumbled upon the Axes Femme stall, where they had the most amazingclothing. God I love this brand so much, it’s like casual Lolita heaven! They had some gorgeous skirts, even more gorgeous blouses, lots of jewelry and the shop girls looked stunning! We also got to talk to a nice man who was the owner I think? He was very happy to hear I love the brand and I promised him that if I ever return to Japan I will definitely visit one of their shops there!
Doesn’t the Axes Femme shop girl look amazing? This brand is so wonderful…
By this time, I finally decided it was shopping time! So I went back to the Moon Bunny stall and ought an adorable set of melty moon earrings and an adorable cookie-like hear clip. You can see my purchases at the end of this post. I also visited another one of my favourite stalls: Jule et Lily. This adorable couple makes amazing jewelry by laser cut (is that what you call it?) and I really wanted to go back an buy something from tem. Their adorable shell necklaces had caught my eye earlier (I am really into shells these days), but somehow they were just a tad too big for me… Until I suddenly realised that just to the right of them were shell necklaces one size smaller and they were just perfect! After some doubting about the colour, I went with the iridescent white shell. I still can’t believe I found that amazing necklace. I absolutely adore it! Thank you so much Jule et Lily, you are amazing! ♥
Adorable Jule et Lily at their wonderful stall. ♥
Suddenly, while browsing, we walked into sweet Anastassia again and she excitedly asked if we were coming to the NHK booth too to meet Rinrin. Excuse us!? *o* We knew Rinrin was in Paris, since there would be a special meeting the next day with her at crêperie Princess Crepe, but we didn’t know she would be at Japan Expo that day as well!? Iris and I quickly followed Anastassia (after she had fangirled over a video of her favourite band first. XD) and arrived at the NHK booth. There, a big, life-size Domo-kun was present and not long after fairy-like Rinrin appeared indeed! Thank you so much for telling, Anastassia darling. ;_; ♥
There she was, Rinrin, in all her pastelly adorable glory! ~♥~!
Rinrin was filming for NHK Kawaii International, so there were camera people present, which was really cool! First, we were asked if we had any questions for her (we had to come up with questions real quick, haha). At first, a translator was present, but since Rinrin speaks perfect English and we, the audience, were pretty ok with it as well, she quickly switched to us personally.
Rinrin was wearing Angelic Pretty’s Cherry Marguerite, which suited her so well! ♥
It wasn’t very clear to us what the Kawaii International crew had planned, but we were happy when it turned out we could all approach Rinrin separately, talk to her and take pictures! The camera crew pretty much just filmed things without interfering, which was really nice.
Everyone got their moment to talk and take pictures with Rinrin.
All the girls around me were very excited to meet Rinrin, who is an idol to many. No one could deny that she is just so super cute! Plus, everyone around me looked super cute as well. I nearly felt underdressed in my ‘normal’ clothes! x)
It was Iris’s turn and it didn’t take long before she started crying while talking to Rinrin because she was so happy to meet her. I don’t remember what was said back and forth again, plus it was quite noisy so I didn’t catch everything. However, I thought to myself: ‘For once I am not going to cry. I have no reason to cry so I won’t.’ When it was my turn, I approached Rinrin and we talked for a bit (did I mention she’s super sweet?). I don’t remember what was said in which order, but it was a lovely talk. ♥ I cannot really describe how I felt during the meeting, but I was just so overly happy! Rinrin said she really liked my outfit and I told her that she was my inspiration to start growing my hair out again. ‘Ah, will you dye it as well?’ she asked me very enthusiastically. ‘No I won’t,’ I said a bit too fast, because ever since I said that I suddenly have the incredible need to dye the tips of my hair a bright colour.
At a certain point I told her we had met before and asked whether she remembered me. I never expected her to, she meets so many people. But then she said: ‘Ah yes I do, from the Kawaii Event in the Netherlands!’ So yeah, then the tabs opened and my tears started rolling like crazy! I was just so, SO happy she remembered me! I sometimes feel so unimportant and meaningless, so when someone like her remembers and recognizes me means a lot. (Also, the cameras happily zoomed in on my cry face. Who knows what we will see in the newest Kawaii International episode..?)
Rinrin took selfies and snap chats with everyone, resulting into this picture I really like! ☆
Later she told me she always notices my comments on her Facebook statuses and how they make her happy, causing a second literal wave to flow down my cheeks. Oh yes, telling myself not to cry worked really well. XD
Being filmed, drying my tears and hugging Rinrin. ;_; ♥
Rinrinreally is just so kind and sweet and amazing. I have met Rinrin before and I know she is very sweet, but somehow I had forgotten just how sweet she really is. Not only does she look impeccable and amazing, she is also really kind to her fans and compliments everyone on the smallest details. She truly is a role model and I hope every Lolita gets the chance to meet her at some point in their Lolita career.
More pictures with Rinrin because I love her. ♥
We also took a group picture which I am going to share with you too, because I didn’t share enough colourful pictures yet! ^^ I do look slightly overheated in my opinion, but since we were still experiencing a heat wave I can forgive myself. ;)
Group picture with Rinrin~!
At a certain point, Rinrin had disappeared like a ninja, while Iris and I were talking with Aliénor and Sandra. Rinrin has said something odd: the fashion walk organised by Angelic Pretty on Sunday was supposed to be cancelled and a new one was scheduled at the Japan Expo instead? It seemed a bit strange and no one knew about it, so we were determined to find out about it the next day.
The rest of the time we spent at the Japan Expo is a bit of a blur. I bought the last things I wanted while Iris went on a hunt for tights (which she ended up not finding). I had hoped we would be able to leave before the closing of the Japan Expo at 6 pm, but we unfortunately took too much time, causing us to leave with the big crowd of congoers. We did end up leaving at the same time as Rinrin, so we said goodbye and ‘See you tomorrow!’
Leaving Japan Expo.
Once we got outside, we got hit in the face by the remaining heat. Iris put her shoes back on (she had walked around barefoot most of the day because her feet hurt) and we headed towards the station.
Bye bye Japan Expo! See you next year..
Unfortunately, it soon became clear we had a problem. The station was super crowded and the line to buy train tickets was incredibly long. We had forgotten to buy two way train tickets and I wasn’t very keen on standing in line for hours, while my fatigue was catching up on me and I felt so hot… I could feel tears stinging behind my eyes, so I said to Iris: ‘Follow me, I have a plan.’ We walked into the station, holding our one way train tickets in hand. We walked up to the ticket gates, where staff members made sure everything went smoothly. What I did then is something I am not really proud of and is something I never do, but in this case I deemed it necessary since I was feeling worse and worse. I pushed my ticket in the slot and, of course, it came back out. I pretended I didn’t understand what was going on and the man behind the gate took my ticket from me. He started explaining in French why the ticket didn’t work, so I asked him for English and he stated over, saying: ‘This ticket has already been validated.’ ‘Ah it isn’t a retour ticket?’ ‘No, it’s already been validated.’ ‘But I thought I had bought a retour ticket!’ It was crowded and hot in the station, so the tears immediately came up. The man looked up at me and asked: ‘Why are you crying?’ ‘Because I am tired and hot and I don’t know what to do,’ I said, crying even more. Then the incredibly kind man ushered me to a side gate and let Iris and me through without a ticket. I must have looked like I was about to pass out or something, auch! I thanked the man wholeheartedly, dried my tears, and we could walk on to the train! Like I said, I am not proud of what I’ve done, but I think it was a good choice.
After that, we had to get through a train ride from hell (people crammed into a sauna train for 30 minutes. I sweat in places I didn’t know could sweat, ew) and finally we arrived back in Paris. Iris went back to her hotel and would call a couple of friends to have dinner with, while all I wanted was a cold shower. I was really happy to see Marina again and we exchanged our adventures of the day.
I wasn’t really planning on eating anything fancy, but eventually Marina came up with the plan to check out this new buffet restaurant just down the street. Best idea ever! *_* The restaurant had a (slightly weird but very interesting) Asian buffet plus some… non-Asian things like French fries (hey, we’re in France I guess) and the food was so good!
The interesting buffet consisting of sushi, rice, meat in sauce and other things.
I am still not sure whether the food was so good because we were hungry or because the food was genuinely good, but the evening was great. ^^ Marina and I talked so much and it was really nice. ♥ I really cherish that moment.
After dinner we went back to Marina’s apartment, talked some more and then went to sleep. The following day would be a busy one and we needed our rest, but the day had been super fun!
I am so happy I finally got to visit the Japan Expo! Looking back at other people’s pictures there’s a lot I didn’t see, but I don’t mind at all. I had a fun day. And that’s what counts. ^^ I hope to go again, maybe next year?
Purchases and gifts of the day
And to end this post with, here is the video I made about out Japan Expo adventure! Do check it out if you have the time please! ^^ I hope you like this video! More to come~!
Thank you for reading! ~☆~