Sunday, November 27, 2016

Paris ‘16, Day 4 – Japan Expo 2016

I am sooo slow with these blog posts, I am so sorry! >___<
Life is just getting in the way, but I’ll do my best!

On Sunday July 10th we woke up excitedly again, since this was the day we had planned to go to the Japan Expo! Well, to be honest, it was our second choice to go to the Japan Expo. Initially, my mom and I had wanted to visit the convention on Friday, but only on that day did the musical group Takarabune I really wanted to see not perform. They did perform on all the other days and since Sunday was our only possibility out of three options, my mom was okay with going on Sunday. Speaking of my mom: going to the Japan Expo was more her idea than mine, believe it or not! Before we went to Paris, she literally said to me: ‘I am going to the Japan Expo, with or without you!’ Well okay. XD
We had breakfast at McDonald’s again (where I discovered that the ‘Banania’ drink was in fact chocolate milk and not a banana drink, hallelujah!) and then collected our things. Then we went on our way to find the right platform.
After asking someone and following some cosplayers, we soon found the right train platform. Unfortunately, the train we needed to board just departed, so we decided to sit down on the stairs and wait for the next one. The station was quite crowded and only got more busy, but luckily there was a really cool guy doing amazing tricks with a glass ball that distracted us. Finally, our train arrived and I almost jumped in so that I could secure a seat for my mom. I was glad I had done so, since the train was already quite full. But at least my mom had a seat. ^^ Later some kids moved, so I could sit too.
Coincidentally and luckily so, this train drove directly to Parc des Expositions, where the Japan Expo took place. That was so great! *o*
When we arrived, the station flooded with people, both dressed up and not.

Japan Expo Arrival
Arrival at station Parc des Expositions

We followed the stream of people and passed the big sign saying ‘welcome’ I had seen the year before too. We climbed some stairs and while I was waiting for my mom, I suddenly spotted two beautiful Lolitas among the crowd. One of them turned out to be Lunie! Somehow we seem to meet at unexpected times and places. x)
Together with Lunie we walked around the building and into the first hall. The year before I had already learned that getting to the actual Expo, it takes a few halls of walking before you’re there. We walked and walked along fences and gates, had our bags checked and finally arrived in the ticket hall. If you already had tickets you had to go left, but since we didn’t (*sigh*) we went right.

Arrows in the Air
Directions to the right ticket lines.

Lunie didn’t have tickets either, so we continued together. I got a bit worried, since in the distance I spotted a huge line of people. I hoped we didn’t have to stand in that line… We continued our way along the gates for what seemed miles. I got a bit worried since my mom had to be careful with her energy. Luckily, I soon realised the line I had spotted wasn’t ours. It was meant for people who didn’t have a ticket and wanted to pay by card, while we wanted to pay cash. Finally, we arrived at the end of all the gates and we could immediately walk to the nearest booth and buy our tickets, no line whatsoever! So if you ever go to Japan Expo without buying a ticket upfront: pay by cash!

My mom shamelessly using Lunie’s dress as a nice background for our tickets. 8D

Finally, we could continue our journey to the actual Expo. We had to walk for a bit more, but at least now we had our tickets! Soon we had them checked and we entered the Japan Expo~!

Big welcome posters everywhere

Lunie had to go find her friends, so we said goodbye. But not before I took a picture with her! She looked amazing and I felt happy we matched a bit, haha!

With Lunie
With lovely Lunie, who always looks amazing! ♥

At first I felt very disorientated. The year before we entered the hall from a different side and I had no idea where we currently were. Luckily people were handing out maps and after I took some time I finally found out where we were. I suggested to my mom we’d go and find the ‘Young Creators’ area first and just look around for a bit while we did so, to which she said yes. My mom was a bit overwhelmed I think!
We passed several amazing booths, mainly focused on anime and games. I had completely missed out on this hall during the previous Japan Expo edition somehow, so walking around there was quite nice. We passed a Square Enix booth and the new Attack on Titan game looked amazing! Suddenly, without expecting it, we walked into the Sailor Moon booth! I had seen some posts floating around on Facebook about the amazing products this booth was supposed to be selling, so I was eager to return later.
Finally, after shuffling through the crowds, we arrived in the other hall (the one I actually recognized). We passed some lovely stalls and exhibitions, one of them having a beautiful poster accompanying it. I couldn’t resist taking a picture with it. ♥

Pretending I have a bird resting on my hand as well.

My mom and I walked on and entered the Young Creators area. One of the first stalls we encountered was Summer Tales Boutique! I was happy to talk to Katie and her boyfriend for a bit and fantasizing about buying one of the big Pomeranian plushies (they’re just
too cute)! ♥

Summer Tales Boutique
‘Le boyfriendo’ managing the stall. Check out the Pom plushies! ;_;

My mom and I walked on and explored the Young Creators area. There were a lot of amazing stalls and we took our time to look at all the goods. The most varying goods were being sold, form traditional-themed jewelry to kawaii and colourful accessories. Naturally, the latter has my preference. ^^

Some of the things we spotted at different stalls.

I also walked into some familiar faces! I was happy to see Marissa again (who, as always, looks amazing in every style) and to finally meet Mew Fairydoll! So many times we were hoping to meet, but we always ended up missing each other. Now we finally met! I was so happy! ♥

With Marlessa and Mew
With Marissa and Mew Fairydoll. ♥

We also walked into a stall that had the biggest collection of plushies. They even had some Gudetamas! Too cute! I still regret not buying Gudetama-related goods in Japan last year…
We arrived back at Katie’s stall and while I chatted for a bit, my mom told me to stay there while she went to check something out.


Suddenly, my mom returned with a little gift for me! She had bought me the cutest plush Gudetama key chain. ‘Because you really need something Gudetama!’ she said. She is so sweet (and funny)! XD
We walked on and decided to have a seat somewhere and eat some candy. We were a bit tired, so we needed some rest. We had noticed by the way that despite the heat outside inside it was pretty ok! Apparently the air conditioning was working really well that year. XD Great!
After some people watching, my mom and I started moving again, passing the area dedicated to the anime Fairy Tail. Soon we found the NHK Kawaii International booth. It was quite hard to overlook, since it was bright and colourful. There was a tv showing happy girls jumping to music and people were crafting at a table. I knew the famous 6% Dokidoki designer, Sebastian Masuda, would come and meet people, but that would be at 2:30 pm, which would take while, so we decided to come back later. However, my mom and I did have our picture taken with the pancake hat and cookie crown they had brought to the same booth last year. However, I promised not to post the picture, sorry! XD
We decided to visit the Sanrio area: a small square surrounded by fences with areas dedicated to different Sanrio characters. At the entrance I received a paper Gudetama hat, it was so cute! (Actually I ended up losing it, but I went back and got a new one later).

Gudetama Hat
Do you like my special Gudetama hat?

We entered the area and looked around for a bit. There was a little temple dedicated to Gudetama and there were trees filled with Hello Kitty bows, where you could leave a special message.

Bows in Trees
Taking pictures of the bow trees.

We also had our picture taken while wearing special (and huge) Hello Kitty bows, but I promised my mom not to post those. XD We left the area and continued our way. I spotted a picture of the world famous painting ‘The Birth of Venus’ in Gudetama style while we left. It was amazing. XD
We walked around for a bit, past several stalls, when I suddenly spotted a colourful sign saying ‘6% Dokidoki’! We decided to check it out and it turned out that there were several 6% Dokidoki items for sale! And to my great happiness they had the bright pink heart ring for sale I had been hoping to find in Japan during our last trip, but thy were out of stock for that particular colour. And here they had multiple pieces! I ended up with the ring I wanted, a matching glitter bow and another glittery bow and aqua. I was very happy! ♥

Doki Items
6% Dokidoki items for sale! ☆

My mom and I sat down in a corner for a while and did some people watching. Many, many people passed us. Some in cosplay, most not.
After a while, when we just felt better, some amazing Sith cosplayers (including Kylo Ren aaah) passed us by and I ended up asking them for a picture! That was fun. ^^
We decided to check out the more ‘traditional Japanese’ stalls. Unfortunately, they weren’t as nice as last year’s, but it was fun anyway. Suddenly, I noticed two of the band members of Takarabune appear and walking up to their stand! I was so happy to see them and talk to them for a bit. We also took a picture together! So happy. ;___;

Toma and Wataru
With Takarabune’s Toma and Wataru. ♥

I told Toma and Wataru I would be coming to their show and they were very happy to hear. It got me even more excited to see them perform!
By then it was time to head back to the Kawaii International booth and meet with Sebastian Masuda. When we arrived, he was indeed there! It’s always so amazing and a little strange to see someone you’ve only seen on the internet suddenly in real life!

Masuda Interview
Sebastian Masuda and a translator interviewing a girl at the Kawaii.i booth.

There was a crew of people filming people and holding interviews. Masuda-san had brought a small time capsule of Domo-kun with him and you could craft something at the big table at the booth to put in it later. I didn’t feel up for it, but some people I knew were busy crafting pretty things. ^^
There was a line of people to take a picture with Sebastian Masuda, so I joined. When it was my turn, we took a picture together and I told him I am a big fan of his brand. ^^ Masuda-san seemed a little shy, but he was very nice.

With Sebastian Masuda
With Sebastian Masuda and Domo-kun~! ☆

My friend Vief was also in line to have her picture taken, so I waited for a bit and then we had a chance to chat. It was lovely to see her again and she looked lovely in her jellyfish outfit. ♥

With Vief
Doesn’t Vief look a-ma-zing!? ♥

Then my mom and I went on to the Sailor Moon booth! Yaaay, finally! I bet you were waiting for this! 8D And if you weren’t… Well ok. XD
My mom and I returned to the Sailor Moon booth to look at all the pretty goods being sold there. Facebook had prepared me for awesomeness, but it hadn’t prepared me for this much awesomeness! Warning: picture flood ahead, because I loved this booth!
The Sailor Moon booth consisted of two parts. The left part was the boutique part, consisting of a line, several check outs and glass cabinets displaying the goods for sale, all carefully watched by a giant Sailor Moon at the bright pink back wall.

Sailor Moon Boutique
The Sailor Moon Boutique.

The right part was called ‘The Sailor Moon Beauty Bar’, where you could get your make up done by staff members using the products sold in the shop. They gave all the clients the classic Sailor Moon look. I even spotted a guy getting his make up done!

Sailor Moon Beauty Bar
The Sailor Moon Beauty Bar.

In the middle of the two booths you could have your picture taken with an actual Sailor Moon! A girl dressed as the famous character walked around and took pictures with whomever wanted, it was amazing!
Both parts of the booth were beautifully illuminated by a spinning disco ball and it was clearly a popular place, since there were always people in line.
I was super excited and ready to start shopping! I admit that I have never seen one episode of Sailor Moon (I did read some of the manga, in French – lol what), but I am a big fan of the merchandise. Everything is so beautiful and I am a sucker for pretty compact mirrors and boxes that contain hidden treasures, so this was right up my alley! I believe I had already received a catalogue of the booth at the start of the day, so my mom and I put it on the glass counter so we could take a look at the things we liked a little more quietly.

Glass Case of Sailor Moon
Some of the amazing goods for sale at the Sailor Moon Boutique.

I was immediately sure I wanted a Shining Moon Powder (yes I had to look that up because I had no idea what it’s called), because it was basically the most beautiful make up powder compact mirror I had ever seen! *o* They also offered miniature tablet cases in the shapes of famous items from the series and since they were so cute, I offered my mom to pick one so I could buy it for her. ♥ She chose the Crystal Star (yep, looked that up too), so I went to stand in line.

Sailor Moon Powders
A few of the beautiful make up powders. ♥

When it was my turn, I asked the kind shop lady whether I could see the two different Shining Moon Powders. Apparently one version was newer (and slightly more expensive), but I liked the old version better, so I went with that one. I also asked for two Crystal Star tablet cases because I wanted one as well) and for a Cosmic Heart (also looked that one up) tablet case. That last one seemed to be sold out unfortunately! It was of course the last day of the Japan Expo so it was not surprising, but still a bit sad. But luckily, the shop lady found one for me after all! Lucky me! ♥
She also showed me an apparently exclusive and new extra tablet case for sale (don’t ask me which item it was, I can’t remember), but although it looked nice I thanked her kindly. I went to pay and received some adorable free stickers and a small ribbon that served as a bracelet. Then, I happily left the booth with my awesome pink striped Sailor Moon
shopping bag!
My mom had sat down in the meantime, so I decided to join her for a while. At the some point, a guy with a giant Tubbs from Neko Atsume on his back walked by. It was… quite interesting. x)
When we both felt a little more energized, we got up and I went to take a picture with Sailor Moon (yay)!

With Sailor Moon
I’m in a picture with Sailor Moon, aaah! *o*

By now it was time to head to the stage to see Takarabune perform soon. We had also gotten a bit hungry by now. On the way to the stage, we passed the booth of an idol/girl group? They looked so lovely and were so kind I asked for a picture with them, but I have no idea who they are! *shame* Does anyone know?

Girl Group
I wonder who these cute girls were..?

We passed a stage where a group of singers were hyperactively performing and finally found the stage where Takarabune would perform in some time. There was another music group performing with very serene music and dancers, but sadly for them and us the music of the other group a little further down was far too loud to enjoy it.
My mom and I hadn’t eaten in a long time, so while my mom guarded our seats I went to get some onigiri and some drinks. They were quite expensive, but so good! Maybe we were just very hungry, but well, the taste seemed amazing! ^^

Our delicious onigiri!

Finally, the performance was going to start! I was a little sad we hadn’t managed to get front row seats, but our seats were pretty nice as well. ^^
The show started and I honestly enjoyed it from start to finish. I fell in love with this group the moment I saw them perform during the previous Japan Expo, when my friend and I accidentally walked into them. Later I looked them up online and was hooked, so I felt so grateful I got to see an entire performance done by them!

Takarabune Performing One
Takarabune performing!

But what does Takarabune actually do? It’s hard to describe: they make percussion music, they dance, they act, they’re funny, they’re amazing! Please consider watching the video at the end of this post, as it shows a part of their performance. Maybe it will make you understand why I love them, maybe it won’t. But just know: I think they’re amazing!

Takarabune Performing Two
Takarabune’s Takashi performing a funny skit.

At the end of the performance, everyone who wanted could come up the stage and I decided to just do it! It was fun to be with the group members dancing on stage! No pictures though, I’ll spare you. ;)
After the show it was possible to meet all the members at their own booth. First, I decided to buy a pin that said ‘Takarabune’ and then posed with the members. They’re so amazing, I am so happy I got to meet them!

With Wataru, Shinnosuke, Toma, Megumi and Takashi. ♥

By now it was really time to leave, since the Japan Expo was about to close. My mom and I slowly made our way to the exit, together with a lot of other people. It had been an eventful and amazing day, but now we had to brave the journey home.

Leaving Japan Expo
Bye, bye Japan Expo!

My previous journey home from the Japan Epxo, with my friend, had been an absolute hell (read this blogpost if you want to know more) and I had wanted to avoid it by leaving earlier, but since Takarabune performed quite late we had no choice. But luckily, we already had train tickets thanks to our Navigos, so standing in line was not necessary.
My mom and I arrived at the right platform, I checked again with a staff member (who was being quite sassy, hmpf) and soon the train arrived. I almost jumped into the vehicle to secure a seat for my mom, but… It wasn’t necessary at all? The train wasn’t all that crowded! So my mom and I both ended up with a seat, how amazing is that?
Back at Gare du Nord, we crossed a lot of Portugese soccer supporters and beside being very kind and enthusiastic, a lot of them were very handsome too haha!
Back at our hotel we rested for a bit and then went on our way again, to meet with Marina at restaurant Yummy! Yes again, haha! Marina and I had barely talked and my mom was fine with some catching up between us, which was incredibly nice of her. Thanks mom! ;___; ♥ No pictures though, we just wanted to have dinner peacefully.
The rest of the night was spent watching the soccer finale (France lost sadly, but the Portugese had been so cool and nice we didn’t mind that much, sorry France) and then sleep! It had been an amazing day.

Purchases of the Day
Purchases of the day

And to end this post with, here is the video I made about our adventures at the Japan Expo! I hope you’ll like it!

Thank you for reading! ~☆~