Tuesday, May 21, 2019

J-Popcon 2019

[Cosplay, Convention]

This past weekend I attended J-Popcon!

It's been a while since I last talked about cosplay and cons on this blog so I'll give a quick explanation.
J-Popcon is one of the two biggest anime conventions in Denmark and it is held once a year. Since 2015 my friends and I have been involved in the maid café at J-Popcon and have worked our way up. As of 2018 we became organizers and now run the maid café! Wuuuh!

Because I was busy with my studies and wanted to save up money for my Korea trip, I hadn't thought about cosplaying this year but changed my mind 1 month before the con and put together two low-effort, low-cost cosplays: Earth-chan and the newest internet waifu Black Hole-chan.
If you are interested, you can see progress pictures + explanations HERE and HERE.

These are pictures of just the clothes.

Since they were such light cosplays, I didn't have to pack much.
Everything fit into this sports bag~
The con runs from Friday to Sunday but for organizers and trustees, it already begins Thursday because we have to set up. After class, I met up with my friends to finish the last things needed before tomorrow.
Here we were taking a break. What you see here is the absolute top of J-Popcon's maid café!
From the left to right is Frede, Nio, Isa, Chris, and Jasmin. Frede is our trustee, which is the first step to becoming an organizer like the rest of us. And because we are pretty new to running something this big, we selected Isa to be this year's leader. Next year it'll probably be Nio and Chris sharing the role.
 Last year Jasmin and I cosplayed Rem and Ram from Re:Zero while Nio was Kanna from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. You can actually see us in part costume in this group picture that was taken (while no one was ready!) last year.
Anyways, while we were setting up, Isa handed all 3 of us a unicorn pen in each of our colours that she bought because they reminded her of us. Isa is the best ! ☆ㅅ☆

At 10pm we had to go home, sleep, and come back around 8 Friday morning to finish preparing. The con was supposed to have a gradual opening and we'd prepared for being ready around 1pm. That didn't happen because the rest of the con wasn't ready and in the end we couldn't open before 4pm because the reception wouldn't let anyone in before then.

But it gave me time to take pictures of our café before it was filled up with customers.
Our café is located on the 3rd floor of DGI-byen's CPH Conference building, giving us a nice view of the con and parts of central Copenhagen.
As you could see through the windows, Friday was pretty rainy. Chris and I had to go pick up something from one of the other buildings but at that point it was raining cats and dogs so we borrowed an umbrella from Isa. Little did we know that if you use too much force, the umbrella would turn inside out. I caught this picture the moment we learned this new fact.
Because we'd originally planned to open MUCH earlier, our maids and butlers had all shown up and were able to help us. Here's a super model-like picture of Chris and one of our beloved butlers, Anders, Nio's classmate.

Instead of muffins, which we usually sell, we sold actual cake this year and it was a huuuuge success! So huge that we sold out way too early!
Please enjoy these slightly aesthetic pictures of this year's cakes~
This chocolate cake was actually a last-minute substitute cake for the actual one we ordered. Our supplier knew this but didn't inform us for some reason? Well, we were in luck because this one turned out to be bigger and cheaper than what we originally ordered. It is a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse inside and decorated with white chocolate and sugary hearts, which we made ourselves.
Next was our chocolate and blueberry cake.
And then our salt caramel cake. I can't say much about the blueberry cake since I didn't taste it but this one and the chocolate tasted amazing.
Last is our event cake! It was a raspberry panna cotta that was only served during events and on Sunday when we'd sold out the other cakes.
It had won the price of 'best cake' either last year or a few years prior and was delivered to us on little pieces of golden paperboard.

All of the cakes were prepared by our awesome kitchen team. Usually our maids and butlers rotate between being doormen, kitchen workers, and servers but some of them, like Chris' girlfriend, Karoline, prefered to stay in the kitchen. Karoline was the artistic genius behind the decorated of our cakes.

Here's a couple of snaps of our kitchen. Karoline is the one pictures to the left and Frede, our trustee, is the guy in the middle. He's pretty much in charge of the kitchen while us organizers take care of the rest. He's been a huge help!
A shot from inside the kitchen~

Another new thing this year was that we served onigiri with tuna. We had planned to sell some with eggs inside as well but figured, while testing, that the tools we'd brought to make them were not the right ones. Our egg onigiris fell apart too easily ㅠㅠ
Well, we had to use the already-made eggs for SOMETHING so we called it 'fællesæg' (shared eggs), put in on a plate in the middle of the table, and suggested people put in it their cup noodles for lunch.
We had our cup noodles in the back corner of the café, which we reserved for our maids and butlers to hang out or eat in when they weren't working.
Our butler, Anders, spent a lot of his free time there, working on some school stuff. He joined Joined Jasmin and I for a picture when we sat down to have lunch.
All of our maids and butlers were sponsored food tickets for the curry stand for Saturday and Sunday (us organizers and trustees also had one for Friday).

In the very front of the café we had a "scene" that was used as a background for pictures. The light is really great so a lot of cosplayers like to use it for shoots when we are less busy or while waiting in line. I snapped this for 3 of our maids and it turned out adorable.
Chris took these of Jasmin, Nio, and I, too.
Yet another new thing this year was that we had a board with the maids on duty. We don't allow guests to take pictures inside our café. Instead, they can purchase pictures with our maids/butlers. Usually you could get a picture with the maid or butler assigned to your table but as of this year, we have taken cute polaroid pictures of all of our workers (like the ones below) and hung them on the board. 
Since we were pretty much constantly in the café, us organizers' pictures were on the board as well.
Now customers can select which maid or butler to take pictures with. And if our workers are uncomfortable with having their pictures taken, they are simply not on the board. We also provided animal ear headbands for our guests to dress up with for the pictures and brought glittery pens to decorate them with afterwards. It seemed like a huge success and it also felt pretty good when you were personally requested for a picture.

Here are some of my requested pictures. 
This one was taken Saturday night while I was in cosplay. The girl, Julie, is from Korean Studies but one year below me. She's so sweet and I got so excited that she wanted a picture with me! ㅠ^ㅠ
Nio, Jasmin, and I also took some on Sunday to bring home. The 3 of us in a picture is also a tradition that we observe every year.

So I mentioned events while talking about the cakes... which is ANOTHER new thing this year!
Since this year's J-Popcon theme was Modern Tokyo, we aimed to be more like the actual maid cafés in Tokyo where idol-like maids perform. So we had a team of idol cosplayers come and serve instead of our own maids. When their time was about up, they performed a couple of dances from idol animes as well.

I took this video when we were replacing our maids with idols. It was a quiet moment before the storm.
That, too, was successful and drew a lot of guests to our café. We were completely full during this and also the next event, which were performances by the Danish dance team, Fusion
My friend, Julie, is part of the group! She's the one to the left in the picture below.
This year's con was great also because I met so many friends that I hadn't seen in a long time.
Julie and Jennifer (not pictured) came by the café several times. We met randomly 5 years ago at a B.A.P concert in Düsseldorf!
Jennifer friendly scolded me for not sharing more picture while living in Korea so I promised her to be more active in Instagram and Facebook this time when I go.

We also met 3 of Jasmin's friends from high school, whom I first met 4 years ago at the last SVS con. Every time they came, Jasmin would be their server and almost every time I looked over, they fed her! I have pictorial proof right here!
I believe they came all three days of the con but on Saturday, when I cosplayed as Black Hole-chan, Jasmin told me they didn't recognize me first and had called me pretty behind my back. Aaw.

I guess I did look a bit different from my usual self.
Featuring dangerous Nio dog

Since us organizers are pretty much always in the café and should be available at all times, we don't have shifts like the normal maids and butlers so we kind of just figure out when take take some time off to go to panels or events around the con. The only things Jasmin and I ALWAYS go to are the cosplay shows Saturday and Sunday and the craftsmanship competition.
I didn't get any pictures or videos Saturday but I have these two pictures from the Sunday cosplay show. While the Saturday cosplay show is more serious and the winners will get to join international competitions, the Sunday one is more laid back and funny.
This was one of my favorite performances - they performed the Danish version of Phineas and Ferb's Gichee Gichee Goo.
Another great one was about the five stages of grief featuring Elastigirl and Edna Mode.

The show ended around 8pm, which is also the time that our maid café transforms from our normal café to maid café by night. It just means that there's no serving, their our maids aren't in uniforms anymore, and that we are playing k-pop on the speakers instead of our usual Huniepop and Nekopara theme songs.
This is a time where everything is a bit less formal and we basically just joke around.
While cleaning a bit and preparing for the café Sunday, I found this drawn by our butler, Edward, who often wears a Batman masks and is an absolute pun master.
This is another behind the scene picture of our fan service, based of my lame jokes from last year. The weather was great this year and because of all the windows, it gets super hot in the café so we might sometimes offer fan service to customers although it's mostly something we keep among ourselves.
We took a moment to taste the onigiris in the evening. They were still falling apart so we made them BIGGER.
After the cosplay show, the cosplay team and cosplayers always come to the back corner of our café and have a pizza party. This is another J-Popcon tradition. They ordered a lot and gave the rest to us. Free pizza wooo!
And not more than half an hour later, the stage or cosplay show crew brought up cake for us as well.

Have some selfies taken in bad light Saturday night. These are, sadly, the only pictures I have of my Black Hole-chan cosplay so far. I didn't even have time to cosplay Earth-chan even though the costume was ready but I did wear the wig for it (my Rem wig) Sunday. Don't worry, though! I'll bring both cosplays to Genki in July later this year!

Sunday I didn't take many pictures. I got these in the dressing room when Jasmin crawled into her GIGANTIC pants. The first time I saw it, I screamed in laughter.

During one of the few quiet moments, I saw down in the back corner where Anders had left his bananas with a sign saying to please eat them and hydrate ourselves. He's a good butler. Our team in general is just really great at taking care of each other. The cup noodles we ate Friday were bought by Chris just because.
Time came to cleaning up and closing down this year's café. Our butler, Jonas, came up to me and asked if I knew how to turn off the polaroid camera. He's clicked a buttom and accidentally taken a picture of his hair and the ceiling hahaha.

We'd decided to hold a small meeting before cleaning up to announce the maids and butlers of the year. We like to do this to honor some of our volunteers who made an extra effort during the con.
Well, I'd forgotten about this for a moment until I heard a bunch of noise and a SUPER DRAMATIC song come on in the background. Chris, with his arms in the air, called for an assembly with the theme of Avengers: Endgame blasting from behind him.
I JUST about missed this so he did it again to make satisfy me and I got a short snippet of this ridiculous (in the best way) moment.
It worked!
Our butler of the year was Anders from Nio's class! He'd spent so much of his free time staying in the café and offering help (especially in moments where I needed extra hands to help me carry things).
Rikke, also from Nio's class, was our maid of the year! Always offering help as well and suggesting work if we couldn't find anything for her to do.
Karoline also got a prize for being absolutely fantastic during her first ever J-Popcon. She stayed in the café with us constantly and put in just as much work during the con as us organizers.
We gave her a stuffed cat and she was about to cry from happiness. She's precious and I'm so glad Chris met her.
Pernille, who used to be the same year as I but in Japan studies, was awarded as well. She was the only one who'd shown up Thursday (this is not expected of normal gophers/maids/butlers) to help with preparation.
And at last, we gave Frede something for being the immense help that he was.
Chris, who'd been a trustee last year and thus had no vote, had wanted to make Frede the butler of the year last year so he absolutely insisted that we rewarded him this year.
It was time to clean up now and we took some last polaroid pictures before closing down fully.
Our maids and butlers were all great at helping and we finished so early that several of them went to help in other areas of the con because we were so quick.
After helping sorting through bottles, they returned and hung out with us in the café where we kept playing music and just hanging around. I snapped these pictures in another moment of amazing ridiculousness when they, for some reason, decided to make a human train. The first two maids slammed into more people until they had a little human train going and with our butler, William, giving fan service behind them.

I couldn't find space in the blog post for these last pictures so I'm just going to share with you a couple of selfies as well as some of my pictures before ending the post.
The big picture is from last year. The photographer, who took them, came to the café this year and handed these printed versions to us.
Credits and thanks to Troels Skov for the pictures below!
I think we look super cool and professional! ㅋㅋㅋ

Also, enjoy these gifs of my lame Black Hole-chan jokes form my instagram story + the compilation video of me smacking Jasmin's booty.

The absolute last thing I want to share with you is this drawing that our butler, Emil, sent me of my cats Knallan, Pjuske, and Grå, based on a funny story that Chris told him Saturday night during our after dark maid café.
It was a story from a couple of years ago when Chris and I lived together. Knallan and Pjuske had been fighting so Knallan bit Pjuske in the butt. Chris saw this and scolded them and the moment he did, Grå saw us, made the roundest mouth I have ever seen, and just SCREAMED "OOOOOOoooOoooOOo!!!"
When he retold this story, I was on the floor in tears from laughter.
Emil did such a great job although he'd never even seen my cats! He even drew me in my pajamas, which I with a 95% certainty was wearing at that time.

J-Popcon 2019 was amazing and I'm so looking forward to next year's café.
I hope as many as possible of this year's team can join because they have been absolutely wonderful to work with. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Back To Top