Would Elijah Wood read my blog? Elijah would.

Hello reader⁠— if you’ve been reading my blog for a while then

1. you are awesome, and

2. you may remember a couple years ago when I posted A Rather Overdue Love Letter to Elijah Wood From Alberta’s Unfortunate Fangirl. I wrote about how my plans to finally meet one of my favorite actors, Elijah Wood (Frodo in LOTR), at a geek convention were squashed by the simultaneous timing of my own presentation at a library convention. It was like the plot of a Highschool Musical-esque movie (omg, which one will she choose, her first celebrity crush or her first real public speaking gig!? Time to break out into a choreographed musical interlude on the emotional turmoil of it all!) but as much as I would have loved to meet Elijah, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity and adventure of presenting my session at the Alberta Library Conference (despite needing to overcome the terror of being in front of a group of people).

Then, when I heard that the entire hobbit crew, including Elijah, were planning to come back to Calgary for the 2020 Calgary Expo, I knew this is the time I will meet him and fulfill the dream that my 13 year old self held on to so tightly! I was excited to go to Calgary Expo for the first time; I’ve heard it’s bigger and generally more happenin’ than Edmonton Expo, which I have frequented in the past.

But alas, this is 2020, so again, it was not to be. FOILED AGAIN! Of course the conference was cancelled, thanks to Covid19. The event space probably would have been filled with murder hornets anyway, so whatever. It’s cool. No biggie.

So April came and went with no Calgary Expo. My 30th birthday also happened, and although I’ve realized that birthdays are generally underwhelming once you hit adulthood, I was hoping to get some friends together and go out for karaoke or something and have my first real birthday “party” in years (30 is supposed to be one of those big milestones, isn’t it?)… but again, Covid made that party idea impossible. It’s all good- gotta do what you gotta do to kick the virus’s ass!

I did, however, get some birthday moolah, and this coincided with Elijah becoming available on that Cameo site where you can pay celebs to make personalized videos. Requesting Elijah was a bit pricey, and the whole premise of the site gave me some cringey vibes to be honest, but I thought oh, what the hell, he made the decision to be available on there, it’s my birthday money, and this is a cool opportunity.

So, I sent in my request, explaining that I am a huge fan and asking if he wouldn’t mind reading my aforementioned blog post to him from 2018. He sent me back this wonderful video and it really made me happy- such a genuine, positive, and kind response. I think it was birthday money very well spent! Thank you so much, Elijah!

His overalls ❤

Cosplay Quarantine Music Video

Cosplayers around the world who had been working hard on their costumes have found that the cons they were preparing for were cancelled thanks to Covid19. Cosplayers, however, are nothing if not creative. My friends at M’Guphynn Media, who usually bring their fancy equipment to cons each year and make cosplay music videos with the resulting footage, put together this awesome Cosplay Music Video: Quarantine Edition, made up of submissions from cosplayers (including myself as Rize Kamishiro at 2.36 and my doggos as Harry Potter and Mario at 0.24 and 3:04 respectivelty!)

Check it out! ❤

Tokyo Video: December 2019

A few weeks ago I compiled some of my video clips from our last trip to Japan (December 2019) into a 30 minute video. It’s a chronological mashup of many of the sights and sounds that we experienced on our trip, which took place mainly in Tokyo this time.

I hope that you will enjoy this video, which features dancing, singing, a Pokemon cafe, some cute dogs, amazing food, Sailor Scouts, robots, cram-packed stores, shrines and temples, kawaii monster girls, karaoke, mochi-pounding, snakes, and much more.

And even after my second trip to Japan, I am again dreaming of my return. Someday! ❤

If you’d like to see the videos from our last trip to Japan (2017) in which we traveled more broadly, check out this post.

Or, if you would like to read the detailed day-by-day blogs from our trips, they start here (2017) and here (2019).

Thanks for stopping by!

Healing Routines In A Time of Anxiety: Animal Crossing

It’s been a crazy week in a month that is flying by and a year that nobody was expecting. The world is on edge with the coronavirus threat, people are hoarding toilet paper (?) and while many of us are preparing to spend more time at home than we’re accustomed to, others around the globe are putting their own lives at risk working extended hours to help keep this thing under control.

Some things will change suddenly- it’s unlikely, for example, that the cosplay project I’ve been working on will debut at Calgary Expo in April as planned, as I highly doubt that it will be safe enough by that point to have such a huge gathering of people in one place. My sister’s Worlds Cheerleading competition has been postponed, as have peoples’ trips, weddings, exams, surgeries, and other important events.

In a time when plans are being dashed, trips cancelled, work halted, and unprecedented stressful situations are unfolding daily, it is important to ensure we keep some normalcy in our day-to-day. It’s good for our mental health to have things to rely on, things to look forward to, things to distract us and give us some calming rituals and routines. For me, this will include activities like creating art, playing with my dogs, spending time with my husband, and reading. It will also include, in four days’ time, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

It’s been a while since I’ve awaited a game so excitedly. In our current goings-on, a new Animal Crossing game is just what I need to give my brain a break from the constant Breaking News.

If you’ve never played an Animal Crossing game before, they are extremely easy to recommend to just about anyone. The family-friendly series is known for being popular with everyone, their mom, and their grandma! The irresistible recipe of customization, decorating, crafting, improving the community, and making cute little animal friends gets better and better with each new installment. New Horizons offers so many cool new features, like landscaping, that I can’t wait to try out.

Last year I got the chance to check out the new Nintendo store at Parco Shibuya!

Sometimes, when the real world feels crazy, it’s nice to have a gentle, encouraging, somewhat predictable little oasis to call your own. I hope that Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be that for myself and many others.

Happy gaming everyone, and stay safe!

Cosplay WIP: Rize from Tokyo Ghoul

I’m working on a new cosplay project that I hope to debut at Calgary Expo in April. I really enjoyed sharing the process of making my Krul Tepes cosplay, so I’ve decided to do the same with this cosplay: Rize Kamishiro from Tokyo Ghoul!

I’ll keep adding to this page as I get further in the building and sewing of this project. I can’t wait to try on the sclera lenses and wig, and get my kagune attached to the costume!

Steins;Gate: Now Is The Time- El Psy Kongruu

If you are reading this, maybe there is a small chance- please hear my plea.

The tides of time are turning.

I’ve come from the future, the year 2036, with a warning of grave importance.

.

.

.

It is imperative that you play Steins;Gate.

It is the only way.


Alright, I know, Steins;Gate is old news- it came out in 2009!- but with a Live Action TV series recently announced to be in the works by Skydance Television, it’s a great time to consider playing or revisiting this twisty, dramatic, hilarious sci-fi visual-novel game.

I will admit that for a while Steins;Gate was a game that I played in intermittent bursts, often while travelling; I have a downloaded version on my PsVita, and the story begins as fun but sort of plodding. However, I recently picked it up again on my way home from Vancouver and got to the part where things really take off– after that I couldn’t put it down.

What begins as a bunch of otaku and their chuunibyou leader dabbling with internet message boards and dubious technological advances rapidly accelerates into full-blown world-altering time-travel with devastating consequences. I’ve finished 3 of the possible 6 main endings, and I’m questioning whether it’s possible to ever “have it all” (You’ll know what I mean if you play the game…).

I myself am very much a geek and already moderately well-versed in anime & manga tropes and lingo, but for someone who doesn’t know much about the vastness of otaku subcultures, this game would be an excellent introduction. Also be prepared for a lot of mind-bending wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey talk: The “tips” accumulated throughout the game point out and explain the references and vocabulary dropped by the characters time and time again.

Steins;Gate is actually the second release in this “Science Adventure” franchise, after Chaos;Head, but the latter has never been released in English- a cryptic tweet from creator Chiyomaru Shikira in 2018 hinted that an English port would “probably” happen!

Regardless, Steins;Gate is a separate story from Chaos;Head, with different characters, and you can absolutely play Steins;Gate without having played Chaos;Head (I haven’t, though I would love to someday!). Steins;Gate is available on Steam, Vita, Ps4, iOS, Android, and more. The remastered version of the game, Steins;Gate Elite is also available on Switch as well, and features animation from the anime adaptation.

I am definitely ready to start playing the sequel, Steins;Gate 0!

SuperM in Vancouver

A couple of days ago I had a whirlwind trip to Vancouver to see SuperM- as a Shawol I wanted to support Taemin on his return to Canada while Key, Minho, and Onew are doing their mandatory military duty.

I was (and still am) fighting off a nasty cold, and my voice was completely gone the whole time I was in Vancouver, but the trip was still worth it!

I also got to debut my WIP jean jacket with SHINee Married To The Music on the back:

Originally I had booked my 2-night stay at the Cambie hostel in Gastown, thinking that an historic hostel might be a fun new experience, but I cancelled that booking the day before leaving when I realized that my cold would make communal living much less fun for everyone involved… so, I booked a hotel room instead. I was so glad to have a quiet sanctuary at the Ramada in which to rest, watch HGTV, and blow my nose with reckless abandon.

Soon after checking in I took a photo out the window of my room, and minutes later Taemin posted a photo where he is standing with the same landmark in the background, so I definitely fangirled.

The morning of the concert, Feb 6, I did a little bit of exploring in downtown Vancouver, stopping at the Paper Hound bookshop as well as a couple of fabric stores.

Finally I headed out toward the venue, Rogers Arena, and met up with some lovely new Shawol friends! A couple of them were women I had been talking to online for a while (Yo, Court and Gabby!), and several more were people that joined up just because they saw we were Shawol- I love our big Shawol family! I met so many lovely, friendly people.

One of the Shawol I hung out with was Kiki from YoursTrulyDance- check out this talented group on YouTube! Here is their Jopping cover:

Yassss that’s Kiki in the plaid pants, doing Taemin’s part OF COURSE! ❤

It was especially special connecting with Shawol at this concert, because SuperM is made of members from several groups, so when I saw another SHINee World fan it was like ONE OF US! ONE OF US! ONE OF USSSS!!!

We chilled for a few hours before the show started, getting cheap eats at Costco and geeking out. When we made our way into the arena we had to separate into our different seats, but I was so happy to find that I was sitting next to another Shawol named Katie! Her ult is Key, too! After a couple of minutes someone approached Katie and said “Wow are you Katie!?” and I was like, Katie are you a YouTuber? Yup, she is! She does lots of cool unboxing videos, kpop hauls, and stuff like that. Glad to meet you Katie!

We sat in anticipation as the arena filled up around us. Our seats were directly in front of one of the catwalks.

And then, it started!

The concert was really awesome, with solo and group performances, lazers, streamers, and cannons. Surprisingly, we were allowed to film with our phones, and I got some great videos of Taemin!

Sadly, I thought I got all of Jopping on camera but in the last 15 seconds of the song I realized that I hadn’t hit the record button T-T .

***EDIT*** NO ACTUALLY I DID GET MOST OF IT, YAY!

There was also a very tense moment when Kai tossed his frisbee directly toward me and it landed on my feet, but I had been looking in Taemin’s direction so I didn’t notice at first and two girls in front of me whirled upon me and began scrabbling at my feet for the frisbee! Katie and I exchanged glances like “holy crap” and the frisbee was snatched from where I’d clamped it between my two shoes. Oh well…

And so quickly, it was over (2 fast, you might say) and some of us met up again in front of the Costco to freak out together and get some food down the street.

Just like when I saw SHINee in Toronto in 2017, the concert was amazing but the experience was especially wonderful because of all of the new friends I met. Thank you for making me feel welcomed in Vancouver!

I hope SuperM enjoyed their time in Canada. Mark is from Vancouver, so it was heartwarming to see how genuinely happy he was to return to Vancouver for a concert.

Thanks Taemin and SuperM for coming to Canada!

Tokyo Memories, Day 17: Last-chance Shopping in Akiba, and Sailor Moon Shining Dinner Theater! Plus Day 17.5 (departure day)

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 17, December 30th, 2019

Our last full day, and what a day! Early in the morning I set out for Akihabara which was PACKED with muggles people- maybe because there was a big Comiket this past weekend? Anyone who travelled to go to Comiket would surely want to visit Akiba, too, so it would make sense. I went to Radio Kaikan to check out the dolls and doll supplies on the 7th floor. I bought the parts to make a partner for the gothic doll I created from my last trip in 2017!

After braving the full-to-bursting Radio Kaikan, I got conveyor sushi at Aburi again and also checked out the Aki-Oka Artisan area, which was fancy and had a cool vibe.

Then, I headed to AzabuJuuban to meet up with Dustin and go to the Sailor Moon Shining Princess dinner theatre show! We walked around a bit until our reservation at 6:30. We got seats right in front! The resturaunt is very cute, with costumes on display and an upstairs room with ADORABLE merch (totally overpriced, but adorable…). The Sailor Moon jewelry is stunning, but $$$$$! We did get to keep our Sailor Moon dinner plates and drink coasters, though!

Anyhoo, we got our drinks (Dustin: Sailor Mercury blue alcopop. Me: luna latte) and our food (Dustin: Usagi’s Omelette. Me: Sailor Jupiter’s Pasta).

Our food and drinks were pretty good… however, like the Robot Resturaunt, nobody is really going for the food… it’s the show!

***Spoilers of the Dinner Show- Scroll to the video to skip!***

The show started with Luna on screen telling us that the Negaverse is up to no good >.< Each Sailor Scout got their own battle sequence, and lots of effects were used, like lazers, shadow screens, smoke, and so on.

At one point (During Rei’s fire sequence) I suddenly started crying!? I guess the Moon Prism Power of nostalgia washed over me. Today being our last day also probably had something to do with it… lots of pent up emotion.

The plot continued- the Sailor Scouts defeated the evil, except for Usagi, who slept through the entire thing! So, now that Tokyo is safe, the scouts show us the sights of Tokyo, and they basically visited all of the places we visited on this trip, so of course my tears kept flowing… for Harajuku there were jfashion dancers, and Asakusa was “festival time” so the Scouts got drums and other percussion instruments and played them on stage.

Then, Luna comes back and says “Oh no! A dark force is here and *gasp* it’s even stronger than before! Strong enough to destroy Tokyo– or even the entire WORLD! And so of course the Scouts come together to banish it.

One of the best parts was when Tuxedo Mask was overtaken by the baddies- they encapsulated him in a green lazer cage and he fell to the ground. When he rose he was under their spell and tried to attack Sailor Moon, slapping and choking her, slashing her down. She collapsed, and all of the other Scouts were down around her too, just like the end of the first arc of the series, she heard their voices and it inspired her to come back, and it was a happily ever after.

Then Luna announced a mini-show would start and that we could now take pictures and video- I got some great shots, and the entire theme song dance routine!

Then the Scouts and Tuxedo Mask walked around each table, waving and posing for pics.

I really enjoyed it, and Dustin said he liked it too! ❤

Day 17.5, December 31st, 2019

Today I write in black like my deep, dark soul! Oh, tormented with dismay at this tragic day.

Jk. We had a wonderful trip. ❤ Today we packed and checked out, and loaded our luggage onto the Airport Limo Bus. We are now crammed onto our first plane and wishing we could just conk out and wake up at home… or back in Tokyo! Seriously excited to see the doggos, and Dad.

Today before we left I did manage to visit a cool store called Stellaworth- somehow I hadn’t ever gone there before, but it was mentioned in the Otome Guide pamphlet I found at Sunshine City.

Japan, I love you. Rest assured, I will be back some day. Count on me. ❤

-Shauna

Tokyo Memories, Day 15: Karaoke with Strangers, Taemin in Yokohama

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or start with day 1 here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 15, December 28th, 2019

AHHH what a day! My feet hurt so bad that I fantasized about chopping them off with a guillotine, but honestly today was worth it!

I started off the day meeting up with a meetup.com group I had joined a while back called “Let’s Release Ourselves By Singing Karaoke Together!”. After getting lost (nothing new there) I found the place across from Ikebukuro station on the 2nd floor. The group was patiently sitting waiting for me >.< There were 7 of us- myself, one other woman, and 5 men, including the organizer Rin. Rin collected our karaoke fees and separated us into two groups which we would rotate in and out of later on (more chances to sing with a smaller group!) We grabbed some of the unlimited drinks- unlimited slushies!!!??? and headed to the rooms.

Everyone was quite good at singing! Most of the songs they sang were new to me, but I did recognize the song from Your Name, and one guy sang a Linkin Park song. I sang Linger (Cranberries), White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane), Just a Girl (No Doubt), Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and My Medicine from the Nana movie! I’d been practicing that one in the car, and I was so glad to see it was an option to sing with the karaoke system. Right after I sang it, a man sang another song from the Nana film!

The highlight of today’s karaoke experience had to be when a man joined our room and asked me “A whole new world?”- I was like “InuYasha?” thinking he meant the song Brand New World, but then he put on Aladdin’s Whole New World and handed me the second mic! I hadn’t heard that song in a long time, so I was rusty, but I caught on (luckily he started the song) and it was so much fun!

I even managed to record some of our duet! Thank you for singing with me ^_^

Then, I bid my new friends farewell and went back to the station. With the aid of Google Maps, I took an unneccessarily roundabout trip to Yokohama Arena, involving 25 minutes of walking through a ritzy residential area where I got a lot of stares…

Finally, at Yokohama Arena, I joined the GINORMOUS lineup of people (99% women) waiting to get into Taemin’s concert!

I waited in line for ~2 hours, standing and wishing I’d worn better shoes. I also couldn’t get over how well the crowds self-organized without dividers or ropes, winding effortlessly into neat curving ribbons: a similar approach in Canada with that many people would have ended up with a giant mosh-pit of frustrated fans (just thinking about it is giving me flashbacks to the Hallyu North fiasco… I’m so glad SHINee came back to Canada after that mess o.o)

ANYWAY, I finally made it to the doors and got my QR code on my phone scanned (for a short time I thought the app wouldn’t work for me and I was in a panic, but I realized that it only worked when my phone was set to Japanese language settings!) and I got my ticket- seat “centre, 15-15”. I thought, wow, that sounds like such a good seat?!

I joined another line, for the women’s washroom, and finally after that headed for my seat. Unbelieving, I made sure confirm with an aisle-helper, and… yeah, no, WOW. I got an AMAZING seat! The arena is HUGE, but I was 15 rows away from the main stage and right by the catwalk! I couldn’t believe my luck! The tickets are randomly assigned when the QR code is scanned, and I won the jackpot!

I exclaimed “II SEKI, NE!? (GREAT SEATS, EH!?)” to the woman seated beside me, and we fangirled together a bit.

When the lights went down and I was immersed in the Pearl Aqua Ocean, it was just beautiful.

(This was just before the concert started- look at that beautiful ocean of Shawol!)

Taemin was fantastic, he and all of his dancers were so energetic, the SFX and tech were the fanciest I think I’ve ever seen- lazers, moving spotlights, a motorized slanting stage with harnesses for aerial tricks, a raising area, long catwalk, explosions, fire bursts, streamers, so awesome.

Some highlights:

  • He said that with the return of the members in 2020, SHINee will be up to something new to look forward to!
  • He sang a new song! Very slow and loving.
  • A new comeback album is on the way
  • A male fan screamed TAEMINNNNNN!!!! and he said “Yes. I am Taemin.” :3
  • “INTO THE RHYTHM” WAS SO GOOD LIVE AND HE DID SO MUCH AEGYO, AHH!! I have always loved Into The Rhythm but I also think of it as the cutest Taemin song ever now~!
  • “One By One” really made use of the angled stage and harnesses
  • When it was time for encore we chanted “LEE TAEMIN, DAISUKE! LEE TAEMIN, DAISUKE!”
  • He sang Pretty Boy, Danger, and Ace!
  • HOLY WATER– HOLY WATERRRRRRRR– HO-LY-WA-TER-HOLY WATERRRRRRRRRR!
  • When he walked down the catwalk stage, he was so close
  • I GOT TO SEE “MOVE” LIVE! AHH!
  • The last thing he said (in Japanese): “I hope you had a beautiful time like I did. See you all again very soon!”

I feel so lucky to have had the chance to attend this concert, in Japan, in such a great seat!

P.S.- PART OF “SHERLOCK” WAS USED AND EVEN PART OF THE DANCE, AND KEY’S “GIVE IT UP FOR SHINEEEEE!!!” LINE! I WAS SO SURPRISED, I CHEERED SO LOUD!

P.S.S.- I caught a streamer! It says something like “Taemin 2nd Concert 1001101: We are very happy to be able to spend the end of the year together! Let’s stay together!”

Final note: A huge thank you to @enzeru_no_innen for your extremely helpful post on how to make a SHINee World J account and get my ticket for the concert! I couldn’t have done it without you! ❤ I love our international Shawol family!

Check out day 16, Pounding New Year’s Mochi With Friends, and More Karaoke, here!

Tokyo Memories, Day 13: Traditional and Whimsical Shopping in Tokyo

A month ago Dustin and I began our trip in Tokyo! So, as with our last trip, I’ve decided to copy out each day of my travel journal into my blog. Each day for the next 18 days I will share a post of what we did in Tokyo a month prior.

So, let’s get into it! (Or, start with day 1, here!)

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 13, December 26th, 2019

Today Dustin was very tired, so I decided to scout out a few places that are scattered around less touristy areas of Tokyo. I did a LOT of walking today, and have a blister the size of a toonie on my left foot >.<

My first stop was Bingoya Folk Crafts, a multi-floor shop filled with interesting handiworks. I was specifically looking for temari balls (an internet search led me to Bingoya!) so I picked up a few, as well as some cards and wooden toys. This shop was out of the way but very worth a visit.

I next visited Japan Traditional Craft Aoyama Square, which is near the Canadian Embassy and also had a variety of unique and interesting handicrafts made with care.

And finally, Kaleidoscope Mikashi-Kan, definitely the most unusual and niche shop I’ve ever visited in Japan (maybe anywhere): Kaleidoscopes of all shapes, sizes, styles, and price ranges. The staff was very helpful, instructive, and kind. He showed me how to use some of the more unusual kaleidoscopes. I purchased a small teleidoscope, a mini telescope-kaleidoscope necklace, and a larger two-mirror system dry-chamber scope featuring rainbow 8 point image by Tamoo Hosono. So beautiful! VERY different and much more mesmerizing than those plastic dollar-store “kaleidoscopes” I played with when I was a kid.

After recharging at the hotel with Dustin I tried to go to a karaoke bar in Shinuya (Pasela Station) where you can sing with live musicians, but it was closed for a private event, so instead I explored the big Tower Records. Found some Kamijo DVDs and made sure the SHINee section was well stocked and faced!

I finished my day perusing the CanDo beside Ikebukuro station, as well as the massive DonQuiote, and getting some more souvenirs for folks back home.

Check out day 14, Yanaka Ginza, Ameyoko, and Kindness at Nippori Textile Street, here!