left to right, Erentry as Medli, T as Malon, Tori as Link, Myself as Princess Zelda, S as Dark Zelda, J as Dark Link
I have two amazing best friends, who are both obsessed with things from Japan, especially Anime. So every year they choose an Anime for us to cosplay from. I personally have no particular affinity for Japan and prefer my TV shows to be live acted, but I love my friends, love dressing up, and the Japanese Festival is lots of fun. So, what started out as "I'll do this because my friends want to," has turned into, "Yay! The Japanese Festival again!"
This year the chosen cosplay was Legend of Zelda, one of Tori's favorite video games, which originated in Japan. We decided to make our cosplay with a bit of a steampunk twist. After 5 years of doing this we have our costuming system down. Tori and Erentry decide what we will cosplay as. Erentry is our head designer, especially when it comes to accessories.
Painting the sleeves and fixing the neck kerchief just right for the Malon outfit
I'm the head seamstress. Tori helps out with whatever we ask her to do. Erentry's Mom helps out with sewing and making accessories. This year she did all the painting required on the costumes.
Sewing buttons on, one of those important things that always gets put off till the end.
We try to get the bulk of the costume work done in the weeks leading up to the festival. This year, however, due to crazy work schedules, we wound up sewing most of the costumes in the week leading up to it.
Due to the compressed time frame we even got Tori to use a sewing machine for the first time since 4-H! Now that she is sewing again I look forward to seeing what projects she comes up with in the future!
Surprisingly, despite the late start this year, by the night before we only had a few things left to finish.
Erentry makes her Medli feet. She is a genius when it comes to making accessories! For these "feet" she dyed and painted 2 pairs of white socks, then used one of the pairs to cover a pair of flats with.
By 2 a.m. the night before, all the costumes were done and we were asleep! Last year, we started our costumes months before, but had to stay up till 4 a.m. the night before, then we still had to finish sewing some stuff in the car the next morning. So this year we were very impressed with ourselves!
Once we get to the festival the fun begins. What started as Erentry, Tori, and Myself, has turned into us plus various friends and family. This year my family even came for the first time! Not wanting to be left out of the fun, My little sister chose to dress as a Pokemon, Vaporeon.
She used the ears, tail, and ruff from Erentry's costume last year. I made the blue dress the night before the Festival.
Throughout the course of the day we had multiple people stop us and ask for pictures, and we even participated in the Cosplay Fashion Show.
We all got packed into a little hallway waiting for the fashion show to begin.
While rather uncomfortable, it was fun to see how other people had made their costumes.
And it was certainly fun to show off our costumes!
We saw traditional Japanese things, watched a Sumo wrestling demonstration, and got to do Bon Odori dancing (traditional Japanese dancing to celebrate the end of summer). One of my favorite parts of the Japanese Festival each year though, is just wandering around the Botanical Gardens, where it's held. The gardens are beautiful, and hold so many surprises.
My little sister runs through the maze
In the Victorian garden there is a hedge maze. Above the hedge maze is an observation tower.
The kids broke into a random game of tag in the maze. It was great fun to watch from the tower, where we hollered instructions and encouragement.
"He's over there! To your left! No, that's a dead end!"
By the end of the day we were all exhausted, but it had been worth it! How many excuses do you get to dress up in awesome costumes with your best friends and wander through gorgeous gardens? Not to many, so I'll keep taking this one, sewing madness and all.