Waku Waku NYC 2015 Recap!
I’ve been going through my 210+ drafts to try to publish out some of what has been sitting in my WIP folder for a while. Some of those are old event posts like this one, which I probably didn’t post at the time because it felt too ‘late’. But in hind-sight, they were fun adventures, so I want to share some of them. This event, Waku Waku NYC, only ended up being a single year event, I believe. Let’s teleport back to the summer of 2015…
Waku Waku NYC is a new first year convention that was billing itself as a somewhat more rounded version of an anime convention. Unlike most anime conventions which are very anime centric, this convention was more focused on pop culture in general. They brought two lolita designers, a celebrity chef, a musician, and a couple anime/manga industry guests, to give you a general idea of the balance.
As many of you already know, my girlfriend is one of the designer’s for Bellaonna, so we traveled up to the convention together, and I helped out in the Petticoat Parlor booth, which was selling some of her things. Petticoat Parlor featured items from local indie lolita brands Belladonna and Sweet Mildred, and artwork/stationary/shirts/pillows and accessories from the illustrator Mint and Apple. We also were selling some consignment items, wigs from Brightlele and items from Swimmer.
Waku Waku Day -2 (Thursday)
We decided to travel up on Thursday, and check out Tokyo Rebel, then do some shopping before set up on Friday night. Then, Tokyo Rebel announced autograph sessions for Thursday, which worked out pretty well!
We decided to drive to Newark NJ, and then take PATH and the NY Subway to our AirB&B because my GF didn’t want to have to drive in NYC. Big mistake. There is no parking at Newark NJ Penn Station. So we had to pay to park in a parking garage for 4 days (which actually came out to less than the $80+ I thought it would, I’m not sure if it’s because I lost my ticket, or I’d done the math wrong).
My girlfriend was going to drive, but wasn’t feeling well, so I ended up driving, which is ironic because at that point, we could have just driven the whole way (though I did get tired; I’m not used to such long drives). Also, food on the NJ turnpike is expensive and pretty gross, and I shut my finger in a heavy wooden trashcan trying not to touch it while putting garbage in and then it hurt to bend it and was hard to hold the wheel (it still hurts).
Once we got there, we didn’t really 100% understand the subway maps on my phone, and ended up having to take my 70lb suitcase up and down stairs multiple times to change stations (I hadn’t realized we were changing trains D: I would have packed lighter). I’m so thankful to the guys who helped us with it at different staircases, even if it did terrify me a little to have strangers trying to help me with my suitcase in a strange city! Also to my GF who helped me by switching cases with me when I got too tired. Never again. I’ll personally drive us through NYC and parallel park; it would have been easier!
When we got to the AirB&B it was two flights of rickety narrow stairs and I just about cried. Thankfully, Rachel, the other Belladonna designer was already there and she was able to help me get it up the steps. I’ve gotten so spoiled taking just a single train or plane and staying in hotels! I expect everything to have elevators these days!
The AirB&B was nice, though it only had one tiiiny little mirror in the bathroom and we had 4 lolita all in the same apartment. There were lots of beds, but no hallways? It was just a bunch of rooms all connected with a curtain in each door frame. Each room had a bed in it, even the dining room and the living room and the walk in closet! There was no TV or alarm clocks or phones, but we had a microwave, stove, fridge and dishes, so that was nice… and the AC was really good and cool.
We were running a little late because of how hard the subway was to navigate, so my girlfriend and I got dressed to head over to Tokyo Rebel, while Rachel went on ahead to try to catch the Putumayo designer Hasegawa before he left (his signing was first, and it was getting late). Apparently, she juuust caught him in time. Thankfully, they had already lifted the “wakuwaku ticket holders only” rule they had in place, because Rachel was getting a vender’s badge, and thus had no proof of purchase of a wakuwaku ticket. We got there too late to see Hasegawa, but we did get to see Isobe, Masumi Kano and the Baby shop girl Rin.
I wanted to get a BTSSB underskirt, but someone beat me to it (c’est la vie), so I got the Disacode photobook with Akira’s autograph and a really cute pair of bear ears.
Waku Waku Day -1 (Friday)
Friday, we dressed casually and went on an adventure in NYC. We had lunch at a lovely local restaurant where the food was amazing. Then, we made our way to the garment district to try to visit Mokuba, which is a ribbon brand used by Japanese lolita brands.
On the way to Mokuba, we passed Spandex House where the belladonna designers had to stop and take a silly photo.
I didn’t take any photos at Mokuba, but we were able to look at a bunch of trims, and put in some orders on the Belladonna wholesale account.
Then it was back to the venue where we worked hard on setting up our booth. We were splitting a booth three ways between Sweet Mildred, Mint ‘n Apple and Belladonna, so there was a lot of stock to fit in a very small space but eventually, we got there…
I managed to get food on my dress at lunch, so I had to change after our adventure before booth set up. While we were setting up Hasegawa and Kurebayashi were wandering around the dealers and asked me for my photo and said I was cute (and I just about died). Later, I saw the photos because they posted them on twitter and my badge was caught on the hem of my cutsew weird…
Waku Waku Day 1 (Saturday)
This was the first official day of the convention, and honestly it was a bit of a blur. It was august and we had to walk to the convention center from our AirBNB.
When I got there, I was told by security that I couldn’t bring my diet coke in with me, and that they had a strict no outside drinks policy. They had food trucks outside, but we couldn’t buy drinks from the food trucks and bring them in. And it was august.
The designer Masumi Kano from Baby was doing autographs not very far from our booth and at one point in the day the autographs line was totally empty, and I felt bad, so I went and we took another photo together in my coord that day which was based around an alice and the pirates dress.
I also snapped photos of a bunch of cute people over the span of Friday and Saturday, which I don’t think I ever shared…
I picked up a skirt from the Baby the Stars Shine Bright Booth, and the latest GLB. I also got some cute accessories from Sweet Mildred.
Waku Waku Day 2 (Sunday)
On Sunday we went back to the venue again for another day of sales, and again, we weren’t allowed to bring in drinks.
Michelle and I dressed up in the matching Putumayo pieces we wore when we met Hazegawa at AWA, and we got a photo with Kurebayashi from the autograph line.
There was a stage near-ish to our booth that had live acts on it most of the event. There was a cute idol group called 2une performing that I snapped a couple photos of…
After that it was time for the fashion show. I thought I took photos, but I can’t find them… so here are some photos from the event’s facebook page…
The fashion show venue was a fair distance from the event, and it was hot. I remember standing outside in line and just being kind of miserable. Then we all packed into a bar. It was dark, it was crowded and I remember going over and buying a bottle of water for what was probably an exorbitant cost from the bar, and it just was miserable. It wasn’t easy to see because of the set up and I ended up leaving at the half way point in the show because I was feeling so bad. I’m pretty sure in hind sight that I was dehydrated and overheated, but I was just nauseous and couldn’t deal with the heat a moment longer. So that part was pretty unfortunate. I do think they were giving seats away to people who were waiting because it was at capacity, so at least someone else got to see the Baby show after I left.
Lastly, here are the snaps of coords I saw around the con on Sunday…
All in all, it was a fun trip, and if the con had continued, I think I probably would have gone back.