Diary: Trip to the USA | Part 3

So, after Idol Matsuri had finished, we had one more free day before leaving the state. We took this opportunity to visit Seattle, as we had not seen it at all on the trip so far!

On our dessert-date with Ally and Sally, we learned that they also were going to head into Seattle in the morning, so we shared a lift with them, and arrived at the Kitsap Ferry Port, bright and early!

 

Because Washington is a pretty aquatic state, it's actually much more convenient for the residents to travel by sea! 

The Ferry from Bremerton (near Silverdale) to Seattle is free on the outbound trip, which is also really cool! You can board with a car or just as a foot passenger. The crossing is about 1 hour long, and it was a very pleasant method to travel by!

Seattle has such a beautiful skyline! I don't think we would have seen it if we hadn't taken the ferry! It was really nice to get excited while seeing the Needle creep closer and closer. 

Ally and Sally knew we had no plans for our day-trip, so they recommended us to see Uwajimaya at some point, but that when we get off the ferry we should take a left and keep walking until we get to Pike Place Market, so we had a small starting point!

We parted ways, and set off on our adventure!

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I saw this T-Shirt being advertised on the side of a building, it will take all your might to believe that this is not an ironically terrible design. Like sweet bro and hella jeff guest collaborated to create it.

 

We saw Pike Place Market briefly, but there wasn't really much there for us, so we headed more downtown. I had plans to meet with my friend Kristina in the afternoon, so we just decided to find our feet and stay central until then. We saw protesters chanting Peace For Iraq in the streets!

 

 

I visited Sephora! I had been to Sephora before in Murcia, Spain, however it wasn't as good as this one in Seattle. You can see what I got in my Seattle/Idol Matsuri Haul on my channel, but it was super fun shopping there, I wish there was one where I lived!

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We had a quick rest-stop at McDonalds. I had a milkshake, and I announced my meet-up! I decided that it would be a good idea to have a meet-up in Seattle. I had never done one before, so I was really excited to see everybody! 

We did some more exploring. We tried to find some Japanese Gardens that TripAdvisor said was nearby, however it lied and tried to take us inside a shopping mall, and it turned out that the gardens were 5km away, too far to walk and return in time to meet Kristina!

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I noticed the extremely high density of Starbucks in Seattle, and it's no surprise, because it's the hometown of the chain! We visited the first ever Starbucks, which had a queue going out of the door. It's the only one with this kind of design and the original logos. We didn't go in, because we had no time for the queue, and we could get the same coffee at the next Starbucks, 2 minutes away. 

It was time for lunch with Kristina and Eia, her friend! She took us to Johnny Rockets, a traditional American diner chain. They had a jukebox at the table, and really cool American decor! We had a good chat, we had only began talking a month or two ago, so it was really lucky that we could meet in Seattle so soon after! Eia and Kristina had been to the UK before, so we were able to talk about the cultural differences. 

 

I had the chicken nuggets with fries. The server made a face for my ketchup! ♥ The food was really delicious, and the presentation was so lovely, with the Johnny Rockets paper giving an authentic diner feel.

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After we had finished eating, we decided to drive out to Uwajimaya in their car. Uwajimaya is an Asian food and gift market, filled with all sorts of Japanese treats! I picked up a load of snacks, and some little trinkets, too. There was also a bookstore, but I couldn't find anything I really wanted! It was really nice to shop around there, and if you like Japanese things, it's definitely worth a look! 

We then headed back to Downtown to do our meetup. Only a few people came, as we had to change the time last-minute, but the people who did were absolutely lovely! One even asked Sparkles* to sign his guitar! It was a super lovely way to spend our last day in Washington.

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We decided it was time to head back to Silverdale and pack. We had to run to catch our ferry and buy tickets! Luckily we made it, with a few minutes to spare!

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The ride back was really relaxing after a full day on our feet. We weren't really sure how we were going to make it back to our hotel, so I texted the convention organiser, Bethany, to see if she was around and could pick us up! It was above and beyond, but she was really sweet and came to give us a lift back to the hotel! Before going back, we had ColdStone Ice Cream, which is a really cool shop where they mix and match your ice-cream flavour on an ice cold table. It was super delicious.

We stayed up packing pretty late, and got about 4 hours sleep before the next part of our journey began: to Los Angeles!

 

I have created a daily vlog from this day's footage too, so please check it out! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0nKULtogZc

Diary: Trip to the USA | Part 2

Good Morning! It was the 20th June, and the first day of Idol Matsuri!

The working day started and ended for me with the Opening Ceremony. 

The acts performing at Idol Matsuri were as follows:

Beri! New Day, SHEawase, Ally and Sally, Beckii Cruel, RYUTist, Aither, Halko Momoi

  • Beri! New Day are a local Washington trio of American girls! 
  • SHEawase are a three-piece set of performers from Oklahoma and Texas, though only two members could attend this event. 
  • Ally and Sally are two twin Canadian girls who have a love for Idols, Eroge, and Performance!
  • Beckii Cruel is ya girl, it me
  • RYUTist are an Idol act from Japan! They were flown in for this event. They are a 4-piece unit.
  • Aither are another Japanese Idol act flown in! They have 5 members, and their style is more "kakkoi" than RYUTist, who are more "kawaii".
  • Halko Momoi is a famous Seiyuu, who has performed at conventions such as this across the world! 

The Opening Ceremony (from what I can gather, I was in the service alleyway until I was called out) comprised of the co-founder, Bethany, introducing the event, and one-by-one, calling out the acts to introduce themselves on stage! We then lined up on the side of the room, and some more words were said, and then, Idol Matsuri was officially open!

I didn't have any more official work to do this day, so I decided that after looking around the event a few times, I would get changed and explore Silverdale once more!

We made a plan to watch The Fault In Our Stars, which was showing at 3:30PM at a cinema about a 10-minute walk from the hotel! So, in the meantime, we went out for breakfast with SHEawase!

Tara and Melissa were really sweet girls, and I am so glad I got to hang out with them as much as I did. This time to eat, we went to Taco Time, which apparently is a restaurant only found in the Northern states! So it was a new experience for SHEawase, too. Again, I had a cool Taco, which was lettuce + mince. It was really delicious! I also got confused by 'chips' for the first time- in the States, Chips means Crisps. And British Chips are Fries. 

After breakfast, Sparkles* and I made our way over to the cinema to buy some tickets. We still had plenty of time to kill, so we went to a Froyo place! 

I'm certain mine was more delicious!! And these were the small cups, too, they're a large in the UK!

Next, we made our way over to the Toys R Us, because I had never been before! We had a really fun shopping trip, though we were totally too old for a lot of it, our inner children really went wild! 

I've cut together a little vlog of our clips from the Froyo, to us exploring Toys R Us, and watching TFIOS. Please watch it here in the embed, and then continue to read the rest! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9zVlMVhnGc

After returning from the movie, and the shopping trip, I got ready for the evening's event: Dinner with an Idol! As Idol Matsuri was an event partially crowd-funded, one of the perks was to have dinner with an Idol! At 8PM, we made our way to the Azteca restaurant, to have (even more) Mexican food!

The dinner was banquet-style, and I was sitting next to one of the attendees, and SHEawase. I tried lots of new Mexican foods, such as Chimichangas, Sopapillas, and even more that I can't remember! One of the attendees ordered a mocktail drink called a Mango Berry Burst, and she started a trend, because almost every one of the performers ordered one too! It was a really nice evening getting to know the attendees and it was a very relaxing experience.


Next day! By the way, my jetlag still was ever present, and I was waking up at 5AM every morning. I think it was good though, it's nice to have an early start when you're on a trip abroad!

This morning's work was the Western Guest Panel. This was attended by myself, Beri!, SHEawase, and Ally and Sally. 

Our panel was really great! We emceed it ourselves, and a good number of people attended. We were asked a multitude of questions, and it was a really relaxed atmosphere. It lasted for about 1 hour! 

After the panel, it was nearly time for Ally and Sally's performance, followed by SHEawase's! I was so excited to see them perform live, and all of their outfits were really beautiful! 

We took some selfies after the panel ♥

With SHEawase

With SHEawase

With Beri!

With Beri!

With AllySally

With AllySally

Ally and Sally were the first performers. Their set was filled with singing, dancing, and plenty of wota MIX and calls! This was the first concert I had watched at Idol Matsuri, and I was already very impressed by the enthusiasm of the audience. They really knew how to call for idols, and it was just like being at a C-ute or AKB48 gig in Japan.

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Ally and Sally were such professional performers. Ally was losing her voice, unfortunately, but I thought they still did a phenomenal job! 

Next up were SHEawase. 

Again, they were amazing performers! They crowd did an awesome job cheering for them too, even after being on their feet for a full hour beforehand for Ally and Sally. 

 

In the evening, Sparkles* and I went out to get some dinner. We decided we wanted to go to a steakhouse, so we scouted out the Fujiyama Habachi Japanese Steakhouse!

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The food was delicious! I had salmon, and Sparkles* had the steak. The habachi chef was really talented and funny, it was a really nice night out! 


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The final day of the convention rolled around! This day was my performance day. The morning held some press interviews for me, which was really fun! And straight after was the signing event. I set up my merch table and met lots of attendees! 

I also managed to take a photo with RYUTist, they're so cute! 

somebody commented 'attack on titan'! ( ´_ゝ`)

somebody commented 'attack on titan'! ( ´_ゝ`)

I also took a 2-shot with Halko Momoi ♥ She was so cute! It looks like she was wearing the Star's Rainbow Seifuku, I should have brought my purple one so we could twin!

I was given a really sweet scrapbook from the event attendees! There were postcards and letters in it, it was so heartwarming! 



In the afternoon, all the guests and attendees headed outside to create a special video, a tribute to BiS! We all learned and danced a section of Nerve by BiS, as they are disbanding soon and we wanted to show our support one last time. 

Can you see me? I'm in the centre behind RYUTist! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AX7CKs8LDtc

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With all the guests and attendees!

With all the guests and attendees!

Groupshot of all the guests minus Aither!

Groupshot of all the guests minus Aither!

And then, it was time for me to perform! I was on after Beri! New Day, and my performance was the finale of the event! 

It was so fun! They had opened up the room by now so there was plenty of space for people to do wotagei if they chose! My performance ran about 40 minutes, and I thought it went perfectly. Thank you everybody who came to see me!

After my performance, the event had its closing ceremony. Our lanyards were raffled off, and we presented them to the winners personally! It was kinda emotional, this convention had such a personal and friendly atmosphere, and when Bethany spoke some words, we all felt just so grateful that we were there to share this event with her.

That evening, Sparkles* and I had Papa John's Pizza for dinner, and later on in the evening, we met with Ally and Sally for dessert. I was so happy that we could meet up and talk before they left; the event had been really hectic and we hadn't found an opportunity to talk more than 'hello' in the corridors until then!

We spoke about a lot of things, how much we enjoyed the event, and how nice it was to finally meet! I had a S'mores Pie, from Shari's! All in all, it was the perfect ending to the first ever Idol Matsuri.

Diary: Trip to the USA | Part 1

June 2014 was extremely exciting for me this year: not only did I turn 19, but I had some amazing travel opportunities. On the 15th June, I performed at Yorkshire Cosplay Con, in Doncaster, UK. I will have a separate blogpost for that at some point, but after YCC, I had a couple of days to stay in Yorkshire. Eventually, it was time to depart on my first trip to the United States!

was just released ❀ my trip's soundtrack

was just released ❀ my trip's soundtrack

travelling up to manchester the night before. british as ever.

travelling up to manchester the night before. british as ever.

On Tuesday the 17th June, myself and Sparkles*, my travel companion, made our way from Yorkshire to Manchester. We stayed in the Britannia Airport Hotel in Manchester, on a last-minute reservation, after realising that we wouldn't be able to get a train from Selby to Manchester Airport early enough on the morning of our flight! The hotel was very economic and a pleasant stay.

Morning of the 18th, and it begins! 

the big travel fish

the big travel fish

First Leg: To The States (via Amsterdam)

I was in charge of the travel itinerary for the entire trip! It's quite fun, being your own travel agent, but also quite stressful! I used this great website to hunt down low airfares, and I booked them through ebookers.com.

Our flights were £551 return per person, from booking 1 month in advance. I think that is quite reasonable! It can easily cost £200 to go from the Isle of Man to England and back, so I was really pleased.

Cheap flights tend to have connections, so we flew from Manchester at 9.05AM, to catch our first flight to Amsterdam!

Amsterdam is one of my favourite places in the world, I have been before and have always been craving to come back! Unfortunately, we didn't leave the Airport at all on our 3-hour layover, so my beloved city remained untouched by me for today...

we flew with Delta/KLM, so this BA plane is irrelevant, but it gives the post flavour, i feel.

we flew with Delta/KLM, so this BA plane is irrelevant, but it gives the post flavour, i feel.

The flight was comfortable! It had a duration of 1 hour, however we arrived "2 hours later", as The Netherlands is +1 timezones away! So at 11AM we landed at Schiphol, and made our way to our correct terminal.

Travel Buddies!! I very rarely wear makeup when I fly, and unfortunately I was breaking out pretty badly :( 

Travel Buddies!! I very rarely wear makeup when I fly, and unfortunately I was breaking out pretty badly :( 

took the last chance to have a Kinder Surprise in the UK ♥

took the last chance to have a Kinder Surprise in the UK ♥

The layover in Amsterdam was 3 hours 25 minutes, so we had plenty of time. 2:55PM rolled around, and it was time to set off! We had to go through a second hand-luggage check and full-body x-ray immediately before boarding, which was frustrating, as I had to throw out my brand new water bottle which I'd bought for the flight. There was no opportunity to buy water on-board, either, so I had to ration the cups they gave me intermittently throughout the flight. 

The flight was really comfortable, even in economy class. Because it was a daytime flight, we had no pressure to sleep on the flight, as it would be evening by the time we arrived, which was perfect! I watched a bunch of movies, TV, and played games on the in-flight console! 

After 10hr8min, we landed in Seattle-Tacoma International airport! By then, I had been awake for 20 hours, and I was not feeling my freshest. It was 4:03PM when we arrived in the States. Immediately, we had to go through immigration, which was absolute hell. I was interrogated for about 40 minutes, before finally being granted access to the country! My anxiety was at a peak, and I was so scared they were going to put me on a plane back home!!

I took a picture with Nathan's 'stang, as a G

I took a picture with Nathan's 'stang, as a G

Eventually, we collected our luggage, and headed outside to meet with Nathan, co-founder of Empty Melon LLC!

The reason for my trip is that I was invited to attend Idol Matsuri 2014- the USA's first Idol Convention! Nathan is the co-founder of the event, and it was fantastic that he came to meet us. He drove us to Silverdale, more specifically: The Best Western Plus Silverdale Beach Hotel, Washington!

 

The Beach Hotel was where, for the next 3 days, Idol Matsuri would be held!

This was the view from my room. About 10 minutes after taking this, at about 7PM, I checked out for the day and slept, at last, after about 23 hours of travelling! 

 

and subsequently...

 

I woke up this early!! Feeling absolutely refreshed, too, it was a great sleep. We had arrived with 1 free day before the event to recover from jetlag, and I'm really pleased that we did. Even though I felt better for sleeping, I certainly wasn't able to work that day, and I went for frequent naps!

This was the day that many of the other performers would arrive. But since I was ready to leave the hotel and start my day at 6AM, we decided to explore the local area!

Silverdale is located in Washington state, in the north of America, just next to Canada. Seattle is the main city, however Silverdale is a pleasant town about an hour's drive out! 

We had our first meal of the states, a brunch, at Burger King! I had chicken nuggets, fries, and a lemon ice drink! It was pretty delicious, the portion sizes were bigger, but the lemon drink was really tart! I wore the crown.

I'll also now mention a sponsor for my trip: TelecomSquareUSA! They provided me with this device for the duration of my trip to the States. This device is a mobile WiFi unit, which means that I could stay connected even when out-and-about in the country! As a blogger and internet addict, it was so useful, and super-fast, out-performing the hotel WiFi by leagues. It costs $12.95/day, and I would really recommend it. You can connect multiple devices, so maybe you and a friend could split the cost! The battery lasted about 10 hours before needing to be recharged,and that was with heavy usage and two devices connected. Impressive!

http://mobilewifi.telecomsquare.us

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After our BK Breakfast, we went for a walk to see the local area! America, so far, was very anti-pedestrian, and so vast in comparison to Britain! So we couldn't really go very far on foot. Even still, it was a beautiful day, so we sat by the beach for a while! 

We found a mall, and I went shopping! You can see the contents of what I bought in my Seattle/Idol Matsuri Haul, which I recommend you watch!              www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGCPw2WU8AI

In the evening, it was time for Orientation, for all of the guests to attend. 

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Orientation was to meet with Bethany, the co-founder of the event. She ran me through my schedule, and I had the opportunity to rehearse! Admittedly, I was too tired to do so, and I was desperately hungry, so we went off in search of dinner! 

Taco Bell was only next door ♥ I had never been before, nor had I had a taco, so I was excited to try it! The staff were really helpful, as we had never really had Mexican food before. I had this Doritos Locos Cool Ranch Taco, which was so good! It was a Dorito shell, with mincemeat, lettuce, and cheese in it, with the cool ranch sauce. I will gladly eat one a day for the rest of my life.

Sparkles* had a Quesarito (Quesadilla Burrito Combination), which he said was great! He also had a Baha Blast, which I tried a little of (I don't like fizzy drinks! But it was still pretty good!)

We retired to the hotel, not before the evening light gave me this glory! I hope you feel free merely by the sight. 

All in all, I was feeling very good for my first day in America! Please look forward to Episode 2: Idol Matsuri!