I just came back from a long road trip and decided to use it to start off (or more likely continue) a vlog series on my main channel called "Hello, World". It's less of the talk-ey, every day live vlogs that you can find on my second channel, but more of a documenting, fun kind of vlog series.
I recently got myself a new set up (as you might have seen in my current videos), inlcuding a DSLR camera. I am going to make a post about my new equipment later, but for now... Enjoy!
Welcome to Hogwarts!
As I already mentioned I went on a trip for work and on my way back made a quick stop in Osaka to visit Universal Studios! I wanted to go for quite a while, mainly for the Harry Potter themed area called Wizarding World. Despite having spend two years of my life in London, England, I barely got to go wizard-related sightseeing and have only been to Platform 9 3/4 during my last week before moving to Japan... I am however a big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, and recently got to introduce some of my friends who never read the books or watched any of the movies through Fantastic Beasts. To me it was hard to believe there are generations that didn't grow up reading the novels, when it was obvious; I just can't imagine a world without?!
Butterbeer and Wands
Even though it serves as a great backdrop, the castle isn't accessible, unlike several shops from Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, which were conveniently mashed together, for obvious spacing reasons, which wasn't that great on the fan heart, however easier to navigate around and buy presents for friends and family as well as some souvenirs.
Most popular seemed to be butterbeer, which comes with take-home cups (for a little extra) and wands.
Yes, actual wands!
Wands are designed for the themed attractions around the world and have an actual light and sensor to perform spells as you could see in my video. There are several designs to chose from... At Ollivanders!
Apart from the park-only wands (which come in an Ollivanders box and wand bag) you can also buy replicas of the movie wands by character.
Since you can easily get them online - or at 9 3/4 - I went for two park-only wands.
If you buy a uniform, the robe comes with a wand-sized pocket.
In terms of uniforms you can actually get every single part of it, including Quidditch sweaters and uniforms, ties and pins. Most popular - and affordable - seem to be the scarves.
During cold weather they serve hot Butterbeer as well which tasted slightly different from the cold one... I wonder where the difference lies?
Go to Attraction, Become the Attraction
Apart from the crowds - which aren't thinning out at any point of the day by the way - I got nothing else to complain about... Oh yeah... The Gaijin Attraction (TM).
Whether it's for being recognized or fitting into either the beauty ideal or getting mistaken for park staff - in hindsight I really wish I knew which of these it was that made me attract what felt like 99% of the high schoolers visiting USJ. I don't wan't to seem ungrateful for the attention, but it lately really got to me on a completely different level.
I used to appreciate being asked for pictures out on the streets, especially when I dressed up. However I was there to have a good time, take pictures and video clips for my channel and I got to spend more time getting taken pictures of than actually walking around enjoying myself.
I was on the verge of tears when my manager finally got to pull me aside... More than once, to sneak into a shop and escape the madness.
Again, I am really thankful for people who appreciate me dressing up - be it at USJ or in Harajuku or wherever - but it's also the reason I am wearing it out less and less... And it makes me kind of sad, because I always used to dress up for myself or my own material (photos, videos), and getting sneakily photographed walking down a street makes me uncomfortable. When asking for a snapshot or two is okay, please don't overdo it or crowds keep piling up and hours go by.
This applies way more to wearing J-fashion than low-key cosplaying at USJ, but I could go on about this forever. If you want a lot of pictures, come to open photoshoot events (you can even request costumes at those), or catch me at conventions, when I got time for it!
This doesn't just apply to me, I saw a lot of my friends posting about being uncomfortable when they got to Harajuku. Less because of high schoolers asking for pictures but because of sneaky photographers. Be considerate and it's all a-okay!
Overall I had a great time at USJ and Osaka in general, though I was really worn-out from my trip, I was glad to be back in colder temperatures, got to see the castle and try my best at spell-casting.
Back in Tokyo I spent the whole weekend on a Harry Potter marathon, which I highly recommend to anyone whether you have seen all movies so far or haven't had the chance to do so yet.
Until next time,