Monday, September 10, 2012

Tracon & the Finnish World Cosplay Summit Preliminaries

So, as of you may already know from my constant ranting on twitter on Saturday, I attended Tracon in the city of Tampere!

Tracon is a rather large Roleplaying & Anime/Manga convention here in Finland, well, large compared to Austrian conventions at least :'D It said somewhere that around 7.000 people attend the convention, so that would make it about the size of Aninite.

I was there for one day only, and it was.... well.... kinda.... well let's just say I have mixed feelings about that day and what happened there :'D
Firstly, the timing was just really really bad. When I wrote E-Mails with my tutor before I came here, she told me about Tracon and I told her about Aninite. I then asked her if I could attend Tracon with her and her friends - IF they really didn't mind hanging around a "stranger" who doesn't even speak their language. She assured me that it would be no problem and said it would be okay if I wanted to join in. She organized a ticket for me, and even arranged for someone to pick me up and give me a ride there!
So, the main reason why I wanted to do all this, was because I thought a convention in a different country might be fun, though I already knew I wouldn't be able to attend the pannels and events due to the language barrier. But there was a big mistake in my assumptions cause I thought Tracon would be in November, because I confused it with some other convention she told me about. I thought by then, I would have maybe already met some of her friends, and I planned on ordering a Lolita dress to wear for the occasion too. I was actually really looking forward to this, when I realized few days before my departure from Austria, "Heck, this is gonna be in less than two weeks!!"
Okay, so I wrote her again to reassure myself that it's okay for her friends if I come with them and hang around with them. I already knew she wouldn't have time all day to stay with me, because she was supposed to work at the convention too. She told me it's gonna be okay, they really don't mind, they already got my ticket and they even already asked her when I would finally come to Finland!

I thought that was really sweet and well.... I just thought they were looking forward to meet me, maybe. Just as I was looking forward to meet people with the same interests!

But when the day finally arrived and I got up at 06:00 to get ready and dress up, and they picked me up at around 07:00, the awkwardness started. At first I was very afraid to hop on the wrong car with some strangers maybe, haha :'D But on Saturdays at 7am there are not many people around in a student village ^^" So I got into the right car, the girl to whom I've talked to before on the phone, arranging the meeting, introduced herself and her (boy?)friend, who was driving. I greeted them, sat down in the back and.... well, that was it, pretty much, concerning our conversation for the rest of the 2 hour trip from Turku to Tampere x__x
It was really, really weird.... and if you read my tweets you know how I felt. I really thought, they must hate me for dragging along. They must really, really loathe me for ignoring me like that. Before, when I met people in such situations, like when you have at least similar interests, you always find something to talk about. So I figured, them not talking to me must mean they don't like me.
At first they didn't talk to each other either, just some stuff about which road to take. But always only in Finnish. They didn't talk much during the whole trip, and though I thought, "Maybe they're just not very talkative" I was kinda sad that whenever they did talk, it was only in Finnish. Maybe it was my fault for not asking them about themselves, opening the conversation for some smalltalk. But when I attempted to, I quickly got the feeling that they didn't really wanna talk to me.

You can probably imagine that the 2 hour trip was quite frustrating that way. I decided to invest 2€ from my prepaid phone card to have mobile Internet during that they (I really really miss my mobile Internet flatrate I had at home .___.) to at least have something to do during the drive. *sigh*

We arrived at 09:00 but they wouldn't open the hall before 10:00. It was freaking cold! Though I wore two pairs of tights I was freezing, because in the morning I had thought it wouldn't be THAT cold. So anyway, we tried to pass that hour somewhere, somehow, and finally talked for a few words, but I felt really uncomfortable with every word I said that attempted to keep the conversation going, because it felt like they didn't want me to.... I only later realized, or at least started to think that it probably (hopefully) wasn't something personal, but rather also some kind of language barrier for them.

Tracon is held at a huge hall or conference center, or how you could call it, and I really really liked the location. There is a very nice park just right next to it, with a small lake, perfect for some cosplay photoshoots or the like :D
I didn't take much photos though. That episode in ther morning had kinda ruined my mood a bit and destroyed my motivation for capturing some good cosplays and outfits. Furthermore, I felt so bad that I started to feel ugly and misplaced in my pseudo-creepy-cute-whatever outfit and my stupid hairbuns :'D I quickly thought, I should have come in a more casual outfit.... but anway.

This little cute seal had a tag on it which said "Minä olen mansikka!" which means "I am a strawberry" XD I didn't buy it, though, it belonged to one of the guys I came to Tampere with.

I attended the opening ceremony with my tutor. They had a really cool dance group performing, and though the music was super loud and not really my taste, the show was pretty cool :D After that, we picked up a friend of hers from the railway station and then basically just wandered around and waited for some of my tutor's friends to join us for lunch. Four of us went to the nearby mall to find something to eat. First we went to the Pizza place, but it was super crowded, so somebody suggested the Chinese restaurant. I don't really like Chinese food, but I said I'm okay as long as they have some sushi or Thai food too. But since they had a Thai restaurant too there, we decided to got there and check out the menu....
It said they have an all-you-can-eat buffet, where you could have everything and anything (including sushi!) for 10€, so ewe decided to go there. After we had paid we went to the buffet.... to find it devastated D: There wasn't much left, and what made me really angry was the fact that there was no Thai food at all. -__- I was expecting to have at least Thai curry or something, but all they had left were fried stuff and stuff with sauces. And this is something I reeeeally can't eat without feeling sick afterwards, which is also the main reason why I don't really like Chinese food (at least the Chinese food you get here, in Europe, don't know about "real" Chinese food!). So.... the 10€ kinda went wasted though I told the others to eat as much as possible for me too. After some time they even brought sushi but it looked to weird.... My tutor said the salmon tasted like soap :'D And the nori looked like black duct tape XDDD

The great hall of the building, where the opening ceremony, cosplay contest and other large events were held. The ceiling was so pretty with all the lights ♥ I just wish I had a better photo....

After that we went back and spent some more time hangig around and watching other people, and also checking out the little "shops" or shopping areas. Even a Backstreet shop was there! :D But I didn't buy anything, cause I want to save my money for going to Helsinki soon ^^

There were a lot of really really good cosplays. A lot of them I didn't recognize, but they looked just so professional! I came to realize that the Anime and Manga that are popular in Finland are just different from the ones in Austria. Like we had for example quite a few Inuyasha, Bleach, Pokémon and Kingdom Hearts cosplays, I didn't see much of that at Tracon (except for Kingdom Hearts maybe. There was one guy actually dressing up as a Heartless! It was really cool :D). Many people did "Homestuck" Cosplays, a webcomic that I actually didn't know before I asked. Buuuuuut just like in Austria/Germany there were quite a lot Vocaloid cosplayers ^^ And what really surprised me, was to see that there are sooooo many really young kids attending the convention! There was a Hatsune Miku cosplaying kid who must have been around 7 or 8 XD Her wig was so long that it almost touched to floor! :'D
I also saw some Lolitas, most of them in Sweet, I recognized some of the clothes they were wearing because I've been browsing through BL's shop so much lately (more on that on another post ^^"). They all looked very pretty and had very nice coords. There was even one girl.... she looked just perfect. Really stunning. Everything, from hair to shoes was just so elegant and beautiful! But I never would have dared to ask her for a photo :'D

Well, about that language barrier thing....
A few times I thought about mustering the courage to go and ask someone if I may take their photo. But I somehow felt that people would be uncomfortable with me talking only in English .__. It was an awkward situation, and I guess probably most of them wouldn't have minded but...
Well, I met a few friends of my tutor too, and it was actually pretty much okay. There was this one girl, who was very sweet, because she would talk a lot to me and whenever someone else said something in Finnish only, she translated it for me ♥ I was very glad that she was with us, on the other hand, there was one girl who was talking Finnish only, even when it was just three of us (my tutor, her and me), and I really felt left out a little bit. But I soon came to realize that she probably just didn't feel very comfortable with speaking English. There was another girl where I'm pretty sure she didn't even actually understood a lot of what we said, because every time she was asked something in English to join in the conversation or something, she seemed a bit absent minded, as if she hadn't even listened, and someone usually translated what they just said to her in Finnish. 

So, all in all it made me realize that probably most people don't really do this on purpose but just because they feel uncomfortable with the foreign language.... for me it's kinda easy because I feel really comfortable with English, but I can imagine it how it would be for me if I had to speak, for example, French, which I learned at school and was quite good at, but still didn't get and don't have a lot of practice speaking!
During the cosplay contest for example, I was sitting next to a guy, who suddenly dropped his phone. When it fell on the floor the cover loosened and the battery came off, and as I noticed he didn't notice, well I picked it up and handed it to him, asking if it's his. He looked at me with some kind of shocked expression on his face, replied "Yes", took to phone from my hand, while sounding utterly suspicious (as if I had just stolen it out of his pants or something, lol) and proceeded to ignore me o_O It was... really weird, but anway ^^"
Anyway, there was basically only one show that I really wanted to attend, and that was the Preliminary to the World Cosplay Summit and the Cosplay contest of Tracon itself. It was actually pretty well executed, the show was never boring and the performances (especially of the Summit candidates) were very nice! I should have attended the Cosplay contest at Aninite too so I could make a comparison here, but well :'D
I just can say I really liked it a lot and in general, I was impressed of all the cosplays at Tracon, even those that didn't participate in the contest. It was inspiring to see so many good cosplays, and I really wish to make one on my own for next year! I just can't decide what to do, yet ^^"

So, I'll just show you some photos that I took during the show!

These two girls were my personal favourit because their show was just great, and really funny! They didn't win though. The cosplay was from Dog Days in case anybody knows the series. I didn't :'D

A Trinity Blood Cosplay (Caterina Sforza). They're costumes were pretty impressive!

Group shot before the winners were announced! The girls in with the spear-like weapons (Queens Blade Cosplay) won the contest. I don't have many good photos, unfortunately, because it took me a while to get the camera settings right.

A really cool Seras Victoria cosplay! Just look at that gun :D If I remember correctly this was one of the few photos I took from the "Beginner's cosplay contest". For a beginner, I think she was really really good! She didn't win, though.

Advent children Tifa! :D I had seen her off-stage before and the cosplay was reeeeeally good!


...and Vanille from FF XIII :D


No idea who that character is, but it looked quite nice :D

Lenne from FFX-2

Izanagi from Persona 4. He/she actually won the contest for advanced cosplayers ^^

A group shot of all the participants of the advanced contest! Click for full view. Also you can see all the guys I couldn't catch on stage :'D

The show was over after about an hour at around 18:00 and so I decided to give my tutor's friends a call (I had attended the show alone) to agree when and where to meet for a drive home. I asked them if they're okay leaving that early, because we had previously agreed on going back at around 20:00, but they said it's okay and they didn't want to see anything else anyway. They would have just waited for me if had taken any longer. So.... I finally came to realize that they probably don't hate me after all :'D They're both just reeeeally really quiet and probably somewhat shy. I'm rather shy myself when it comes to meeting new people and talking to them, so I kinda understand that, but I just somehow thought that this would work out more like all the times I met someone I only knew online before. In this case.... it was just really different, because we didn't really know each other at all before, and there was alos the language barrier....
We didn't talk on our way back home but I didn't really mind. I fell asleep for an hour or so, and when I woke up we were almost home. Before I got off, the girl asked me if I had enjoyed it.
"Yes" I said, and then I told myself, that if she hadn't just asked that question, I would have probably enjoyed the whole day much less.

So, if anybody of you are reading this by some sort of coincidence... anyone who I met at Tracon that day. I want to thank you for letting me drag along, even though you didn't even know me at all. I really hope that if we meet again, we can talk some more, maybe I'll be able to talk some Finnish by then, who knows :)

And as for Tampere - I really want to go back there soon, and see the city! But I'll tell you more about my plans for the next weeks and months another time :D
Thanks for reading!

Don't have any outfit pics btw, but it didn't look that good anyway :'D But maybe I'm gonna wear it again sometime when I get my new petticoat ^^

~  Translation ~

Letzten Samstag fand in Tampere (ca. 2 Stunden Autofahrt von hier) die Tracon statt, eine Rollenspiel/Anime&Manga Convention. Ich hatte noch vor meiner Anreise mit meinem Tutor besprochen dass ich mit ihr und ihren Freundinnen gerne gehen würde.... leider stellte sich das ganze als keine ganz so geniale Idee von mir heraus XD
Zunächst einmal, weil ich dachte die Con wäre viel später, erst im Oktober oder November, weil ich sie mit einer anderen verwechselte x__x Daher hatte ich auch zB keine Zeit, die Leute mit denen ich hinfahren würde kennenzulernen. So traf ich die beiden das erste mal als sie mich abholten.... Meine Tutorin war schon am Vortag mit dem Zug angereist. Die lange Autofahrt war der totale Horror, weil die beiden kein Wort mit mir sprachen D: Ich dachte sie seien genervt bzw wollten mich eigentlich gar nicht dabei haben (dabei hatte ich gefühlt 20 mal nachgefragt ob es okay wäre wenn ich mitkomme....) und ich fühlte mich in der Folge extrem unwohl. Generell wurde ich nicht so offen und freundlich aufgenommen wie ich es... ehrlich gesagt "erwartet" hatte. Bis auf ein Mädel, die sich sehr bemühte und mit mir immer auf Englisch sprach, und auch übersetzte wenn die anderen auf Finnisch sprachen, und meiner Tutorin, hatte ich eigentlich niemanden um mich zu unterhalten. Ich verstehe ja dass es doof ist wenn man nicht gut Englisch kann oder sich nicht traut.... nur hätte ich mir gewunschen dass die mir dann vorher sagen dass es keine gute Idee ist wenn ich mitkomme, oder mich vorwarnen sollen dass eben nicht alle so gut Englisch können x___x Zunächst dachte ich ja wirklich die können mich einfach nicht leiden, aber dann hab ich gemerkt dass es wohl wirklich primär die "Sprachbarriere" ist. Allgemein reagierten dort manche Leute regelrecht geschockt wenn sie bemerken dass man kein Finnisch spricht oder sie auf Englisch anspricht (so geschehen bei nem Typen der Handy fallen ließ, ich hob es für ihn auf und fragte ihn ob es seines sei, worauf er mich ganz irritiert ansah und nur "Yes" sagte, sich nichtmal bedankte und mich dann wieder ignorierte. Es kam mir vor als würde er mich für eine Diebin halten die ihm das Handy eben aus der Tasche gezogen hatte D:).
Deswegen habe ich auch kaum Fotos gemacht... einerseits weil ich mich selbst extrem unwohl fühlte und demotiviert war, andererseits weil ich Angst hatte die Leute anzusprechen .____. Dabei waren wirklich viele gute Cosplays dabei! Außerdem fand die Ausscheidung zum "World Cosplay Summit" statt, und auch der normale Cosplay Contest war spannend mit wirklich guten Kostümen. Das hat in mir nur noch mehr den Wunsche rweckt, nähsten Sommer selbst ein Cosplay zu machen :D
Alles in allem ein Tag auf den ich mit sehr gemischten Gefühlen zurückblicke... es war eine tolle Erfahrung, ich wünschte ich hätte mehr Mut und Selbstvertrauen gehabt Leute anzusprechen, dann wäre ich stellenweise nicht so einsam gewesen, aber auch so war es recht spannend.  Nur eben nicht so wie ich es mir vorgestellt hatte. Aber wer weiß, vielleicht treffe ich die Leute ja noch ein paar Mal und irgendwann bricht das Eis XD


  1. Mach dir nicht so viele Gedanken wegen den Finnen und deren Verschlossenheit. Das hat absolut nichts mit dir zu tun, die sind einfach so und so reaktionen sind total normal. Wenn man sich öfters sieht, tauen die auf, die brauchen ne Weile! <3

  2. Oh in dieser Situation hätte ich mich wohl auch mehr als unwohl gefühlt!
    Aber schon als du das beschrieben hast,und auch dann selbst das angebracht hast,denke ich auch,dass es zum größten teil an der Sprach Barriere lag:)

    Liebe Grüße!

  3. oh, ich habe deine umfrage nicht gesehen, sonst hätte ich eindeutig für ja gestimmt! :)

  4. Hmm ich kann schon verstehen, das du sich unwohl gefühlt hast, hätte ich wahrscheinlich auch. Habe aber immer gedacht, dass die Leute in Finnland, vor allem die jüngeren, kein Problem mit englisch haben ...

  5. Whoa, das hätte ich nicht gedacht, dass sie in Finnland so wenig Englisch sprechen! Dabei heißt es immer, dass die nordischen Länder sehr gut in englisch sind, weil sie keine Synchros haben.
    Ich war die letzten Tage in Frankreich und da ging das noch besser voran, dabei sind die Franzosen auch absolut abgeneigt vom englischen. Die Pförtnerin der Uni hat sich schlicht geweigert, uns was auf englisch zu erklären und hat uns auf französisch gesagt, dass wir einen studi zum übersetzen herholen sollen. die pförtnerin! an einer großen uni!
    Um so entsetzter war ich, als ich wieder in deutschland war und die hoteldame einen gast anpflaumte dafür, dass er plötzlich auf englisch sprach, weil sein deutsch eben sehr schlecht war. ich dachte, in deutschland ginge das einigermaßen... sie hätte wenigens sagen können, dass sies nicht kann, weil sie im osten damals russisch lernten, aber nicht so rumpflaumen.

    ich war beim german world cosplay summit, das war auch cool ^^ In der Jury saß auch ein Finnischer Cosplayer.
    Das erste Mal cosplay wettbewerb schauen ohne selber jury zu sein, yay! zurücklehnen und genießen.
    Die freien wettbewerbe rechne ich jetzt nicht mit. die auftritte waren so schlecht, dass ich meistens schon sehrfrüh gegangen bin. ist eben immer nur sinnloses schlechtes getanze oder irgendwas yaoiartiges :(

  6. Yeah, like everyone has already written in German (ja, ich kann auch Deutsch aber lieber möchte auf Englisch schreiben, weil mein Englisch besser ist), it is not your fault that the Finns didn't speak that much to you (and no, we don't hate you) as it is our nature to stay quiet and we are naturally very reserved people (yes, we don't easily even speak to other Finns if we don't know each other atleast a bit). This nature is then even more multiplied when people meeting are nerds and geeks such as in Tracon. Some Finns might be afraid to use English as they think their skills aren't good enough but most can strike up conversation if you just start it with them (we don't usually do smalltalk so we need to be pushed into it). All in all, I hope you had fun at Tracon and visit next year if possible :)

    - Just another quiet Finn

    1. Thank you very much for your comment!
      I actually had not known that such a thing as small talk does not really exist in Finland/Finnish culture. However, it was mentioned in my first Finnish class, and it just explained a lot. If I had known that at that time I guess I would have felt much less awkward :'D
      Especially since I had already met before some people from Finland. Three exchange students from the university I'm working at went to our uni last year and with one of them I even became quite close friends, and we actually did talk a lot every time we were together, so I somehow thought "That thing about Finns not talking so much must be a cliché!" XD

      But sometimes it's really hard to know if people are just very reserved or don't really like you... coming from a country where a lot of people have prejudices against foreigners (unfortunately) I am usually suspecting the latter, which probably caused these uneasy feelings :(

      But anway, thanks a lot for commenting! Tracon was great and I really enjoyed seeing so many great cosplays. Visting next year again would be great, maybe I can spend my summer holidays in Finland before university starts in 2013 :D


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