29th December 2011: Let's Go!! ... swords and and photoshoots So, I have officially now started on this cosplay~ SO EXCITED, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND.
I got a pair of 40" wooden bokken for Christmas from my mum (see photo) - admittedly, they are not the officially colour of Souji's swords, BUT I actually choose the hilt binding colour out of my own preference, since the swords will be used, probably, for many future cosplays to come - I figured a more neutral colour, such as the gold-brown that the hilt is, would be more useful in the long run.
Both swords are, of course, wooden, so that I'm able to take them to events with me (I discovered the true horror that is posing without a prop in October just gone), though I would like to acquire a metal sword sometime in the future, even if it's only to borrow for the photoshoot. Also, both swords have full length scabbards, which just increases the posing opportunities~ I LOVE SWORDS. I LOVE BEING A COSPLAYER. When else do you get to play dress up with nice shiny new weapons?
We also had some exciting news regarding the inevitable Hakuouki photoshoot that we will be doing sometime either over Easter, or more likely, in the summer, with these new cosplays. I'd been searching for a potential location for some time - obviously, finding a suitable, Oriental-themed park or garden is difficult in England... seeing as we are rather lacking. I had a look at the pagoda in kew Gardens, which, despite being perfect and stunningly beautiful, is, of course, in London, some 2 and a half hour drive away from us down here in the West country.
So, I went to Google and did some digging. A lot of digging. But it all came up very fruitful when I made a discovery - a privately owned, Chinese garden suituated near Westbury, a town about a 30 minute drive/short train journey from where I live. I checked out the website and discovered that the garden was only open to the public two days a year - both in July (obviously, we could not rely on just two days, as the weather might be shoddy, and there might be members of the public there not comfortable with us wandering around with swords and large camera tripods).
I emailed the two owners of the garden that night, explaining our situation - that we are an local amatuer costume group (I daren't try to explain cosplay in my first email), and that we were looking for a location to shoot some Oriental-themed costumes we were (are) making. Lo and behold, one of them emailed my back within the hour, saying this:
Of course your goup would be welcome to use our garden for a photoshoot! It’s a bit cold and desolate during the winter but the hard structures like pavilions, archways and moon gate are still interesting. It would probably be a lot more fun to come when the Spring arrives and there is more vegetation around, but just send us an email suggesting when you’d like to come and we’ll respond. I’m very interested in textiles and would love to see your new creations."
Additionally, we have basically been given the run of the garden on any day of our choosing, which means no other people to obstruct our photos, and that we can have all of our props and camera equipment without being told off~ HAPPY DAYS.
Check out some of their own photos of their garden here: