Anime Fest 2017 and Hell’s Gate Updates

I made it, I did it, and whew are conventions hard on me! For those that aren’t aware, I am what’s known high-functioning autistic. (Formerly known as Asperger) Large, crowded events really aren’t my thing. But, strangely enough, I love presentations. For reasons even unknown to me, I’ve enjoyed doing presentations since I was a kiddo. Especially when I get to talk about the things I love. Like scary, spooky things that go bump in the night.

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After years of CBT, I’m able to make it through walking around but these events have always felt alien to me and extremely uncomfortable. The only way I can truly be happy is behind a camera, or up on stage. Two extremely odd things for most people─ but somehow, I’m one with the goat and much enjoy sitting in high places above people as I talk about my childhood loves.

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I’ll have con footage up soon, and show all the great people I saw at this year’s event. In all honesty, A-Fest has been one of my all-time favorite shows and still continues to be. It was very well coordinated, and the staff was on top of things and quick to help and answer any questions that I had.

Hell’s Gate

Book two is finally here! Get ready for its October release in a big way. I had a few people at the convention ask when book two would finally be out and I will have an official release date this week. For those that aren’t aware, Hell’s Gate is a series comprised of three books. You can see my interview covering my adventures here:


Suffice it to say, if you like J-Fashion, J-Culture, Urban Legends and Mythology mixed in with adventures, this is your cup of tea. It is what is known as a Dark Fantasy and because of my love for genre-bending, it has horror elements and urban legends.

If you have an affinity for the dark side like me, you can also find my podcasts and my thriller audiobooks/audio-stories on YouTube

Enjoy, my friends and as always, stay creepy. More announcements on HG coming soon.

xoxoxo

─C.A.

Otaru Snow Light Path Festival/Sapporo Snow Festival

This awesome winter festival or , ‘小樽雪あかりの路, Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi’, is a romantic winter destination held every February in Otaru. This lighted path festival lasts 10 days so that it coincides with the Sapporo Snow Festival. This makes it easier for travelers in Hokkaido to visit both festivals on the same trip.

The wintry handmade beauties make you feel as if you are in a dream.

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The fallen snow of the town combined with the hand-made snow lights make it a highly sought after destination. With over 500,000 visitors annually, it’s no joke! The spectacular lighted path festival has been around since 1999.  To help contribute to the merriment, many locals display lanterns in front of their shops and homes, adding to the festival spirit.

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The creators’ idea for this festival is this: They want the people visiting to feel calm and easy, to focus on the leisurely nature of the area, the glow of the candlelight, and have time to reflect on themselves. The goal is to make you forget about life, and focus on yourself and the pleasant feelings you get rather than our more hectic day-to-day life. The hope, is that this festival will continue to be a spiritual event rather than a commercially oriented festival.

 

However, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.

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And with the two main areas located within a fifteen minute walk of the train station, travelers can easily take their time and enjoy the town’s atmosphere on foot.

The “Unga Kaijo,” area which is located along 300 meters of the town’s famous canal, is lined with restored warehouses and gas lamps. The canal is covered with small buoys that hold candles. Lining the path beside the water is a row of small snow statues that hold candles. The canal is barely a ten minute walk from Otaru Station along the main road leading from the station.

And if you didn’t love it enough, here’s more of the view.

 

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Between the canal and the train station is the Temiyasen Kaijo area, which stretches for about half a kilometer along the tracks of the abolished Temiyasen railway line.

Otaru is a one day trip from Sapporo, which is  located in Hokkaido. It is 30 minutes from Sapporo. If you are traveling from Tokyo, take the plane to Sapporo and then the train to Otaru. The total trip time takes around 3 – 5 hours.

Access:

Location: Otaru City, Hokkaido Prefecture
When: February 3-14, 2017
Time: The sites are lit daily from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Cost: FREE
Official Website:
http://yukiakarinomichi.org/

Hell’s Gate Trilogy

Where did you get your inspiration?

Many moons ago, this lady had a childhood. (Don’t take that tone of thoughts with me, reader, I hear it in your mind words.) For what my mother lacked, she made up with books. Our family loved stories, and my stepfather could spin a tale. I grew up learning about Chinese and Japanese folklore.

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Though I was fond of many, the one that always stuck out in my mind was The Weaver and the Cowherd.

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In book one of the trilogy, Celeste walks the long corridor of Matilda’s home which is filled with intriguing paintings. This section of the story combines the Tale of the Jade Emperor and the 12 signs of the Zodiac as well as The Weaver and the Cowherd.

Similarly, you may have read or heard about the star crossed lovers with the celebration of Tanabata in Japan. The tales are similar, but vary slightly from China to Japan.

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The gist of the tales, is that the Weaver of the stars fell in love with a lowly cowherd boy. Zhinü (or Orihime in the Japanese version) was forbidden by the Jade Emperor (Sky King, or Tentei in Japan) to fall in love with Niulang (Hikoboshi in Japan) and was separated by the Silver River, which represents the Milky Way.

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The only time the lovers are allowed to meet are on the 7th day of the 7th month when a flock of magpies flies down to allow them to rejoin.

I encourage all of you to actually read the tales, they are quite fascinating. But just know that the theme of forbidden love is probably the oldest in human history and still manages to top the charts with sales in the romance section.

On that note, I refuse to write romance. That’s sissy stuff. I easily get annoyed and the eye rolls begin as I’m cringing through most overly-emotional shows or characters. Don’t get me wrong, a little romance never hurts, but when I see people on screen making dumb choices, my aspie self goes bananas. I’ve managed to offend most people with my rants on how Character A should just off Character F because they are a huge risk to the group. Their jaws drop and I get a 5 minute lecture on human compassion. Yes, compassion is fine and good, but senor bleeding heart mc-love machine needs to take a swan dive over the cliff. Love doesn’t cure the badies rounding the corner because some dude is raising a ruckus to save his already-dead gal’s dignity.

 

…um, she doesn’t need that nor can she feel it. She’s dead, lady. She’s dead. /rant.

 

Why am I telling you this? Because I did a little trickses in Hell’s Gate. Besides the hidden meanings and sayings within the passages, I left a bit of an Easter egg in the story. I’m quite fond of superstitions and find them wickedly delicious when playing tricks on others. To top that off, I start the first book in what seems to be a tale of a love-driven main character. By chapter two, the water works end and by the end of the book, we discover a very different side to her love interest. Just you wait until book 2. I’m practically cackling. Next blog? The life that has kicked my arse for the past two years, and up and coming WIP.