As promised i am back with my version of the Dewata Anime Festival 2015 that was supposed to happen earlier last month but due to unforeseen circumstances was cancelled because of a scam that happened right under our noses.
Before the whole Bali thing, when i first decided to YOLO and buy my Japan trip tickets with あなた that was back in December 2014 and fast-forward about 3 months before my trip i was approached by the DAF organizers seeking me to be a guest for their event which i was super stoked. You had no idea how over the moon i was to be invited for my first international appearance but the catch was it was clashing with my Japan trip which was confirmed on the same month of あなた's iaido exam.
Part of the reason why i wanted to go Japan was to also see & support あなた as he took his 2nd dan grading (he passed with flying colors! But i'll save that for another post) and i promised myself that i wouldn't missed it for the world. But guess i jinxed it.
Imagine how torn i was between this DAF event & あなた's exam. Thank god i managed to discuss things with the organizers to have my slot on the first day so i can fly off to Japan on the 2nd day of DAF in time to catch あなた's exam (3rd day of DAF).
The arrangement itself sounds hectic, but i felt this was all worth it for a once in a lifetime experience flying non stop for 2 days from Malaysia to Bali and to Japan.
Hence after a delayed response from DAF organizers, managed to secure my appearance on the 1st day of DAF, so i changed my flight ticket to 3rd Oct (あなた's exam was on 4th) and was to arrive around 11pm, Japan timing.
From there signed contracts were exchanged and all seems to be good, so I started investing to make a new costume, think i spent about close to $350 on my new costume materials, sew them together about 90% completed..despite having to blog and work my full time day job, that was really tiring but i didn't mind the expenses because i really wanted to visit you guys in Bali. For that period of time I was left alone with no latest updates from Eka which was kinda worrying, but i was too busy focusing on finishing my DAF costume.
All the response i got was to hold on and be patient about it, i don't mean to rush people but flight arrangements and Visa isn't something you can just do/ inform a 3rd party last minute.
That's when i felt things were going south (fishy) with this event, even 5 days before the event i still wasn't given any confirmation about my flight nor visa when it was already promised.
That particular same week as well as i asked Eka (one of the organizers whom i alias with) i noticed the event changed location again from the Beach to a god knows what cultural field. Prior before the beach location i heard it was somewhere else which means the organizers changed the event venue a total of 3 TIMES!
Really fishy liao, but like i said i don't like to assume because coming from a background that deals with events lots of shit is bound to happen from my experience and their case somehow seems the worst that's why i thought it was best to cut them so slack (regretting that decision now).
Eka was genuinely nice to answer all my inquires and was quick to revert too, i guess he is also just another victim in this whole scam like the rest of the other committee members under DAF15. He even helped me to procure the meet and greet date early to help fit my travel my schedule, for that i was grateful.
I take back those words, DAF apparently has a very bad history as organizers for the Indonesia ACG community, after reading Pinky LuXun's post about them cancelling on her twice after promising makes me wish i had approached Pinky earlier for advice :-/
So i waited a few more days (final week before DAF) and felt this was seriously the last straw because there wasn't any news and the event was 3 days away, (it was 29th sept, when i was getting my hair done at Daisuke salon) i messaged Eka on facebook to ask one last time and the reply i got was devastating. The event has been cancelled and they couldn't inform us earlier till the very last minute.
I literally stoned in the saloon till i was done at 8pm, as didn't know how i was to react to the news.
Till i reached home at 10pm to have finally broken down and cry non stop because everything i initially planned was now useless. I had no accommodation in Japan and i don't think i want to waste my precious work leave by staying in KL 3 days before my Japan flight, so i've decided to change it again on the same flight as あなた that's when i discovered there was a penalty of $700. Sigh..
Here i am going to leave the screenshot of the whole arrangement and conversation from start to end, so you guys can be the judge of it.
Whether I am personally taking this blow too hard by labeling it a scam or publicly trying to bad mouth them or whatever. Because i couldn't care less already, i feel that i have the rights to voice out my disappointment just life every other guest cosplayers.
Instead, i was left hanging by the organizers just like everyone else especially those who purchase tickets from them and all. Worst part of it is none of us were given any compensation (for our costumes and others) after all that has happened!
What i am concern about is they have a copy of my Passport to "apply" for flight ticket and work Visa, wonder if i should just cancel my passport before anything else happens.
If you guys are curious to read about Pinky LuXun's part of the story you guys can read it HERE
Lesson learnt harsh and well from this, never trust events so easily. And the homework and background check i did on this company was deep enough, needs to be much more than just googling :-/
I'll make sure this mistake won't happen to myself or other cosplayers again near future if we were to be invited as a cosplay guest overseas. Even though it's has been my dream to get such opportunity but sadly it ended unpleasantly. Hopefully i would get this opportunity again near future as i believe things happened for a reason. Better to tell me cancel while in still in Malaysia than to leave my and the rest stranded in a foreign country all alone right?
I still clearly recall this case once a cosplayer (can't remember her name) from Europe who was conned of her belongings and money upon agreeing to attend an ACG event as a Guest cosplayer.
She did her homework too about the company and all, but still became a victim and worst of all she was left stranded miles away from her country with nothing. That experience is definitely going to leave a huge scar on anyone, so my advice to up and coming cosplayers please don't be so easily lured into such baits. Be careful, know you rights, always ask for a B&W as that could be your savior at times.
For my case the contract was useless, i can't claim any damage nor loss from it and to bring it up as a case would be a total waste of time and more money. I rather have nothing to do with these people anymore, washing my hands clean and hope to never hear or see their faces again.
No thank you for the terrible first time experience but i do want my Indonesia/Bali friends to know that it wasn't my intention to give you the impression that i'm holding grudge against your county or anything.
It really broke my heart to see you guys upset and thinking i hated your country.