Thank you for helping with our flower at the Aisute event. You can read Paranda’s write-up here. I’m just going to post some pictures and videos of the flowers at the event.
And maybe talk about it a bit. Apologies in advance for the shakey cam and blurry cellphone photos.
These videos and photos are here to just give you an idea how it’s like at the event. An event like a radio public recording is on the low end of flower giving and typically it’s for big lives that flowers are worth the while for both fans and industry (as big lives will involve more people putting the show together). I think Aisute’s second public event is worth it, so that was the driving force behind it.
We found out about Akihabara-based Hananoki shop, who used to run a cafe but now is doing this otaku flower thing full time. It’s just one guy. Thus far you can either special order flowers, or in some cases he will help coordinate a crowdfund for a flower. Typically that’s how it’s done in Japan, as fans of the same specific thing will find each other and that’s how the word gets across and money gets raised. For example, at CG 2nd Reichama got a Swallows flower set, so that’s a very, very specific group of fans (and there were dozens of them) that each put in maybe 1000 yen or so. As a general rule a flower wreath costs in the ballpark of 30,000 yen. A really fancy one can be north of 50,000. A simple one can be as low as 20,000.
Anyways, I came up with the design, and with HPT’s help we were able to communicate and then pay for it. Much props go to the two other Ps who helped, as communicating the details can be difficult and time-consuming between multiple parties. But in general that’s how it will go for an oversea effort to send flowers. It begins with finding a flower shop, and contacting them.
Designing the flower begins with a concept that you want. A common theme people do is getting an illustration and putting the congratulatory messages with it or on a different plate. The contributors also get listed in a crowdfunding case. In this case we decided to just put a reference to a radio show episode using symbols. If you do provide an illustration, please make sure it is original. I suppose if you have permission to use a certain existing graphics, you can, but that’s lame. And if you don’t know if you have permission, don’t even bother. Get an artist to draw something new if you’re going with that. It’ll be worth the effort.
The congratulatory message is fairly straightforward and we basically just put down the key info. It’s important to put down where you are from if you are an oversea group. In HPT’s case it’s simply “oversea” even if some HPT members are actually in Japan… Well, you get the idea. We specified the message in Japanese, but most of these flowers have the same message formatting so that part of the process is fairly straightforward.
Once you have a concept, it is important to put it into a picture or a sketch so everyone understands what the end result is suppose to look like. Usually it’s probably best to give freedom to the flower arranger to work out the details that are not directly related to the message you are sending, as a lot of it impact the overall cost and the shop is in a better position to make these kinds of decisions. It also saves on communication.
The cost of flowers will vary depending on what colors you select as color determines the type of flowers to be used. The structure of the wreath also matters in that regard. The density of the flower is another variable (rather, the number of flowers used), as generally dense looking stands look better, but cost more. Any prop will add to the cost (such as balloons or multi-tier stands). In some cases, the organizer can provide the printed plate for the flower, but flower shops will usually do that for you too if requested.
In general it’s best taste to refrain from breaking format on the messages on the flowers, but if you have a creative concept that’s outside the norm, do bounce it with the flower shop folks. It’s always important to keep in mind the purpose of these wreaths–to congratulate your favorite people for being able to do an event. It’s both a cultural/traditional thing and there’s still room for creativity. Just don’t go overboard, at least, when the occasion doesn’t allow for it.
On that note, typically these otaku events will post rules on the event pages regarding flower wreaths. Please be aware that more and more events are banning them entirely, because these flowers can take up a lot of space and not every venue has the space. Plus it’s one more thing the organizers of the event has to worry about. In the case where that’s banned, fans typically will send bouquets or baskets of flowers for specific performers. Those will go into the green rooms for the performers, so you typically won’t get to see them unless the performers post pictures of them on social media.
In some cases the venue will also request the flower shops to take back the flower after the event, for pickup. In that case you can give permission for the flower shop to keep the flower or go pick up the flowers from the shop.
Anyways, this post is getting too rambling so let me summarize. First, come up with a concept, then find a shop, then inquire. Have a lot of patience and flexibility. Communicate in Japanese. Be prepared to pay by bank transfer. Look up the policy for the event and communicate that. Make sure your flower stand is appropriate. Commission art work if necessary.