"Hajimemashite, Donna Pedaci, nice to meet someone else that's local that wants to do Japanese Steampunk! I'm new here as well, (should probably log on more often (>_<)' ) and I'm also very interested in it. If I…"
"iIwish I could have gone, but I didn't get to the Art museum until nearly 1pm and I had no way of calling, so Sakuma-san and I decided to go home. Hopefully we will be able to make it to the next event. What's coming up next?"
"I too will be there, albeit somewhat late as my Japanese Meetup group will be letting out exactly at noon. (>_<)' I too will be there, but this time I will have Sakuma-san, my Asian Ball-Jointed Doll with me."
"I basically hung out near Artists' Alley and the Dealer's room, but I did catch some of the wrestling match. I thought it was pretty funny! I missed the Yaoi panel I wanted to go to though, couldn't stay as late as I wanted…"
I'm new to actually becoming steampunk, but I've loved the ideas behind it for years! I'm also an Otaku [manga/anime fan], but ever since I saw Steamboy in the theater when it first came here to America, I've wanted to actually try to get in touch with my steampunk-ness. One of my Asian Ball-Jointed Dolls (BJD) is also steampunk, so I'd love to be steampunk together. (^_^)
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Sometimes you can find great stuff at thrift stores, though they vary widely- some will just have boring stuff.
Sprockets and Lockets is also a good place to check. Her prices are very low, and you will know the size and condition of what you're buying. She is also on SPE and is an anime fan.
I get the impression that western dress was becoming more common in the Meiji period, so you could start out with that and add Japanese touches as you go along. If you don't look particularly Japanese, you could also be one of the O-yatoi gaikokujin that "went native" after your contract expired.