Walking from Earl’s Court tube station and spotting several Gogo Yubari’s, Princess Kitana’s and a Princess Serenity, we were reassured that we were headed in the right direction and about to enter a land of hardcore J-culture lovers at Hyper Japan 2013.
Hyper Japan has been running for 3 years and runs for 3 consecutive days, offering exhibits of traditional culture from martial arts to music and Japanese cuisine, to the contemporary craziness of cosplay, Nintendo and all the outrageously kitsch fashion items and toys you could possibly need.
For those whose love of Japanese Culture is along the lines of Hello Kitty and Totoro plush toys, there was a lot on offer, however nothing which couldn’t be found around the stalls in Camden Lock Market. The main attraction for this event would be the stage performances which included Geisha’s performing traditional dance and music, a cosplay fashion show, quirky technodelic music from the Japanese performance group SIRO-A, Japanese pop stars and robotic innovation by the pioneering Japanese company ITK.
The exhibition hall was adequately filled with enough variety to interest and satisfy all walks of J-culture appreciators. If you needed to update your collection on Japanese film, Manga and Anime, samurai swords or language books, there was a stall for that. Manga portraits, personalised fans, even some guidance on creating your own manga character could all be equipped for. Japanese Horoscope and Palm reading was available for the spiritualists and the curious and there was plenty of cuisine sampling to partake in. Dressing up as an obscure cosplay character wasn’t mandatory to the enjoyment of browsing (though having prosthetic wings, tentacles or weapons probably helped with the crowd bustling) and children as well as adults seemed enthralled by the hyper environment.
For those planning to attend next year's event, the recommended time of arrival would be around 11am. The queues outside were small and there was still enough room around the food stalls to take note of what it was that you were queuing for. Come lunch time we were informed that queues outside were spanning to 3 hour waits and it was easier to join any queue at any food stall only to finally be greeted with the realisation that you’ve been queuing an awfully long time for some octopus balls. (Which were delicious.)
A big thank you to Hyper Japan for creating an event not just for cosplay and cherry blossom enthusiasts, but something for anyone who’s curious to learn more about the culture, traditions and craziness of one of the world’s most innovative and extraordinary countries.
Visit the Hyper Japan website: www.hyperjapan.co.uk
Follow Hyper Japan on Twitter: @hyperjapanevent