Just over a week ago I braved a 3.45 alarm to go to Hyper Japan Festival with my friend Becky and her friend Andy (who is not the same Andy as my Andy. My Andy was at Silverstone, looking at cars. Yes, this was confusing every time I mentioned something my Andy did.) Hyper Japan is an event which celebrates Japanese culture, with stalls selling Japanese (or Japanese inspired) merchandise, food and drink, along with a range of Japanese entertainment. It also involves cute things, eating things and sometimes eating cute things – what’s not to love?
Seriously, guys, it was amazing. There were so many stalls, so many events and so many cosplayers. You could paint masks, learn to felt, and ride in a rickshaw. People were selling fantastic handmade items, including jewellery, cushions and badges, and everyone was just so lovely. It’s probably the best event I’ve ever been to!
The event took place at Tobacco Dock in London, which is such a brilliant venue. It’s split into multiple rooms, which are spread over two floors, with a maze of corridors between them. I loved the cosiness of the smaller, themed rooms, and the magic of finding something new around every corner. Even if I did get lost a thousand times trying to find the toilets!
Here’s a little breakdown of what we did on the day!
You know how I was doing well with my saving goals? Yeah, that failed this month.
There were so many stalls at Hyper Japan, that it was literally impossible for me to stop myself buying things. There were stalls selling gaming merchandise, anime merchandise, DVDs, really cute fried egg shaped pillows, Japanese snacks, drinks and so much more. They even had a full room dedicated to Tofu Cute, which is one of my favourite companies ever. It was so difficult to decide what to buy because everything was so amazing!
Because I bought so much, I’ll be doing a separate haul post sometime next week, so please come back for that!
The gaming area at Hyper Japan was amazing. You could try out new Nintendo Switch games, view original illustrations from the One Piece manga and play a really cool-looking Death Note VR game. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the gaming room until later in the day so couldn’t get tickets for anything, but it looked fantastic. I’d definitely recommend visiting if you like gaming!
I’ll be honest, the selection of food available wasn’t the best, and the queues were ridiculous. We spent ages looking for somewhere that did ramen, but couldn’t find any anywhere, which was a bit of a disappointment. I ended up settling on aubergine fries, which were pretty tasty, and a salad, which I ate with chopsticks in the most unladylike way possible. I think most of the salad ended up on my thighs.
It was also incredibly difficult to find drinks at Hyper Japan. Some of the food places didn’t sell them, and the queues for the ones that did were horrendous. I practically begged Becky to get me one when she got her burger because I was so thirsty. Next time, I’m definitely buying a few while it’s quiet!
The entertainment schedule for Hyper Japan was one of the best entertainment schedules I’ve seen for any event ever. There was a wide variety of different performances including live music, martial arts, food-making contests and fashion shows.
We originally planned to see around ten events, but unfortunately didn’t have time to do them all. I did get to see a fantastic talk from Hirokatsu Kihara about his work on Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro and watched REOL (the best J-Pop band I’ve ever seen) perform live to a very energetic crowd, which was so good. I also watched a shirtless man getting stood on by his karate students, saw Tokyo Rickshaw sing and watched Shinobi-Try showcasing their acrobatic martial arts skills, a performance which culminated in the weirdest ninja-pose ever from me. For some reason, when posing with Shinobi-Try, I crossed my arm over myself really awkwardly and did some weird superhero-style punching thing. Because that’s what I think ninjas do. It was not pretty.
The Sake Experience
You know what’s not a good idea? Booking a fast-paced sake tasting when you’re not a big drinker. You know what’s also not a good idea? Getting sake in your eye.
Yes. The Sake Experience was not the most dignified event for me. I somehow didn’t realise it would involve so much drinking and how fast-paced it would be. We literally went to a stand, downed some sake, got asked questions like ‘can you taste the peach’ and got moved along to the next stand to repeat the process. I managed to try six sakes before admitting defeat, rubbing my tired eyes, and crouching in a corner to try and get the sake out of my eye. And, to top it off, a photographer decided to take some photos of me sweating as hot tears streamed down my face.
If I find them on the Internet I’ll let you know.
Despite all this, I did have a lot of fun learning about the different types of sake. Each company gave a fantastic explanation of their products and we were also provided with a lovely booklet about the history and production of sake. And, because I loved the samples I did drink, I ended up buying myself a small bottle to drink (and rub in my eyes) at a more relaxed pace. Yes!
Overall, it was an amazing day, and I came home with tonnes of bags, a cuddly octopus (see next post) and a massive smile on my face. I’ll definitely be going again!