Something a little different today, I’m sure a lot of you know I’m a huge fan of Japanese culture & I’m always mentioning it’s the one place I’d love to visit more than anywhere else. We did Hyper Japan a few years ago (here) & had such a great day that when I heard it’d now been moved to the larger Earls Court One I had to go along again & check it out. Ollie is shooting festivals all summer & couldn’t make it, so I took my cousin along (who is probably even more of a Japanophile than I am!) to help me with photos. We had the best day, and honestly I couldn’t recommend going along more now that it’s bigger & better than ever before.
This year they were big on the kawaii theme, dedicating a whole area to it with a separate stage for lolita fashion shows & live performances, plus shops & stalls selling everything from pastel wigs to outfits, accessories & adorable cuddly alpacas. Talking of alpacas, it seemed everyone walking around had one tucked under their arms or in their bags, of course I couldn’t resist either & had to get myself a little one – You didn’t go to Hyper Japan unless you can home with an alpaca! It was nice to see there were a lot more clothing & accessory stalls this year, with a lot of them being independents too. Despite the fact that I would never wear this type of look personally, I still had a great time running around squealing at all the cuteness & admiring the girls walking around wearing their most kawaii ensembles! Underneath all this black, I’m basically a huge 5 year old!
The cosplay is always one of my favourite things about going to events like this, everyone really makes such a huge effort & it’s amazing to see all of these elaborate handmade costumes at every turn, especially when you spot someone dressed as one of your favourite characters! It gives the whole place such a fun, exciting atmosphere & as a designer, I love to see how people have turned these 2D costumes into super accurate 3D replicas. The cosparade showcasing the best of the day is a highlight every year, and this time my favourite had to be the guy who made the Gundam 00 suit, I spent ages afterwards trying to figure out how he’d made it & thinking how long it must have taken!
The live acts were brilliant as always, with a good mixture of modern & more traditional. Siro-A stole the show for me though, I’ve never seen anything like their blend of mime, dance, music, comedy & technology, they were so entertaining to watch. Sadly my rubbish camera skills & the dark lighting meant I didn’t get any photos of these guys, which is a real shame, but you can check out a video from their TED performance here to get an idea. I did manage to get some nice shots of the beautiful costumes from DEN Entertainments ‘The Sake’ performance though, this is something I would love to see again but on a bigger stage as I felt it couldn’t be properly appreciated in it’s shortened, less elaborate form here.
With so much to see we barely sat down all day & came home with bags full, mine mostly a lot of candy & a little alpaca! If you enjoy Japanese culture, whether the food, traditional wares, street style or pop culture & gaming, this is the biggest event of it’s kind in the UK & there is something for everyone’s taste.