HYPER JAPAN, the UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture, cuisine and cool, closed on Sunday (28th july 2013) with a record number of over 62,000 visitors attending to check out the event’s latest exhibitors in gaming, anime, fashion, music, food, drink and more. The weekend saw a wide range of visitors, from keen anime and cosplay fans to families and young professionals eager to learn more about Japanese culture, queuing round the building raring to see what this year’s event had to offer. This year set at a new venue, Earls Court 2 down the road from the other one. One of the last events before it shuts down.
With so much more space to play around with I don’t think it was fully utilised, with so many empty spaces that could have easily been filled with more stalls. The saddest section was the Fashion Area; banished to the far left next to main stage.
This in fact was my favorite area you had so much choice with cute plushies, handmade jewelry, onesies for men and women and not to mention the millions of alpacas. The stall holders made up for it by adorning the stalls with pretty colours, banners and smiles all round. Original alpaca stockist Love Jojo was among the fashionistas, find out more here: www.facebook.com/lovejojo
There was so much to do, I was rather impressed with the Animal Crossing Town made by Nintendo to the left of the entrance. You couldn’t help but wonder in whether you love or loather Animal Crossing. Instead of the usual game console pods plod in the middle of the event, you had everything fenced off into your very on Animal Crossing Town.
They were running an on going stamp quest. Play all the games in each section, receive a stamp and then claim a DS sticker transfer. Once you got to the end you had the chance to use the Animal Crossing themed photo booth for free, this made a lovely keepsake of the event and also you could mount them on the message board.
On Friday there was a Pikmin competition where you could pull a flower out and it may have a Pikmin plushie attached for you to keep. With 10 planted within 100 flowers, chances were slim but a friend managed to procure a blue Pikmin that even matched his outfit!
You could also make the most of your cosplay by posing at the HYPER JAPAN Fashion competition stand where people could win prizes at random. Also, the NHK World TV booth were lending costumes to the public to dress up and take photos in – the photos may be used in their TV program regarding HYPER JAPAN and they even gave you a free photo to keep for yourself.
More free stuff I came across was on the Taste Japan stall which on Saturday gave out free samples of sake, then free sample of tea on sunday. I indulged in the tea which warmed me up as well as leaving mixed tastes of rice, bitter power and even nutty connotations.
Throughout the weekend, HYPER JAPAN 2013 was the place to discover the real essence of traditional and new Japan. With today’s newest J-pop talents, Yun*Chi, YANAKIKU and J-Rock stars VANIRU; as well as talks on the newest developments in robotic technology from ITK and Taiji Sugasuwa, the creator of the KURATAS Giant Robots, to martial art displays, calligraphy, origami and the opportunity to learn more about the day in the life of a geisha, there was something on offer for everyone to enjoy.
One stall that really caught my interest was Daisuki.net they have been funded by the Japanese government to show anime on the internet for free. Yes they deal with raw anime and add English subtitles. This is in hope to promote and show off anime and deter people from piracy – through this website you can find links to official merchandise and DVDs to buy. They launched only in May so this is a fairly new operation: www.daisuki.net
There were also a handful of independent artists selling their prints, manga and doing manga portraits including:
Yukiko is a Japanese girls name, which translates to ‘child of snow’, 幸子 is pronounced sachiko, which means happiness. The name Yukiko Sachiko Designs, was chosen to represent the business simply because of the meaning of the words and the way they sound in harmony together.
Yukiko幸子Designs was founded in February 2012 by Charlie L. Born out of a love and fascination of Japanese culture, combined with her British upbringing, Yukiko幸子Designs incorporates English heritage with Japanese fashion. A strong emphasis on kawaii fashion, meaning ‘cute’, runs strong throughout Yukiko幸子Designs.
If you need anything at all or just wish to have a custom design made please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to buy: www.etsy.com/YukikoDesignsStore
Valeriya is an illustrator and manga artist based in London, UK. At the moment she study animation at Central Saint Martins and has a wide range of interests. Mainly she loves creating and telling stories through various media animation or graphic novels. She believes that Graphic Novels are equal to books and films if not better, and people who create them are geniuses! She also has the highest respect for Japanese artists and one day dreams to be among them in future. With her art often being compared to Ghibli characters she is already nearly there.
Apart from showcasing her art on DeviantArt you can also request commissions based on pictures, or photos if not in real life at a convention. I caught up with Valeriya at HYPER JAPAN finishing off some commissions for HYPER JAPAN customers. Watch the interview with her and Yukikho Designs here:
This years HYPER JAPAN has lived up to expectation, failed in seating arrangements for the cosplay parades as usual, but have succeeded in showcasing lots of great restaurants, fashion vendors and Japanese entertainment.
For more photographs browse through our Facebook albums here: facebook.com/AnimePicks/photos_albums