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The Olympia suddenly looked a little more…”plushier” last weekend. Oh yes it did.
A handful of years ago I went to an intimate little convention called “Hyper Japan” in London. It was a single floor of Kawaii merchandise, food stands, and a cute little stage area to enjoy some live performances.
Fast forward to the weekend just passed and The Olympia was a hive of Otaku, Cosplay fans, Lolita, gamers, Entertainers (on multiple stages), and goodie stands as far as the eye could see.
This humble little Japanese culture gathering has blossomed to what I would say is the largest of its type here in the UK, and definitely the most frequent. I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s so massively deserved.
Old friends were there, with the likes of Something Kawaii, Tofu Cute, and many more kawaii focused merchandise and accessory stores sharing their expansive selection of treats with us all, as well as many talented artists drawing commission work for fans, selling their prints, and other super wares.
As you may be able to tell from my very happy face above, I was in my element. My ideals of the day to see like-minded Japanese culture fans, avalanches of themed merchandise, ample authentic foods to sample, and new talents to cheer on around the entertainment areas was my idea of heaven.
I popped on my fitted tea dress with lace neck trim from AXParis, complete with matching bow, and felt utterly fabulous. You've got to make some effort to these occasions, right? Loved it (also loved that purple throne chair!!).
Downstairs there was a central floor dedicated to gaming, with Nintendo consoles, card games, and even an authentic Japanese Maid Café (AiMyMaid) to the back where you could experience all the fun of enjoying delicious refreshments in the company of your very own maid for creative entertainment. So fun to see. I remember walking the main street of Akihabara in Tokyo and seeing all of the Maid Café promotors lining the store fronts, being handed flyers, and being extremely tempted to join in the fun – but I was a little shy for some reason! Usually you’d find a cat or rabbit café next door too – they’re exactly what you suspect they are – cafes that are home to cats or rabbits to meet with while you eat and drink.
Much larger than the last event I attended with Hyper Japan was the food court. From Sushi to Teppanyaki, Katsu curry to my absolute favourite – Donburi, adjacent to the main entertainment stage of traditional Japanese dance, fashion shows, and group performers was a plethora of deliciousness, along with Wheelcakes and Bubble Waffles for your sweet tooth. Prices were very reasonable for authentically prepared food in the centre (ish) of London at an event, with main dishes being around £8, and desserts/sweet treats between £4-5.
With the event running from Friday through til end of day on Sunday, each day was split into two attendee “waves”. The first ticket wave was from opening at 9am until mid-afternoon at around 3:30pm, whereby then the doors would open again from 3:30pm until doors close. This meant that actually the crowds were very controlled, so even though the event did get quite busy between the hours of 12pm and 2pm, the amount of people present wasn’t overwhelming, and all of the stores and merchandise stands were still ample stocked. Really good idea!
There were some absolutely stunning examples of cosplay around the venue too, with fans gathering in groups to meet up and show off their personas and alter egos for wandering photographers.
There was even a dedicated “prop area”, with a gorgeous throne, and other fun decorations and standing ornaments to “get those grams” with! I really wanted to take that chair home – I won’t lie!
Here are a few of my favourites that my husband Lloyd caught on camera throughout the day. You can see more of his shots over the days/weeks to come on his Instagram at @morganmooremedia.
I’m extremely excited to say that Hyper Japan doesn’t just stop at one event a year – not at all!
This event is known as the “Summer Festival”, with the second being in the winter with a focus on Christmas. There hasn’t been mention of the festive one as yet, however it’s happened at around the same time each year that I can remember, so I hope they host one again this year! I’d love to head back for my second dose of 2018 Kawaii-ness. MAYBE I’d even make it extra special this year with a costume of my own? What do you think?
Are you a fan of Japanese culture events? Does Hyper Japan sound like your shade of perfect? Were you there too?! Let me know!
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