This Japanese festival has been held in February for the last 3 years (the last time I attended it was it's first year, 2010, when the venue was in Brick Lane, London) and celebrates all aspects of Japanese culture, unlike the MCM Expo which is more concentrated on Anime and Manga. The new venue for this event is now Earl's Court, London, and is literally across the road from Earl's Court tube station.
Just to let you know in advance, i forgot to take that many pictures of wandering around, but the venue was a lot larger than the Brick Lane venue, and had many different stalls all over the place.
To start with I had a quick browse around all of the stalls, as I got there earlier than expected, and then headed over to the events stage to wait for Natsuko Aso to arrive on stage.
Even then the stage area was starting to get really full, so I ended up having to stand for the entirety of her performance. And here are some various pictures of her performing lots of singles from her albums.
I moved after this due to the bright light so you can see Na-chan better:
|The crowd that had gathered to watch Natsuko Aso|
|Na-chan with her interpreter (although her english was pretty good without one)|
|Posing for a picture to go on her Facebook page|
|With her translator and, i believe, the Editor of NEO Magazine (he is definitely from NEO mag, not sure who though lol)|
After her amazing performance she announced she would be signing copies of her CD's at the JPBooks stall, so like a little fangirl I ran over there to go and get mine signed. To be honest I had never heard much of her music before HYPER JAPAN, but the songs she played were REALLY catchy and I felt compelled to buy her album and get it signed.
|I never normally smile this badly, but I was pretty starstruck at this point and couldnt help it!|
I actually spoke a little bit of Japanese to her aswell, inbetween giggling like a schoolgirl, but it consisted of こんにちわ and どもうありがとう as all other words, both English and Japanese, melted from my brain. She even complimented my phone, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray which I took all of the pictures with, and said she loved Sony Ericssons and had one herself.
Anyway, enough of me babbling about my new obsession, I then did a little bit of shopping (goodies pictures in the next post) and then went to watch another performance, this time by the incredibly talented Hibiki Ichikawa who played a variety of traditional Japanese songs with his students.
|Performing a different piece with his students|
|This guy played an amazing Drum solo, followed by a duet with Ichikawa-San that covered me in goosebumps!|
The last thing of the day for me, as I had spent all my money and the amount of heat coming from the vast number of people was giving me a headache and making me feel sick (otherwise I would have stayed til it finished) was to get some lunch. In a lesson of Japanesepod101 they mentioned Takoyaki, an 'Octopus Ball', that is a small cube of Octopus meat covered in batter and deep fried. For those of you still unsure, it was very similar to a chicken ball you would get from a Chinese takeaway restaurant. I saw a stall selling them and thought I just had to get them:
This is Takoyaki. You could also have it with mayonaise on top, but i thought i would try it in it's "standard" form. The balls are covered with a 'Special Japanese Brown Sauce', which tasted similar to the Brown Sauce us Brit's are accustomed to but was a little sweeter than the subtly spicy sauce we use for bacon sandwichs. Then nori flakes are sprinkled on top aswell.
The Takoyaki was Delicious! There is only a small amount of meat inside, but it tasted amazing. It was all cooked to perfection, the outside was crispy but the inside was still light and fluffy, and it all just fell apart when you bit in to it. I would definitely recommened these to anyone who wishes to try a different type of Japanese food. Unfortunately, as is always the case, the 'stereotypical' food stalls had the longest queues, being the ramen and sushi stalls, so many people will not have tried it there.
Seeing as this post is quite large now, i will end it here, but will post my goodies in the next post.
Did you attend Hyper Japan this year? What did you enjoy the most? What amazing goodies did you buy yourselves?