A couple of weeks ago, I was emailed a press invite to Hyper Japan 2012, one of Europe's largest Japanese expos, held at Brompton Court. On offfer is everything Japanese that you could imagine, fashion, manga, technology, food, music, video games and oh so much more. Now being a Japanese speaker and student, I was definitely up for the trip. I'm now sat on the train on the way back writing this so it's as fresh as it possibly could be, although the train is full of very drunk rugby supporters – we were delayed at one stop because a beer bottle was caught in a door – so I have my headphones in, JPOP on and a very pained look on my face.
Here are some of the best photos out of the hundreds I took to show you what went on.
The food was out of this world. These were Christmas themed macaroons (clearly) from On 温 (on) CAFE, who were selling a box of 24 for advent. Each was a different and unique style and flavour, preparing you for the run up to Christmas. Despite Japan not being a deeply Christian country, they still celebrate Christmas, much in the same way we do as a commercial holiday rather than a religious festival.
It was actually one of the Japanese language students at the high school I volunteer at who told me to look out for these – Every bizarre concoction and strange flavour of Kit-Kat you could imagine. Wasabi? Green Tea? Oh yes.
Hyper Japan 2012 was a place you could really overdose on Manga comics and anime paraphernalia. This shop, who I have to give a special mention to as it's where I bought all my textbooks from at the beginning of every term, is JP Books. They carry almost everything and they always tend to have the best prices. I wasn't asked to mention them by the way, I just felt I should!
Where there's Japanese, naturally follows Cosplay. If you're not familiar with Cosplay, it's the dressing up of your favourite character from the world of gaming, manga and anime (manga are the comics and anime (animation) is the TV/Films). There were some really good ones, and some more interesting representations.
Everybody was up for being photographed, and even though some were better than others everyone made such a huge effort with hand-crafted costumes and every attention to detail.
As well as people turning up in their amazing outfits, you could also stock your wardrobe direct from the event with some gorgeous clothes shops, from Gothic Lolita (ゴシロリ), traditional and Kawaii (Cute) to Punk, Rock and Visual-Kei.
Technology was a massive feature with Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Bandai and Square Enix making a turn out for the books. On display was some amazing games, including a new Dragonball 3D Arcade style fightemup, utilising the XBOX 360 Konect, so you are the star of the show, truly incredible to watch.
Nintendo were there making a showing of their re-hashed Wii console, the Wii-U. If you're not familiar with the Wii-U, they've joined the same Wii console, but this time with rounded edges, and created a tablet style controller. Basically you're controlling the 2006 Wii with a 2004 DS. OK, it's a lot cooler than that, I'm just being mean, they're really attempting to bring core gamers back to the brand and not just having their consoles used by the elderly playing bowling in their retirement homes, which is cool, but not what gaming is truly about.
Then there was the 3DSILITEXL or whatever they're calling it now (I know it's the 3DSXL), although I was hooked as they were showcasing the new Pokémon game which kept me entertained for a while. I do believe after a good 10 years, they really need to be cooking something up with better graphics and better performance. Remember the DS was just a handheld version of the N64, the graphics have not improved even now, they've just applied nauseas 3D technology. I'm guessing the next console will be the 3DSi – you heard it here first. Needless to say however, I'll still want one.
As well as all this, I also met a couple of great beauty brands, one who stocked something you may very well have heard of – there'll be a review coming rather soon, and a brand that stocks Japanese facial care products and again, there'll be a more in depth article in the weeks to follow so keep a look out.