‘HYPER JAPAN CHRISTMAS MARKET REVIEW’
The UK's biggest Japanese event, reviewed by Offend My Eyes
...set in the rustic, winding tunnels of the Tobacco Docks, this celebration of all things Japanese saw thousands gather for live performances, authentic Japanese food and a Christmas themed shopping experience like no other! We took the opportunity to check out what was on offer and report back with our Hyper Highlights.
KAWAII STALLS AND JAPANESE SHOPPING
First of all, we were here to sell our clothing. We were stationed in the Kawaii fashion room which held bustling rows of Japanese themed shopping. From plush lama toys to candy phone cases; if it was Kawaii, it was here! Although we, like some of the other traders, aren’t exclusively aimed at the Japanese market - there was a recurring theme which suited the clientele; bright colours, quirky characters and eye-poppingly crazy designs. Our brightly coloured clothing fit in well with the Harajuku fans!
Throughout the Tobacco Dock there were countless corridors and rooms to lose yourself in (and I did, several times!) filled with all number of Oriental items which would be difficult to find anywhere else in the UK. There was traditional clothing, lucky cats, Japanese sweets, Samurai swords, ornaments, lanterns, figures, jewellery - the list goes on. Some of our favourites included Roxie Sweetheart, LoveJoJo’s giant plush lamas, Sushi Socks and Kigu’s animal onesies, but our undeniable HYPER HIGHLIGHTS had to be SSTUTTER
SSTUTTER’s table at Hyper japan escaped my eye during my first frenzied whip round, but luckily enough owner and creator Phil’s Bugs Bunny tracksuit caught my eye enough for me to stop and peruse the intricate creations he was offering in little more detail as they so deserved.
Phil Wykes hand makes the flashy, angular jewellery at home, taking up to 2 hours on some of the bigger pieces. Buyers were spoilt for choice with stalking wolves, majestic Eagles and roaring lions amongst other characters which all had the same striking layers of sharp angles and mirrored glare, delicately connected to give them slight movement when worn.
I found myself wandering back to Phil's table several times throughout the weekend, each time relived that the one face that demanded may attention each time was still there; the HyperGold Lion, Midas. Eventually he came home with me, and once I had got back did I really get time to appreciate what I had bought. It wasn’t just statement jewellery - it was an eye for angular shapes, hours of passion and unique style that demanded attention.
Find out more about SSTUTTER at the official website - www.stutter.co.uk
Hungry buyers were spoilt for choice at Hyper Japan. In ‘the vault’ were multiple stalls selling all manner of Japanese food including Octopus balls, Kara-age, Ikayaki, hand rolled Sushi, and a Miso Soup station. Even Yo!Sushi made a welcome appearance launching their new J-dogs and Yakisoba Pan alongside old favourites such as Tuna and Salmon sushi. Everything was freshly prepared in front of you and vegans, vegetarians and those with gluten allergies were given plenty of choice so there was enough to keep everyone happy. Our only negative? The queues were so long, we didn’t get chance to try everything we wanted to! And we wanted to try EVERYTHING.
Upstairs saw a different kind of taste on offer. Hidden away in separate rooms were Matchi chocolate stalls, a Japanese bakery, Tofu Cute’s candy festival, Green Tea flavoured Ice Cream and loads more! Saki cocktails were on the menu, and if you were in the right place at the right time, you could find free Sushi tasters being handed out. Our HYPER HIGHLIGHT was…
I will admit, when I asked Yo!Sushi for Yakisoba Pan, I wasn't expecting anything special. Yakisoba noodles in a bread roll doesn't sound that inviting but I soon went back for seconds, then thirds, and finally a fourth helping of my new Japanese favourite. The soft, sweet, chewy bread was the perfect accompaniment for the slippery, tangy noodles and sauce and it kept the noodles in a nice little sandwich! Yakisoba Pan was tasty, filling, fast and easy to eat on the go. Yum!
Hyper Japan is an event unlike any other, so of course their entertainment was something I was looking forward to. There was great mixture of traditional and contemporary with something to please most tastes. The schedule was well run with minimal waiting between shows, and there was lots of seating and standing room for everyone.
I had no idea what Kuli-Kala was before seeing the theatre group 30-delux perform their sword-fighting musical performance at Hyper Japan, but now I convinced that everybody should go and watch at least one show. Written by Kamen Rider scribe Nobuhiro Mori with music provided by composer Toshihiko Sahashi (The Sailor moon musical!) the show is an energetic display of sword fights, gender-bending characters, elaborate outfits and a great light and sound show to create what many describe as 'real-life' anime.
Wing Works is essentially electro J-pop by RYO:SUKE. The music was fun, pulsing, loud and RYO:SUKE knew how to strike a pose! Possibly one for the teens, and if you like a good dance.
A little like a Japanese version of Nightwish, Lacroix Despheres was an incredible performance of Visual Kei backed by an orchestra. If you like strong vocals, metal guitars and beautifully dark acting then look no further. I particularly liked how they combined amazing vocals with acting to create a real rock opera. Beautiful!
MIRAI NO NEIRO
In true Japanese style, Mirai No Neiro is Hatsune Miku - a computer generated singer who performs songs written by fans. I found out after the performance that there is much more behind Hatsune Miku then just a cosplaying, pigtailed computer girl singing on a screen - Mirai No Neiro is created by VOCALOID - a technology that allows singing to be produced without a singer. Singing voice synthesis is produced by using fragments of voices recorded from actual singers. So you see, Mirai No Neiro is the future!
HOT-DOG EATING CONTEST
The Arabiku group make good hotdog sausages and what better way to celebrate that, then eating as many of them as possible in 7 minutes! I was expecting a little more flying bits of meat and bread, and unfortunately no-one made use of the sick buckets, but it was good fun to cheer on the challengers and I left feeling rather peckish...
FASHION SHOW with MINORI
Fans of lolita and gothic J-fashion will already know who Minori is, but if you're not familiar with the Shironuri artist - she is a fashion icon whose unique style and Japanese grace is loved by everyone. The fashion show features Kawaii, J-fashion and Harajuku fashion in a mix of colours, frills and face-paint.
And finally, our HYPER HIGHLIGHT if you hadn't already guessed, was the weird and wonderful LADYBABY.
We loved the singing, dancing, DESTROYING! Kawaii-core weirdness and can't wait to see them again. Forget what you thought you knew about metal, Ladybaby don't have time for your gender boundaries or your social norms, they're way to busy tipping the world on it's head and doing it with such cuteness that you'll not mind at all. Move over baby metal, Ladybaby is here!
There was plenty more entertainment across the weekend that we didn't have time to catch, including some great workshops and classes. Did you have a go at something we didn't cover? Let us know in the comments below! We'd love to hear what your favourites were.
It wouldn't be a Japanese event without Cosplaying, and there were so many great efforts across the weekend! Our HYPER HIGHLIGHT? Baby metal of course!
Overall, we had an amazing time at Hyper Japan. There was so much to do, way more than we could cover in one blog post, and the atmosphere was fun, welcoming and diverse. We highly recommend you try it for yourself and see what all the fuss is about! If you do come, be sure to pass by our stall in the Kawaii and fashion room and say Kon'nichiwa!
Hyper Japan takes part on the 25th - 27th of November 2016 in the Tobacco docks.
Visit their official website at www.hyperjapan.co.uk