Monday, 28 November 2011

Hyper Japan 2011 London

Visiting the Hyper Japan each year is an excellent excuse to go to London ( as if I need one ^^)
The event is getting more popular each year, so much so that it collapsed under it's own success this year.
The building was filled to capacity and to let more people in would be dangerous, so on the second day of my visit , I had to spend 3 hours in a queue waiting for people to leave , so we could get in.

Kanon Wakeshima , a popular J-Pop cellist , visited the show for a few short performances and a talkshow.

Kanon is heavily into Gothic Lolita ^^.

The show had a cosplay cafe this year , with different theme each day : the theme on Sunday was 'maid'. I visited it on Sunday for some small uebersweet pancakes and lots of free green tea with milk. The food wasn't to write home about and the less said about the service , the better :) but it was a lot of fun seeing everybody scurrying about in their outfits. No pictures allowed in the cafe itself, but they did come up on stage on Saturday in their maid costumes.

Here's the cafe's 'boss' Miyo about to explain their signature dance to everybody.

Pretty soon , the stage filled up and everybody joined in the fun : an officeworker with blue hair (?!), the plumber, a girl from the cafe, a hapless lorry driver who only came in to ask directions ( Ok I made that up : he had just made a delivery ) , 'boss' Miyo and the show presenter.

I would have joined in , but I was busy taking pictures. Too bad, a biker on stage in full gear would have really completed this lineup :)

Later that day, the dance group Hiroko Tanaka WAKAYAGI-RYU Nihon Buyo performed ( you can also see them on my Matsuri 2011 post, where the stage was so crowded I didn't get any decent pictures of the show :( , but I did get a few nice backstage shots of the fabulous kimonos they were wearing.
(I found a way to bypass the BLOG slideshow. Left-click on the pictures to see them in full size : it should open in a new window , where you can enlarge them to full size).
My apologies for the pictures where the feet are cut off : blame those horrible large speakers in the front of the stage.

As always , the dances and the music were wonderful and their  kimonos were to die for ^^.
I wish I could have filmed it, but I took lots of pictures to make up for that.

This young man is performing the dance of the chrysanthemums , a flower so popular in Japan when it was introduced from China that it was made into the crest of the Japanese Emperor.

The music didn't start right away , which gave me a chance to take a few good shots of his kimono and of his very shiny obi ^^.

Another dance by the same dancer , this one with an umbrella ( and no, it wasn't "singing in the rain")

Pity : I only took two shots of this one.

The next dancer was very elegant too : I'll need to take note of what the dances are about next time..

The last dance was performed by Tanaka Hiroko herself , a contemporary dance composed by herself.
She's been dancing since she was six , for over sixty years now , and believe me, she still moves as fluently as anyone.

I hope I'll see more of this dance at the next Hyper Japan in February .

Monday, 31 October 2011

Kimono de Jack Autumn ( Den Haag - The Netherlands)

Last weekend I went to the Netherlands to visit the Dutch version of Kimono de Jack,
near The Hague at the Clingendael park, after Kornelia invited me to come.
The Clingendael park is open to the public, except for the Japanese garden there, which is only open to the public twice a year for a few short weeks.

 We were very lucky : lovely sunny autumn weather.  The trees around the main house and in the whole park are already showing off their beautiful autumn colors.

What better place to hold a Kimono de Jack Autumn ?
It turned out to be a big success : fourteen people showed up in kimono.

On their way to the Garden : Linda , Amy and Amy's friend, Jeffrey.

 From left to right, Youandi , Ben (Kitty-chan's friend) , Stephanie and Kitty-Chan.

The Japanese garden is built around a small pavilion , complete with two red ornamental bridges, lots of Japanese lanterns, sculptures, etc.. bought in Japan and brought over by boat by one of the former owners. 

The garden really looks authentic, with the two bridges , all the mossy banks of the pond, the maples and the lanterns and rock arrangements.

Too bad it's not open in the evening and at night : it'd be a nice place to hold a tsukimi (moon viewing) and drink a a chilled daiginjo or even a Sake spritzer while contemplating the garden in the moonlight.

Everyone gathered at the pavilion for a chat and some lunch.

 Mei-ing , Linda and Kornelia. Lovely green. Reminds me of the one Hong made to wear at the 2010 Matsuri , but that fabric was definitely an even darker green.

Amy checking if her friend has a fever  ^^.

Charissa ( the girl in the purple hakama ) joined us at the pavilion.

The group photo at the pavilion. Very nice but I prefer the one below :)

Lots of people wanted to pose by the red maple tree : here's Berber.
 Kornelia and Stephanie.

 Together with Youandi.

 Kornelia opening the sliding doors in seiza pose :)

 Stephanie in seiza pose too : very nice, but hey, where's the tray with my chilled sake ?

After having fun with the sliding doors , they posed at the corner of the pavilion.

Same shot, with extended sleeve.

I liked the shot above so much, I asked Anne and Berber to pose in The Corner too.

And also Kitty-Chan and Ben from Belgium.

And Mei-ing and Linda. 

Kornelia , Stephanie, Anne and Berber showing their musubi.
I missed getting Riga, Tulay, Amy and Youandi for a "corner-shot" , but by that time everyone started leaving the Japanese garden. 
An impressive group, considering it's just the second Dutch Kimono de Jack.

Tulay, Amy and Riga. Up till now, I thought only miko wore red hakama ^^ , but I really like how the brown and red go together in Amy's outfit. Tulay ( on the left ) made the obi with the two cats herself !

With everyone's back turned , I could get hold of another musubi-shot : Kitty-chan, Tulay, Riva, Linda and Youandi.

 Amy and Charissa showing off their hakama outfits.

Stephanie and Linda in a pensive mood , ^^.

The Kimono Club's signature shot : the zori / tabi rosette.
 I didn't get that shot myself, but I got a few nice little details ^^ :

 Tulay's red and black zori with a lovely embroidery of a pink... thingy with a string.

 Linda's embroidered neko with a bell . Kawaii, desu ne ?!

Charissa's hair ornament. Hmm , a kanzashi would have been nice too.I know a Kitty in England who can come up with just the one that'll suit her.

At the Dutch garden , everybody gets ready for the group shot on the ornamental staircase.
We'll need longer staircases if the Kimono de Jack NL keeps growing.

The showing of the sleeves ( from left to right : Berber, Mei-ing, Anne, Tulay, Charissa, Stephanie,
Kornelia , Riga, Amy, Linda, Kitty-chan, Ben, Youandi. ) Lengthwise, I reckon Charissa comes out ahead with Riga and Amy a close second ^^ .

Thanks everybody for a nice day and for posing so nicely : I can't wait till the next KDJ comes around.

( to download pictures here don't save them directly , they're small from here, click on the picture , it'll open a slideshow and then on the Show Original , right-click that and save it.)
I can make HiRes jpg of every photo ( I always photograph in RAW mode ). If you want anything else in Hires, just ask.