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 .


kirin said...

Thank you for sharing these pics. Was it the first time for you to see Japanese school girls in school uniform and Japanese girls in maid uniform? ^_^

I liked that you explained the dancer was not dancing in the rain. Being Japanese, such thing can be too obvious and I have to admit that I don't even think of writing such for the readers.

I hope you enjoyed both clasiccal and modern types of Japanese culture there. :D

Walter said...

Hello Kirin. Actually I've seen Japanese school girls in uniform before ( in movies, manga :) but not live.
I really enjoy the mix of classical and modern Japanese.

The reference to "Singing in the Rain" was a joke ^^
Everybody in the west is (should be, it's been on television a billion times) familiar with the 1952 Musical movie which has an iconic dance scene with Gene Kelly who tap dances for joy in the rain with an umbrella.
It's easily the most famous dance scene in movies with an umbrella.
Take a look at it here in Youtube