Hyper Japan is an event that started in October 2010 , promising a mix of old, new , multimedia , food and many other things coming from Japan. It was an instant success ( 13000 visitors in 2010 ! ).
This year it was held at the Brompton Hall at Earls Court. Free parking ! (for motorbikes, heh!).
I'd arranged for the usual ferry from Calais to Dover , and sailed on the new large Ferry , the Pride of France. The car deck is huge , but there's less space for motorbikes. If there's too many , they get parked on the truckers deck. No problem for me , I was the only biker there, as well as on the return trip. Not unusual in winter.
The inside is really luxurious ( mirrors on the ceiling, marble coffee bar, tiled floors ) . The tax free shop wouldn't look out of place on an airport. This is just the perfume department.
The accessory department ( I didn't photograph the booze department , I had my hands full of bottles of single malt :) .
The coffee bar at the ship's stern is a huge sitting area.
Plenty of space to sit , with the picture on the wall and the beautiful interior I felt like I was sitting in a luxury hotel.
At the Hyper Japan , the man from third window films ( I have got most of their DVDs ) interviewed film director Satoshi Miki ( of "Turtles are surprisingly fast swimmers") and actress Fuse Eri. It was interesting to hear from people that direct and play in the comic movies I enjoy so much.
Director Satoshi Miki (so that's what Japanese film directors wear these days :).
Judo world and Olympic champion Tsukada Maki was very interesting to see and hear on stage : I found it really inspiring to hear her talk so enthusiastically about her love for her sport. I'd almost start taking lessons myself.
"Please will you all give a warm welcome to my sparring partner from a local club, who is kind enough to 'assist' me in this demonstration." ( read : "whom I will be TOTALLY flooring in the next few minutes")
One more .
This was cute : a children's learning guide for the hiragana and katakana alphabet.
No koto playing on this Hyper Japan ( damn and I love hearing the Koto ) but the Shamisen player
Ichikawa Ibiko ( currently the only professional shamisen player in the UK ) was there and this time he'd brought a few students along.
There was also a traditional folk singer there : Alika Mochida , no pictures I was too busy clapping and singing along with the Hanagasa Ondo ( really ! "Yasho Makasho" :) ).
and too far from stage to get good pictures, but you can hear and see her here with some traditional songs on YT.
Honestly , British crowds are even worse at singalongs than Belgian ones , haha ! But the folk singer was lovely and I recognized some of the songs from a CD I have :)
Hiroko Tanaka's Nihon Buyo group was performing . Alas I spent so much time at the sake tasting I missed most of the performance.
A really long dance this was. And these people learn all this in their spare time. Colour me impressed.
Lovely kimono. If you look at the last Hyper Japan and the Matsuri, she wore a grey one :)
Doki is one of my favourite shops and they have finally started up again in a new location.
No Japanese festival or fair is complete for me without learning more about Japanese food preparation.
No better person to do that than Atsuko-san , who was preparing these Japanese-French inspired tapa style snacks ( Japas ) for us in the Taste Discovery Zone.
To prepare for the Sake awards I took one of the Sake tasting "courses" led by Natsuki , who has two great posts about it here : Part 1 and Part 2.
These were the sakes I tasted : sure enough the daiginjo has a wonderful nose and after-taste compared to the others, but each has its own unique qualities , which is why I found it a bit sad that the most expensive sake won most of the Sake Taste awards.
Too bad I couldn't buy any of the sakes at the show. Many are only available through restaurants and the ones I tried to get at the shops in London the brewers told me , didn't have them. Tsk !
Of course , next to the cosplayers, there's always lolita street garb with a very high kawaii factor.
I also met some members of the Kimono de Jump UK at the HJ,
After the traditional picture the KDJ were going to jump up in front of the modern photo.
First shot : no good. Only Isla in the air.
Before the group jump Hong did a try out jump , to see if my flash worked al right.
( in dark conditions, the autofocus fires off a number of low power flashes to set the focus , after which it flashes for real. By that time of course the jump is over, so I had to set it to manual focus ).
And there she goes ! Thank God there was a roof or we might have lost her :).