Kawaii Kicks Off The Holidays!
November saw tons of eager fans of Japanese culture, cuisine and cartoons flock to the famous Tobacco Docks, East London, to attend the Hyper Japan Christmas Market.
The fun, festive event was jam packed with stalls selling hand crafted jewellery, exquisite traditional art, gorgeous kimonos and oh so cute soft toys as well as authentic Japanese pop-ups serving up delicious sweets, bento boxes and steamed buns.
There were also a variety of exclusive performances, meet and greets and workshops plus the Hyper Japan Live! stage played host to acrobatic girl group, The Hoopers, 80’s pop sensation SHOHJYOTAI and the amazing classical soprano nap Masaoka.
The amazing Peach-Pit manga duo were also on hand to help budding manga artists brush up on their skills, give advice on how to get started in the industry and treat fans to some exclusive upcoming art work. Not only that eighteen year old YouTube sensation and Japanese idol Rebecca Anne Flint, otherwise known as the Beckii Cruel was on hand to offer fantasy fashion tips. The Danjo Danjo dancer was treating a few lucky audience members to Japanese street style inspired make over, with plenty of animal print dresses and glittery lipstick.
Speaking of make overs, numerous fans had shown up in bright, beautiful and downright bizarre cosplay costumes having made a huge effort to look like their favourite anime characters from amazing shows such as Chobits, Inuyasha and Himōto! Umaru-chan.
One of the many reasons people come to Hyper Japan is to try the all the amazing food on offer, from sweet peach jellies, green tea cookies and steamed buns, to moon cakes and of course, the delicious Dorayaki, or Japanese pancake. In my opinion, the Wagashi Japanese Bakery creates the best Dorayaki outside of Japan and in a range of fresh, unique flavours. We loved sampling the different sweets, Pokemon covered candy is always a win, as well as trying pear flavoured jellies and bubble gum and strawberry flavoured soda.
There were also some incredible bento box stands selling chicken, flavoured rice and Japanese sticky sweet sauce surrounded by healthy salad.
There were also tons of Japanese art, anime and collectible figurines for sale as well as festive, fluffy and fine products by Tokyo Cute Cute and AnimePlushies as well as traditional Kimonos, both formal and casual, in a range of gorgeous colours. These were being modelled by Japanese students along with 20th century wooden shoes.
Costume, or Cos Players are always friendly, willing to take pictures with you and are happy to explain what their costume means, or who they are. Overall, the Hyper Japan Christmas Market is the perfect place to buy festive gifts and goodies for family and friends, as well as the chance to stock up on your favourite hi-chews or day goo bars.
It’s also a great event to try new food, find out more about travelling to Japan itself and discover even more about a unique, diverse and incredible destination.
Photography and article by Kirsty Braik-Scivyer
Kirsty is a freelance journalist who has written for Bauer media and Vidados. Catch her tweeting @eclipse1473.