I attended Hyper Japan at Olympia in London last weekend for the first time. Here’s an inside look at the event and what I got up to.
The event started at 12 on the first day (tad strange) and I was a bit late as the train I was on to get to Kensington all of sudden did not serve Olympia but I got there in once piece (and trying to catch a Ghastly on the way there). Queuing was fine – thankfully that had a large amount of staff to help guide you to where you needed to be and queues were fast (I got inside within 5 minutes of having my bag checked to having my ticket scanned and a wristband slapped on my wrist).
When I entered the hall, I was amazed how pretty it was. Well, of course it was going to pretty – it’s Hyper Japan – but the center itself was gorgeous, especially the archway that loomed over the exit.
And there stalls everywhere but with enough space for multiple people to walk through. Immediately on my right was the center stage (Airly was there, getting a warm up) and following that was the Nintendo section which dominated the whole event.
Not only did Nintendo have a stage all by itself, but also had a massive play area were games such as Yo-Kai Watch, Animal Crossing, Pokken Tournament and Splatoon, among others. Again, there was a lot of staff there which were helpful and really got people involved (especially with the dancing).
Many of the stalls downstairs consisted of candy, fashion, culture among other things, such as playing traditional board games, calligraphy and a Tofu Cute photo booth. There was something at every turn.
Upstairs was completely different – food stalls to the nines, many of which were selling takoyaki (AKA octopus balls which I steered clear of) and bubble tea, along with many other traditional dishes (Yo! Sushi was there too. I’m not ashamed to admit I had lunch there for all three days). Along the top also included thinks like geek stuff (AKA your usual MCM stuff but a little more animeified), healthy and beauty as well as small hand-made item stalls.
Friday mostly consisted me of checking out the Nintendo stage, walking everywhere while filming (first vlog will be out tomorrow) and buying a few items (mainly for my friends). I was planning on attending a couple of attends (I’m so sad I missed out on the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild demo) but I was a tad out of kilter from it starting so late and being a little overwhelmed. Thankfully, Friday was not half as busy on Saturday or the afternoon of Sunday.
Saturday was much more event filled. The first event I sat down for was Traditional Music with Hibiki Ichikawa & Akari Mochizuki. Akari was the first on stage, giving us a taste of her traditional J-Pop music follwing by Hibiki and 5 of his students playing the shamisen. My favourite century of Japan is the 1800s and it was almost like being there. Akari is very talented (being able to sing and play the drum does require skills). Despite it being traditional Japanese music, it was fantastic.
Next I sat down for performances by Azumi Inoue and her daughter Yuyu. Hmm, why does Azumi Inoue sound so familiar, you may ask. Well, if you’re a bit fan of Studio Ghibli movies, then you’ll probably know her as the singer of many of the songs used in those films, including Laputa: Castle in the Sky, My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Azumi was a complete ball of energy and despite not speaking a word of English (there was a translator , don’t worry) made me laugh a lot. And Yuyu – despite being only 11 years old – managed to hold the stage as much as her mother. They got the audience involved with little dance moves and when Azumi sung “Carry You” from Laputa, I had goosebumps erupt all over my body. I even got a free leaflet and postcard out of it!
After the events I wondered around a bit more (tried some milk tea too, which was OK), watched some of the Smash Bros event at Nintendo and shopped a bit more.
Sunday was OK in the morning and got busier in the afternoon. Initially, I sat down for the Hyper J-Syle Collection event, but turns out I got there early and watched a Japanese-French guitarist by the name of Lightning. And how surprised I was! His music was awesome (I’ve always been a bit fan of rock music) but with just him with his guitar on stage, he held the whole audience captive. I really hope he’s there again next year.
Then I sat down for the fashion show and would like to say it went on without a hitch but regardless of that, it was a lot of fun.Many people held the stage and of the (hand-made) creations looked so professional! Everything I saw on stage, I wanted to wear myself.
After the show, there was a small performance by Broken Doll. Again, they had such an amazing amount of energy that got everyone engrossed. The band consisted of Kensuke (guitarist and founder), Sachi (the singer) and Mii (bassist) (Maro the drummer wasn’t there for whatever reason). Sachi was so sweet and cute – she even posed for a picture for me to take on stage while she was performing!
I took a little break at this point to get more Yo! Sushi, film some more things and of course, pay the last bits I wanted. A little later, I watched the end of Mayuko’s Ethereal Music set and sat down for the COSTest (I actually got to sit down next to the judges, which was pretty cool). There were meant to be 15 cosplayers, however some of them couldn’t make it. I only recognised a few of the animes there was drawing inspiration from but it was awesome to see (a special shoutout to the older lady dressed as Sailor Moon – you were awesome). Overall, Elenora won (the girl on the far right in the photo below of the top 3) which I felt was deserved – she held the stage well (many people cheered for her when she left the stage) and kept in character the whole time (even when they were waiting for the judges’ verdict).
All in all, Hyper was an amazing experience. Not quite as good as MCM I’m afraid but if you love everything Japan, I highly recommend it. Just be prepared for a small venue space and a lot of awesome stuff.
Thank you for reading – sorry there wasn’t an entry last week but as you can see, I was pretty busy! But until next week, take care!