Hyper Japan 2013 – Part One

I went to Hyper Japan for the very first time last year when I randomly spotted an advert for it whilst in London. I just went for the day and I had so much fun that when they held their Christmas event I went for all 3 days.

They held their event again this year in July and again I decided to go for the full 3 days. Its expensive to do due to trains, accommodation and then your entry ticket (not to mention really tiring) but it meant that I could see both fashion shows and if I missed anything one day I could catch it on the following.

Hyper Japan is a convention that celebrates everything Japanese from traditional music, art, geisha performance and martial arts to J-Pop, street fashions, anime, gaming etc. It also has a whole food section too for anyone really in to trying different Japanese dishes and Sake. There are stalls selling anime & manga, super cute plushies, collectables, fashion & accessories, music, magazines etc and other stalls covering trips to Japan and learning Japanese. On top of that it attracts a lot of Cosplayers and holds the ECG (European Cosplay Gathering) preliminaries so it really does have something for everyone.

Here are my highlights from the weekend:

This year they had a special performance by Siro-A. Siro-A are described as being Japan’s answer to the Blue Man Group. Their show was really good so I decided to watch it all 3 days! It has a lot of humour, clever visuals and their precision is amazing, they must practise loads! They are definitely worth seeing if you ever get the chance, it’s really good fun. They were also regularly around the convention area wearing a huge tube on their head posing for photos, dancing and promoting the show which I thought was nice. They seemed very friendly and like they were enjoying themselves.
Here is a short video of the beginning of their performance that I found on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UmmUFRU6sI

Siro-A Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SiroAUK

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There were 2 fashion shows, one on Saturday and the other on the Sunday. They pretty much had the same styles both days but with slightly different models and new outfits. They were good and included some different styles too this time rather than being mostly lolita. Everyone looked lovely! I especially liked the Shironuri and Hadeko fashions. I will upload these photos as part 2 which is a more fashion based post.

The Cosplay shows are always worth catching if you are into that. I don’t Cosplay but I love seeing just how talented people are and how they have transformed a cartoon character in to something in the real world. I didn’t get very good pictures this year as I was too far away from the stage – its always really popular so you are lucky to get a seat.

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They also had a Japanese rock band perform this year too called Vaniru. I’m more of a Visual Kei fan but I went to see them anyway, their performance was a bit odd to say the least. I didn’t really rate them but it wasn’t quite my music style so it’s possible other people liked them. They also had some J-pop in the form of Yun*chi who even though J-pop isn’t my thing was much better to watch, her songs are so catchy and upbeat.

Youtube video of Vaniru performing Cosmic Night on the smaller stage:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWf87GM8U-8

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Here’s a video I found on youtube of Yun*Chi performing Shake You:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bvUWRSCkdE
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The Geisha talk and performance by Sayuki and her Japanese Geisha sisters was also really interesting. Sayuki who gave a talk about Geisha is the first westerner to have formally debut as a Geisha. She spoke about how she managed to become one, a bit about the training process, kimonos, differences between Geisha from different Japanese districts, the traditional Geisha clothing etc as well as then performing traditional music and dances as a group. They also created a mini Geisha house within one of the stall sections where you could watch them getting ready, performing and doing a tea ceremony.

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I did more socialising this year so I didn’t properly see some of the other stage events and didn’t get the best view for some either so unfortunately some of my photos aren’t great – sorry. Here are some photos I took from the convention in general.
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Sum Up: I like Hyper Japan as a convention because it has such a wide range of stage events and has a decent fashion section. It also attracts a lot of J-fashion wearers too so you get to see lots of different street fashions and meet people. It’s also smaller than MCM which means you can actually move around the convention fairly easy and get to the stalls. It also has some downsides though like the food portions being generally quite small and very expensive, though this is true for most events. For certain stage events there just isn’t enough seating which when you are on your feet a lot of the day anyway just makes you extra tired. The lighting in the hall was awful and really yellow so it spoiled a lot of photos – even the press photographers were struggling to get nice photos. Events usually run a bit late but not excessively so and usually the staff are good at keeping you informed about what’s going on. Then also this year there seemed to be some queue and capacity issues. I bought a weekend ticket and although I had to queue for maybe 30mins or so on the Friday (I got there for the doors opening so its to be expected) I got in straight away on the Sat and Sun when I arrived in the morning. It seemed that the staff were telling people the venue was at maximum capacity so they couldn’t go in until people came out but it never seemed that full inside the venue, especially compared to MCM. I hope this situation is sorted out for next year as some people were stuck in a queue for 2 – 3 hours outside in the boiling hot sun.

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