Hyper Japan – Saturday July 2016

Last weekend I went down to London for Hyper Japan. I had originally intended going for all 3 days but as the event got closer I just wasn’t feeling the line-up so decided to go for the dual ticket for just the Saturday. I had already booked my train and hotel in advance though so I decided to have a relaxing Friday afternoon looking in shops and then visit Camden on Sunday.

Friday Outfit:

Even though I wasn’t going to HJ I still wanted to wear something cute. I kept the outfit simple though due to travelling and it being a warm day. I really love this Killstar dress, the choice of motifs in the print are so random but the colours are lovely and it has cute ponies!

 

Saturday Outfit:

I decided to wear my newer Chibi Bunny dress as I hadn’t worn it yet. I also thought it would be a bit cooler than wearing full lolita though to be honest I was still way too hot! I went for a bunny theme to match the cute bunnies on the dress. I also decorated my bunny bag to add make sure she looked super kawaii too!

Bunny Ears: just standard cheap ones that I added some bows too
Gold Star Clips: ebay
White Hair Bow Clip: Home Bargains
Pink Bows: Etsy, probably Little Mizz Kitty
Wig: Dreamy Store
Bolero: Random offbrand
Dress: Chibi Bunny
Necklace: Handmade by me
Fluffy Star: Little Mizz Kitty, etsy
Accessories: wristcuffs are some I altered from Claire’s, bunny ring Claire’s, bow ring probably Little Mizz Kitty and pink and white bead bracelet was handmade by me.
Socks: Primark
Bag: Bear Factory rabbit that I turned in to a bag.

Saturday I went to Hyper Japan. I didn’t get there quite as early as I wanted so I’d missed the couple of events that I was going to check out in the morning. I spent most of the first half of the day going around the stalls, shopping and collecting freebies and leaflets.

Tofu Cute had a super kawaii photo area with toy grabber machine and bed full of plushies.


I then had lunch from one of the Japanese food stands, I can’t remember exactly what I had but it was really nice, and went to watch the fashion show. The fashion show featured items from Dreamy Bows including by Listen Flavor, Cutesy Kink and models own fashion styles.

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Yucha of Less than Love came on at the end of the fashion show and performed a couple of songs. It was then time for the break and everyone has to leave before those with a Dual ticket or a Saturday second part ticket could go back in.

The second half kicked off with J-Rock/Metal band Esprit D’Air performing on the main stage. I didn’t know too much about them but they were good, just not quite my thing.

The COSParade then followed, I always love seeing the skill and effort that Cosplayers put in to their costumes. Cosplay used to be a huge part of Hyper Japan and a few competitions used to be held there but this year it was really lacking.

I then visited a couple of stalls again to pick up a few more bits before taking a seat for Broken Doll. My feet were hurting so much by this point, I should have taken some flat shoes with me as well. I really like Broken Doll, I saw them last year too. Their music is very upbeat and they tried really hard to motivate the crowd with limited sucess. They are worth seeing though if you ever get the chance!

 

The last performance of the day was Lightning “Break Up Tour 2016”. I listened to a couple of his songs but again it wasn’t quite my thing so I headed off early.

I like Hyper Japan as an event and it had felt over the past few years that it was growing and getting bigger and better. This year felt like it had taken quite a few large steps back. The acts and guests were relatively unknown, they had a few gaps on their stage timetable, the second stage had totally gone this year. Not much in the way of traditional Japanese culture was present. The acts were not as varied as usual either. They did have a lot more crafts you could do but they were an extra cost and you had to book a slot in advance. It also felt like there were less stalls. If it looks like it will be the same next year I would just go down for the day and avoid spending out loads more for accommodation. I just feel a bit disappointed with the event this time and didn’t enjoy it like I usually do.

Sunday Outfit:

On Sunday I headed to Camden Town to go around the shops and market. It was a very warm day and I was travelling back later on so again I kept my outfit simple.
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Bone hairclips: unbranded, dont know
T-shirt: Newbreed Girl
Accessories: Little Mizz Kitty, pink and purple bead bracelet made by me

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My Visit to the Vulcan Steampunk Spectacular

A couple of weeks ago I attended a local Steampunk event called the Vulcan Steampunk Spectacular. It was the first one to be held and was organised by the White Rose Yorkshire Steampunks. The location for the event was very special as it took place at the Robin Hood airport in the Vulcan’s hangar and it was free, you just paid a donation. During the day they had around 50 stall holders selling a range of Steampunk goods, a raffle to raise money for the up keep of the Vulcan, tea duelling, craft workshops, parasol duelling, classic/retro/custom cars, a steampunked caravan and the Las Niñas de las Flores dance troupe. They then held a ball and burlesque show in the evening which was ticketed but I could only attend the daytime event.

Unfortunately the weather in the morning was terrible with quite a bit of rain so not a lot of classic/show cars turned up but plenty of people did. Luckily it brightened up in the afternoon and the event was mostly inside anyway so could go on despite the weather. There were a lot of stalls and they were reasonably priced and had a good selection of items. The Vulcan was in the centre so you could walk around that too and then they had a large stage at the front of the hangar. It was a really good event and had a wonderful atmosphere.

 

Parasol Duelling:
I hadn’t seen parasol duelling before but it works a bit like rock, paper scissors but with a parasol. You hold it in a different position to represent either rock, paper or scissors. It seemed a bit tricky to hide what you intended to choose from your opponent though which led to these two continually ending up with a draw. I much prefer tea duelling, this doesn’t have the same drama.

Las Niñas de las Flores Dance Troupe:

Las Niñas de las Flores Dance Troupe performing at the Vulcan Steampunk Spectacular. I accidently caught the zoom button so it lost the focus and went blurry. Sorry about that! You can get a feel for what they were doing though.

I decided to dress fairly simple due to the mixed weather so opted for something shorter rather than full length. I’d had the skirt in my wardrobe for a while but not worn it so it seemed a good excuse to wear it, unfortunately I don’t wear brown often so my wardrobe options were a bit lacking. I don’t think it’s too bad for a last minute throw together though. I also stuck with the general lolita silhouette but mixed in a lot of non-lolita elements to create a look that would be very different from what most of the attendees would be wearing.

Outfit rundown:
Hat – Bodyline
Wig – Bodyline
Blouse – Per Una
Skirt – Bodyline
Boots – Koi Couture
Accessories – Claire’s, Fantastic Grim
Bag – ebay
Cane – bought from a stall there (can’t remember which)

 

 

Fashion Gala – Asylum Steampunk Festival

On the Friday of the Asylum Steampunk Festival I met up with a couple of my local lolita ladies for tea and cake, then in the evening I went to Lady Elsie’s Fashion Gala. The fashion gala partly showcases artists and designers work but it also exists to inspire its attendees and show that Steampunk is more than brown, Victorian fashion and goggles.

The first collection was by Karen Grover and her aim was to showcase outfits that would inspire people to create their own. She used commercial patterns (some which she adapted slightly) and readily available fabrics, some of the dresses were even made from patterned quilt covers. Her collection had a slight Harry Potter influence, it was to do with the story of a young wizard set in a Steampunk world. There’s even a Steampunk quidditch player.

Magician and mentalist Dr Corvus Marconi then did a short set.
https://www.facebook.com/corvusmarconi?fref=ts

He was followed by Mother’s Ruin Millinery who make fantastic hats, fascinators and statement head wear. The collection had a Slavic/Russian influence using traditional designs but given a Steampunk twist. They believe that any colour can be used in Steampunk and so aimed to bring a colourful, playful and regal collection to the stage.
Website: http://mothersruinmillinery.yolasite.com/

Harlots & Angels corsetry created some stunning and jawdroppingly beautiful designs for their collection. My favourite was the petal dress which had over 250 handmade petals. Just gorgeous! They produce their own patterns, some of which you can buy, which with a little imagination and creative thinking can be altered to produce something very different from the basic pattern. Their collection was all about showing how their basic patterns can be transformed to appear as very different items. So much talent!
Website: http://www.harlotsandangels.co.uk/

Alice’s Night Circus them performed a few songs, she has such a beautiful and powerful voice and her dress was so sparkly! According to the programme Alice’s Night Circus is a curious journey down a magical rabbit hole, featuring a blend of apocalyptic fairytale steampop sung by Alice.
Check out her website here: www.alicesnightcircus.com

Next was Diamantequeen Designs who brought true statement pieces full of colour, sparkle and attitude. Just amazing! Description from the programme: An eclectric, vibrant, multi-cultural collection of new, re-cycled and up-cycled garments and headpieces. Using influences from India, Japan, nature, Punk Rock, the film Velvet Goldmine, 70’s Glam Rock/Bowie.
Website: www.diamantequeen.com

Blue Lady Couture brought beautiful well crafted historical pieces with Victorian, Fairytale and Steampunk influences. The millinery pieces were created by Ooh La La Boudoir. Collection description: A gothic world of enchantment and mystery lit by gas lamp and swathed in steam, period styling entwines with classic detailing to create a striking re-imagining of tales as old as time.
Website: www.blueladycouture.etsy.com

Second Coming brought a very unusual collection to the stage. The collection was titled “Show Some Restraint” and is inspired partly by the event name ‘Weekend at the Asylum’ (the event originally used a building that used to be a Victorian asylum) and methods of restraints used in Victorian Insane Asylums. Not to mention all Steampunks are a little crazy anyway.

Cirque and cabaret style aerial artist and burlesque performer Scarlet Butterfly then dazzled the audience with her amazing pole dance skills before the final collection of the evening took place. I couldn’t get any decent photos. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scarlet-Butterfly/376995592429247?fref=ts
The final collection featured characters from The Imaginarium which is a Dickens style, Steampunk themed story set to stunning Fine Art Photographic images. It sounds really intriguing, I can’t wait until it’s finished and the images are stunning. Find out more here: http://www.g-n-p.co.uk/

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Why the Asylum Steampunk Festival is the best event ever!

Hello Lovelies,
Long time no post, sorry about that.
As I mentioned a while ago I’d been super busy crafting and planning for my visit to the Asylum Steampunk Festival. The Asylum, held in the city of Lincoln, is the biggest Steampunk festival in the UK, perhaps even in Europe. It was the 7th one this year and is still attracting more and more people.
Although Steampunk doesn’t directly fall under the Kawaii fashion category it does embrace all the elements that I love about Japanese Street Fashions and has lots of similarities and overlaps, especially with lolita. It’s very creative, flamboyant, empowering, fun and very inspiring. It’s also very contagious, Steampunks and non-Steampunks alike tend to become infected with Asylumitus – characterised by aching feet (from all the walking and not always wearing practical shoes), sore face (from smiling) and the tendency to say “next year I’m…”.
There are no words that can really sum up the experience and atmosphere of attending, you really do have to go and see it for yourself. The golden rule of the Asylum is ‘Be Splendid’ this basically means be nice and respectful to each other – no-one should be made to feel unwelcome. What this rule creates is a community where you can be as expressive or creative as you want and embrace inspiration from pretty much any source you want. Although Steampunk is heavily routed in Victorian history and fashion with sci-fi futuristic elements there are more and more people adding fantasy and fairy tales in to the mix as well. I’ve also seen a lot of Steampunk superheroes, people drawing inspiration from games, film, TV other cultures it really is limitless and even better no-one is there to judge or state ‘That’s not Steampunk’.
Unfortunately in lolita and some of the other Japanese street fashions there is a rule book that generally you are expected to follow and often a lot of judgement is passed on those believed to have got things wrong or who have decided to bend some rules. Steampunk lets you play with ideas and do whatever you want – it’s so wonderful from an artistic perspective to have that freedom. It’s this, seeing how wonderfully talented, inventive, eccentric and kooky people are and the incredibly warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes the event so special to me. So many people greet you with a hello or good morning, smile and compliment you on your outfits, it’s a wonderful community to be part of.
If you ever get the chance to go then please do. Even if you can’t attend the event properly just go and soak up some of the atmosphere, I swear a lot of you will be back the following year to take part.

My Weekend at Hyper Japan July 2015

Hello all you lovely blog readers I hope you are all well,

Most of you will know that I went to an event in London recently called Hyper Japan.

Website: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/

This year the event moved location due to the closure of Earls Court to the O2. Now they had so many amazing Japanese performers and guests and all sorts of things were going on that I thought it would be an amazing location and the best HJ so far. Sadly that’s not quite what happened. There were quite a few issues this year but I will address this at the bottom of the post.

I travelled down to London via Virgin East Coast 1st Class. No I’m not rich or super fancy, it was only £10 more than standard for some reason. Due to the time of the train I got to pick from the complimentary breakfast menu. I opted for a bacon roll with a glass of orange juice. I could also have had a croissant but I don’t eat too much in a morning. I also had 2 cups of tea and was given a bottle of chilled water before leaving the train. I could totally get used to that kind of service!

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I forgot to take my camera with me on the Friday but I spent most of the time with my friends shopping anyway so I wouldn’t have had much to share anyway. You had to queue to swap your ticket for a wristband but I didn’t have to queue long and as I bought a 3 day wristband I only had to queue on the Friday. It was nice on Saturday when i arrived to see these queues and I could just walk straight in – bad for them though. It was a super hot day too!

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I rushed there Saturday morning to see One Note who were on at 9:45am (too early!) but just didn’t make it in time. I arrived just as they were going off stage. So sad. I decided to hang around in building six though and enjoy the bit of air-con that there was and drink some cold water. They made people bin any food and drink they had before entering, which given how hot a day it was and that the bar isn’t cheap, I didn’t agree with it. Luckily i hadn’t been organised enough to take anything with me.

I then watched Dempagumi.inc as they were the next to perform. I didn’t know much about them other than they were a J-Pop/idol group. They were certainly a surprise. Their music was much more powerful and upbeat than I expected. It certaily wasn’t the cute soft pop I was expecting. They work so hard, I don’t know where they got all that energy from but they stayed super bouncy and happy the whole time. Made them hard to photograph! The whole thing was really catchy and I stayed to watch the whole set even though it’s not really my thing. They also had a group of fans dancing along with glow sticks too.

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Honey Spice performed next but I only saw a bit of their performance.

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I then caught the end of the Hello Kitty Bento box demonstration, I only really saw the three people having a go at doing one – I’m not sure what else happened.

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Randomly as I was walking through the HJ area looking at stalls I was stopped by a stall holder and asked if I knew who One Note were and if I liked them. I was like yes and he was like ‘Oh good, they are having a photo shoot session now, join the queue’. So I managed to get a photo with One Note again this year but it’s not blurry this time thanks to this wonderful Cosplayer who took the photo for me.
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On Saturday they split the session in two parts with an hours gap between 3 – 4 pm. I actually had bought tickets to attend a lolita tea party with Coco & Mocha from the Gothic Lolita band Die Milch at 4pm so I missed a bit of HJ. I didn’t take any photos at the tea party but we had a few mini cake slices, biscuits and tea and could talk to and photos with Coco & Mocha. We were also all given a raffle ticket and I won the main prize! It was a bit embarrassing as I had just been talking about how unlucky I am and I never win – oops. This is the skirt I won, it’s by The Snow Field. So pretty! This event was run by the Tea Party Club for lolitas and not by Hyper Japan itself. It also meant that I missed X-Japan sadly.

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X-Japan‘s drum kit:

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Here are some random Hyper Japan photos:

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Beautiful Bonsai trees:

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ILU GRACE (a Japanese R&B duo) performing:

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I also watched Tomoca (Wa-Pop artist) perform, she had an amazing voice, really beautiful. I’m glad I watched her performance:

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I love Visual Kei so I was very excited that LOST ASH were performing at Hyper Japan. I managed to see them on Sat and Sun and they were awesome. I hope they come to the UK again.

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The gaming/manga & anime section (I didn’t really spend much time in this bit so I’m not quite sure what they had going on)

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Food court area and yummy food:

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More general photos:

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Last, but certainly not least, was the lovely One Note, who I made it in time to see on the Sunday morning.

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The Bad:

So, there were a few issues this year with Hyper Japan but it had a lot of positivies too. The way it was split up in parts ruined the atmosphere and due to the O2 being open to the public lots of Cosplayers and J-fashion wearers felt like they were on display. Apparently some staff were openly mocking people and being rude to Cosplayers. They usually have Cosplay competitions at HJ but they held none this year – not sure why. They also struggled to find anywhere to get changed. The signs and directions to find things were really bad, I never found the theatre part as I just couldn’t figure out where it was. It was also really hot as the air-conditioning didn’t seem to be in the main HJ area – not great when wearing wigs and things. The stage and seating area was badly located, there was not enough room, if you didn’t get there early you couldn’t see what was happening at all. There seemed to be less stalls and food options. I feel sorry for anyone with young children or health conditions as there just wasn’t enough seating. Also, you did so much walking back and forth, most of the weekend was spent walking and standing. So tiring.

The Good:

The guests at HJ were the best they have had so far and it was a really varied mix. Using building six as a live house was an excellent idea, it was really nice getting to see the performers on an actual stage. Most guests held meet and greets and these were really well planned. They had 2 members of X-Japan perform a special set – that’s pretty huge! The fashion show was much more varied this year, not to mention huge. Plus it was fun!

I’m not sure where they are holding the event next year but the Christmas one is at Tabacco Dock which actually sounds like a great venue. I think HJ struggled a bit this year due to the closure of Earls Court which is where they used to hold it. It was still good though and well worth going to.

Hyper Japan Fashion Show – Sunday 12th July 2015

I didn’t have as good a seat on Sunday so the photos didn’t come out well and due to the angle that I was sat at lots of people’s heads blocked my photos. Sorry everyone, I tried!

Hyper Japan is Soooon!!

Hyper Japan Website: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/

If you love traditional or popular Japanese culture then you will love Hyper Japan. For many of us the Hyper Japan convention is as close as we can get to visiting Japan and this year it’s going to be even bigger and better. It’s moved to the O2 arena and I’m really excited to see how the change of location will affect the convention. In particular I’m looking forward to seeing all the cute fashionistas, the fashion shows and buying a whole load of cute stuff but they have managed to get some top music artists to come to the UK as well. There’s even a special Japan music night featuring VAMPS coinciding with it too. I really hope this is a sign of things to come and the convention will continue to grow and attract all sorts of Japanese artists, traders, acts and businesses. It’s really exciting.
Hyper Japan doesn’t just cover Anime, Manga and Cosplay like a lot of conventions, it really is about Japan on a whole. It features contemporary and traditional Japanese art, music, fashion, film, martial arts, food and goods. It really is the place to go if you have any interest in Japan. There are even stands there dedicated to helping you plan your trip or advice on where you can learn the language. I went through the Hyper Japan website and tried to highlight some of the main things happening, it’s so big this year that it took a really long time and I’m sure I’ve missed things. They still have more to announce!! Anyway, here is a rough guide of what’s happening, I hope you find it helpful 🙂
Highlights:
Food & Drink –
If Japanese food is your thing then you should check out the EAT-JAPAN area which will have a range of stalls selling drinks, food, deserts, alcoholic beverages, sweets etc.
There’s also the separately ticketed area called the Sake Experience which is Europe’s largest public tasting event for sake, there you can learn more about Sake and sample a variety of Japanese Sake’s.
Sake Experience: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/latest-news/quality-japanese-brews-return-for-the-sake-experience-2015-at-hyper-japan-festival/
Music –
Hyper Japan tries to offer variety so they have booked a range of artists for this year’s event. There’s the more traditional with Hibiki Ichikawa and Akari Mochizuki. J-Pop with Heisei Kotohime, Less than Love and Tokyo Girls’ Style and idol groups Honey Spice and Dempagumi.inc. If Visual Kei & J-Rock is more your thing then you should check out ONE NOT’E, LOST ASH and VANIRU. Gothic lolita’s Die Milch bring a modern twist to classic music and TOMOCA adds some Wa-Pop. There’s even a touch of R&B with ILU GRACE. Then if that’s still not enough there’s singer May J. who not only is the main host of NHK Worlds J-MELO, has sold thousands of CD’s, is multilingual and has performed all over the world she also sang the end credits version of “Let It Go” in the Japanese release of Frozen! Then, if songs from Anime are more your thing, they have singer Eir Aoi performing who has had an impressive number of songs featured in anime openings and endings. Exciting! It’s also just been announced that YOSHIKI and TOSHI of X JAPAN are going to be doing a special un-plugged performance which is HUGE. X JAPAN are pretty much the pioneers of Visual Kei and are the biggest rock band in Japan!!

JAPAN NIGHT is a separate event, you can get a discount on tickets if you are attending Hyper Japan. This year HYPER JAPAN will be teaming up with JAPAN NIGHT, a J-rock event which showcases Japanese artists at venues around the world! VAMPS are the headlining act.
JAPAN NIGHT: http://hyperjapan.co.uk/latest-news/vamps-and-more-j-rock-bands-in-japan-night-at-hyper-japan/
Gaming –
Hyper Japan will have a large gaming area where Nintendo will be showcasing their newest titles as well as having a range of classic favourites available to play. There will also be card gaming available and in the HYPER Maid Café not only will you be able to have a selection of sweet treats and ice cream but there will be a host of retro videogames and boardgames to play. Other activities in the cafe will include things like origami, drawing, singing and dancing along with the maids.
Anime & Manga –
Not only can you meet and chat with other fans but there will be a range of exhibitors selling merchandise and the latest publications as well as events taking place. They also have the Japan Anima(tor)’s Exhibition which will be showing a range of short films that will showcase new talent and which artists to expect great things from down the road. There will also be a range of seminars taking place with top industry professionals discussing ‘Things you’ve always wanted to know about anime’, ‘How is the music used in anime and games produced?’ and ‘Let’s sing anime songs together!’. There’s even a replica of the Colossal Titan’s head from Attack on Titan. Japan Authors’ gallery KAORI aims to spread word of some outstanding manga writers, novelists and artists whose works could be seen as representative of Japanese culture. They’ll be showcasing a top selection of wonderfully talented people at their HYPER JAPAN Festival booth.
Cosplay –
Cosplaying is always welcomed at Hyper Japan and this year along side the usual COSParade there will be a photo booth to document your costume and Cosplayer Tables where guest cosplayers will be on hand to give tips, advice and hold informal discussions.
Culture –
In the culture area you will find traditional clothing, including the kimono, accessories, home wares and other Japanese goods for sale. Travel companies giving you advice and information about visiting Japan and language schools to help you find a place in the UK to learn Japanese.
Hyper Kawaii –
My favourite area! This area is where you will be able to shop for everything cute from clothing, accessories, jewellery, home wares, plush toys and more. The HYPER J-Style Collection will be holding fashion shows featuring Japanese clothing brands and showcasing street fashion trends worn by Japanese fashionistas here.
Other –
Dance troupe Takarabune will be performing. Katanaya-Ichi are a sword fighting troupe who will be showcasing their skills. Mukoangie are a comedy duo act who will be sure to entertain and Japanese company ITK will be back to showcase their newest version of the Handroid. Takamasa Sakurai, a leading expert on Japanese anime, fashion and music as methods of cultural exchange, will be giving a special presentation on the global success of Japanese idols – you should look up some of the articles he has written online, very interesting and insightful. I’m really glad that he will be attending this year.