Cosplay, Manga, Anime, Sake cocktails and even a maid cafe
Hyper Japan’s Christmas Market returns to London for another weekend of festive Japanese culture celebrations.
Located at East London’s iconic Grade I listed warehouse, Tobacco Docks, Hyper Japan’s Christmas Market opened its doors for anyone and everyone to embrace Japanese culture whilst celebrating the festive period.
Strolling through the deceivingly large venue and observing the ubiquitous cosplayers, one is reminded just how immersed and committed fans of Japanese culture are. From the wigs to the outfits to the makeup – the attention to detail of the costumes is remarkable. The fact that I felt underdressed in casual clothes is simply a testament to the number of cosplayers and their efforts.
The number of stalls sprawled across the market was impressive too. Selling everything from anime plushies to Pokemon cards, the collective range of products on sale would impress even the most seasoned Japanophile, who would undoubtedly find items to add to their collection. High prices didn’t deter shoppers either – by the end of the day, the majority of visitors were walking around with bags stuffed with Japanese goodies.
Cosplaying aside, visitors were encouraged to express their creativity through a number of other channels. Sake cocktail making was perhaps the most popular, with queues tailing back on themselves. The rice wine alcohol may not be to everyone’s liking but when blended into a delicious cocktail, the delicacy suddenly becomes irresistible.
Visitors were also encouraged to try their hand at drawing their own manga by signing up to a two-hour class. Led by what seemed to be an authentic Japanese artist, instructions were translated into English as aspiring manga students followed the artist’s delicate strokes. Sushi making was also offered for those who wanted to explore Japanese cuisine at home.
Of course, the event wouldn’t even warrant having ‘Japan’ in its title if there was no representation of Japanese food. Fortunately, food stalls were found wall-to-wall. The aroma of fried katsu filled certainly filled the Tobacco Docks. Diversity in the food offered was impressive too – from sushi to katsu curries to desserts to sushi burgers – there was something for everyone.
New to Hyper Japan was a full sized maid cafe. Waitresses were dressed in typical ‘maid cafe’ attire, serving a range of snacks and drinks. Of course, the venue couldn’t accommodate the full experience of sitting in an anime-themed restaurant, but the efforts in decorating the tables and chairs in bright colours were commendable. For those who haven’t been to Japan, the Hyper Japan maid cafe experience was still unique.
All-in-all, the Hyper Japan Christmas Market provided a great day out for anyone remotely interested in Japan, as well as diehard Japanophiles. Often with weekend events, those running the stalls often seem exhausted by the final day, but the convivial atmosphere of this Xmas market was still felt on Sunday. Visitors and exhibitors both seemed to be having a great time – if you missed the Hyper Japan Christmas Market this year, be sure to catch it in 2017!