Cobalt at Hyper Japan Christmas Market 2017
Hey everyone! Cobalt here! This years Christmas market at Hyper Japan was an amazing convention, and despite not feeling majorly festive, it lived up to be what I think could be the best Hyper Japans to date.
Attending on the Saturday (both sessions, as Saturday is a long day it is split into a morning and afternoon session, to give vendors a break and time to restock/recook food and products) and Sunday, staying from 10:30am to about 6pm in the evening on both days. Despite this being a small con, there was plenty to look and see, especially with a camera and if you are looking to absorb everything and truly try all of what Hyper has to offer!
Where do I even begin with the live performances? This being the third Hyper Japan I have attended, this was the first time I had ever paid any real attention to the live performances before. Safe to say, this was the BEST time to start attending the Hyper Live! So many lovely acts performed this year, including Japanese mascots Shino-kun and Nishiko-kun, Punky J-Rock band Mutant Monster, the electronic-genre-hopping-mannequins FEMM, the J-Metal band Lovebites (who I was privileged enough to be able to interview!) as well as rakugo storyteller Katsura Sunshine who provided a very comical close to the convention.
If anyone hasn’t heard of any of the acts for next year (or even the acts above) They are seriously worth checking out!
This time at Hyper there were lots of different gallery showings on the upper floor, including the Fairy Tail exhibition to mark the end of the Manga (which did make me tear up slightly!), a paper cutting exhibition, a fish lantern area and a light showcase.
On the Sunday I was lucky enough to be selected by the curator- dressed as Naruto- to receive a special tour of the gallery, in which he explained to me the meaning of light to Japan, and that instead of finding it scary, that many found peace in the dark and dull lights. The gallery boasted all sorts of both abstract and minimalistic art, including lantern which when you clapped, turned on and off!
This tour added an extra element to the gallery which allowed me to have an extra insight into the gallery, maybe something they could have if they decide to have it next Summer! Highly recommended.
Cosplay has become bigger within the recent years of Hyper Japan, as well as the Japanese fashion. Cos! Parades and Costests are hosted on the Saturday and Sunday of the convention, Saturdays being any costume that is more performance based, and the Sunday for the cosplayers who very admiringly make their entire costume from scratch themselves! Sadly because of interview clashes I missed them this time, but I was told by friends that as usual the standard was very high and there were some amazing performers!
Although Sake is always a huge aspect of Hyper Japan, this year they seemed to be promoting a new sparkling sake, which was placed in a separate hall. This time there were separate tasting and buying areas for the sake which allowed for a more organised queuing system. You can go back as many times as you want for free sake, and the staff behind are extremely helpful at telling you what kind of sake suits what meal and whether it can be warmed! Naturally I went and bought some afterwards.
For an extra cost of £5 a ticket, this year Hyper Japan decided to run a ramen experience along with all of the other food stalls. This proved popular as all of the pre-sale tickets sold out extremely quickly, which made all of the attendees, including myself, extremely excited for the occasion. HJ had really pulled out all of the stops for Japanese culture this time, which was why the Ramen experience was put up on an extremely high pedestal.
Sadly, although the ramen was nice and you got to taste test four different soups (Tonaktsu pork broth, Sio (salt), Miso and Soy), the bowl was a lot different than advertised. With traditional ramen, you get pork, noodles, broth, finely diced spring onions, half a hard boiled egg and sometimes even menma (bamboo shoots) and seaweed. Each broth involved slightly, but with the one slice of meat and al-dente noodles, it was a slight disappointment and ended up with us buying more food which we weren’t expecting.For the cost of £5 it is a lot cheaper than most of the food at Hyper, but the portion size is smaller than expected with there being nothing too special about it.
As usual, Hyper Japan had a lot on offer in the lower section of the Tobacco docks. Along with the Ramen experience that Hyper Japan heavily promoted this year, there were the usual Katsu chicken, noodles, rice burgers and bubble waffles on offer, as well as the wagyu beef skewers which tasted DEVINE.
To summarise, Hyper Japan to me is still what I would consider a day convention. Although there was plenty going on, with careful planning it is all doable within one day. If you wanted to see all of the live performers though, I would definitely recommend going for both Saturday and Sunday (Or Friday and Sunday as HJ’s split sessions on the Saturday can be pricey for that plus another day). One thing I would mention as well is that during the split session break when you are escorted out, hang around at the back of the centre until you get instructed to queue to re-enter. Every single time i have been they haven’t quite gotten this right, although now they are using the Olympia for next Summers Hyper Japan, this might differ.
As always this small little culture convention surprised me, and look forward to see how Olympia will fare as the location for 2018’s Summer Hyper Japan!
Which Hyper Japan do you prefer, the summer festival or the Christmas market? Let me know below!!
Also, check out my gallery of the weekend below!