Last week on Friday the 15th of July I attended the latest Hyper Japan event with Littlest Sister – these have become a really fun tradition and we’ve attended these for at least two or so years now and plan on going to all of the future ones too. This instalment was back at the Kensington Olympia and I think this has to be my favourite venue for HJ – it’s conveniently located with its own train stop opposite, requires only one train change for us, has enough room for a queuing system, is one, massive open space meaning it’s easy to find everything and you won’t miss anything (I’m looking at you Tobacco dock) and is one of the only ones where I haven’t found temperature to be a massive issue – considering how warm it is in England at the moment I was concerned this might be problems with over heating.
We opted to go on the Friday – it’s quieter, cheaper and it meant we could meet up with one of our friends and her Husband and still have the whole weekend for other things. We also chose to cosplay again – I love cosplay! I really love making costumes; it’s just so much fun. Littlest Sister went as Cooro from Anima+ and I chose to go as Luna’s human form from the Sailor Moon Hearts in Ice movie.
We got to Kensington Olympia with 10-15 minutes to spare – there was a train cancellation meaning we were a little delayed. Based on previous experiences with HJ we were expecting to turn the corner and find a huge queue to get in but were pleasantly surprised when we just walked straight through the doors to the entrance to find almost no queue – we were in within 5 minutes of entering the building, after a quick bag search and ticket scan and away we went!
Having planned on the train to check out the whole event before buying anything so that we made sure we knew what we wanted / checked prices. The only thing we had decided was that Littlest Sister wanted to buy some melon pan from the Japan Centre before they sold out – handily for us, all the snacky type stalls were right by the entrance – I spotted Doki tableware here too. There was quite a crowd around the Japan Centre stall but Littlest managed to get her melon pan (good job too as when we made it back later on they had entirely sold out!).
Making our way around the stalls downstairs I realised how much space there was between each row, this was absolutely fantastic! It was great not to feel crammed in.
I spotted quite a few familiar faces, Tofu Cute and their photo set, Love Jojo, Crunchyroll and NHK Live (I love these guys too!). There were also quite a few new things with stalls on tourism in Japan and Japanese language courses. I picked up a brochure from one of them as we’re hoping to visit Japan next year. There was also a wrestling ring/performance set up on the lefthand side. On the right hand side were Heart of Gaming, an artist ally, Nintendo and the Live stage.
Nintendo really bought their A game this year, there were sections for Animal Crossing, Yokai Watch, and Pokemon as well as their own stage. They were also giving out leaflets with download codes for special Pokemon – now somewhere, I thought I had read that it was a level 100 shiny Pikachu, when in fact it was a lvl 100 shiny Xerneas – I’d of been slightly happier with a Pikachu, just because I’m trying for a team of them and he’s my absolute favourite but having said that, I did get a photo with Pikachu so I’m over the moon! There were plenty of opportunities to get photos with Mario and Jibanya mascots too.
Talking of mascots, look who else we found! This time Domo didn’t managed to scare the living daylights out of me! NHK also had a tombola you could try out if you filled in their very quick survey which we did.
After we’d finished checking out downstairs, we tried to play one of the Dancing stage games over at Heart of Gaming, but despite sitting and waiting for the queue, were a staff member told us to wait, it seemed one of the other staff was ignoring us and just grabbing other random people to play? I’m not really sure what that was all about, but we gave up and went to give our friend her tickets and go investigate upstairs.
The balcony level had so much! We found one of my favourites Fuzzballs where I got some super cute stickers and a necklace! I even got to chat to the lovely owners too!
Artbox, Electric Sheep, Sugar Trampoline and many others were on the left-hand side. After checking out most of that side we decided to go see what food options we could find and weren’t disappointed.
Most of the usual offerings were here from Yo-sushi, Temaki handroll etc – we decided to buy a sushi platter, some drinks and mixed hot set consisting of pumpkin koroke, takoyaki and gyoza to share between the two of us – I think it cost us around £10-11 each, which for the amount of food we had and convention prices was really good value – it was super tasty too – my only regret is I don’t have any more today it was that good.
Feeling well fed and rested we headed back off to see what else we could find! I spotted a stall selling Japanese homewares and another selling door curtains and other cute items. I bought one of the curtains for our newly redecorated bedroom! I also spotted a Luna Twinkle charm at something Kawaii, annoyingly I bought it as there were only 2 left and I was worried they’d sell out before I came back – we later found them £3 cheaper else where, but hey-ho at least I got one!
Over the other side we found lots of stalls selling figures, books and cards – I also found Charming Sushi, quite by chance. Long story short, I purchased a Girls Memory Sailor Neptune figure from their ebay store which arrived damaged. I was promised a replacement that never arrived and sent several emails and messages that never received a reply. I did open a dispute to return it but due to real life issues, I closed it as I wouldn’t have time to return it and wasn’t sure if I’d get a replacement/I didn’t want a refund, just an undamaged figure. Anyway – I’d found a Sailor Saturn on this stall and asked if they would check the stand to make sure it wasn’t damaged, this was when I discovered this was Charming Sushi and this wasn’t the first time someone had asked them to check – they remembered my damaged figure and gave me a replacement stand for Neptune too, a headphone plug and apologised profusely. More worryingly they said they had refunded my payment in the last few days and the money was gone from their account but hadn’t arrived to mine. As of today, that refund still hasn’t arrived and I’ve not heard anything more from them.
Once we’d finished shopping we decided to go take a break for a little while before the main event we wanted to see started – Azumi Inoue and Yuyu! We caught the tail end of a Volcaloid concert too – I had no idea virtual idols were so popular! Azumi and Yuyu – Oh my gosh they were absolutely fantastic, I’ve always wanted to hear the Studio Ghibli songs performed live and this was so perfect! Just absolutely full of energy and beautiful. I especially enojoyed singing along to Totoro and Ponyo. I recorded the whole thing so I’ll hopefully pop that on Youtube at some point – we had to leave pretty sharply after the performance to catch the train so we didn’t get to meet them – and then we found the trains were delayed for 40 minutes! Gutted doesn’t cover it, hopefully next time we’ll get to meet them!
All in all we had an absolutely amazing day, I was a little concerned we’d run out of things to do before Azumi Inoe and Yuyu came on – their performance started at 6:30pm and we arrived at 12:00pm – but I’m pleased to say we didn’t – we only took two little breaks during the whole day, it was absolutely a fun packed day out – I’ll be doing a separate post for my mini-haul soon! I can honestly say, I cannot wait for the next HJ in November – it’s going to be so much fun!
Did you get to go to the Hyper Japan festival? What was your favourite part of the day? Let me know in the comments below!
Ta-ta for now,