Hyper Japan 2019 Pt.2 - Sword and Book

A follow-up to last week’s post as Gordon and I received more loot in the post!

‘Found: Kobe-Japan’ by Stefan Jennings and Jane Kelly

First, the book, which contains images from an old photo album that had been salvaged from a load of stuff thrown out as part of a house clearance. It’s called ‘Found’ and is chock-full of images and poetry. Jane kindly posted it to me, wrapped in a promotional newspaper.

‘Found: Kobe-Japan’ promotional newspaper
‘Found: Kobe-Japan’ promotional newspaper, inside
‘Found: Kobe-Japan’ promotional newspaper, back

If you want to know more about the project, you can contact Stefan Jennings at stefan.a.jennings@gmail.com, or Jane Kelly at barkingdogs@btinternet.com

The sword, Frostmourne. I am so glad it was posted to Gordon and he didn’t have to lug it home on public transport! It is big and heavy. But oh, so impressive.

The box containing Frostmourne

The box containing Frostmourne

Beautiful wooden mount for the sword

Beautiful wooden mount for the sword

Frostmourne sword
Frostmourne - detail
Frostmourne - detail
Frostmourne - detail

Hyper Japan 2019 - 10 Year Anniversary

Yesterday, the boys and I headed up to London for our 7th visit to Hyper Japan.

Hyper Japan - Kensington Olympia

We almost missed this one because Gordon initially couldn’t get the day off, but then it turned out he could, so we off we went.

I didn’t post about our visit last year for reasons lost in the mists of time…

Even though Hyper Japan is a 3-day event, we’ve always gone on the Friday only because I can’t face the thought of travelling on a Saturday or Sunday to London, to spend the day around lots of people, and then battle back on the train after a long day.

Another reason to go on the Friday – we then have the whole weekend for the boys to wallow in their loot, and for me to recover.

Despite it being the festival’s 10-year anniversary, there wasn’t anything extra special laid out that I could see. But it was pretty good anyway.

The venue was Kensington Olympia, which, in our opinion, is the best setting ever for the festival. It’s easy to get to, either overground on the train or via the underground. And the building is, literally, next to the station.

The procedure for entering and bag check was a bit farcical last year. But this year was a lot smoother and, before we knew it, we were in the building. For a change, it wasn’t heaving with people from the get-go, making it easier to do the initial browse. We always split up first, have a quick look around then meet up again for lunch.

Hyper Japan - Kensington Olympia
Japanese wall hangings
Gorgeous clothing by    Tainted Prince

Gorgeous clothing by Tainted Prince

Samurai print
View from first floor

What I like about this venue - it’s split over 2 floors, with the food upstairs. Again, the queues for the food stands weren’t that long, another nice surprise. We timed it well as the queues built up quickly after we’d bought our food.

Then we went our separate ways again to do some serious shopping, the boys more than me.

Bought a couple of presents for upcoming birthdays, and had an interesting chat with a writer, Stefan Jennings. Together with his friend, Jane Kelly, a photographer, they’d set up a modest little stand filled with black and white images of people in Japan. There were large prints and a book, filled with the images. Annoyingly, I can’t remember the name of the book.

The images are from an old photo album that had been thrown out as part of a house clearance somewhere in London. Many of the photos had suffered water damage. A friend had alerted either Stefan or Jane, I can’t remember, to the photos. They salvaged them and set about restoring them as best they could.

There weren’t any text or notes to explain anything about where the photos had been taken or who the people in the photos were. But it was obvious they’d been taken in Japan, most likely in the 1930s and 1940s. They believe the white woman in the photo must have been from the UK, and she’d made a life for herself in Japan.

Sadly, on returning to the UK, either before or after the war, she may well have found it difficult to talk about her time in Japan or to show any of the pictures because of the negative, bitter feelings towards Japan.

I wanted to buy the book but didn’t have enough cash on me, and they hadn’t set up the equipment for card payments. But Jane kindly made a note of my email address and said she’d get in touch so we can work out payment and posting of the book to me.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the post about the book.

When I mentioned that I’m from Malaysia, and my parents had lived through the Japanese occupation during the war, Stefan mentioned a book written by a Malaysian and set during that occupation, called ‘The Gift of Rain’ by Tan Twan Eng. I admit to being embarrassed that I hadn’t read it, but plan to remedy that soon.

Even more interesting, I learned that Jane had grown up in Malaysia and had even gone to the same kindergarten school as me! What a small world.

The boys and I watched one of the acts, a cyber punk band called ‘Ijen Kai’. Interestingly, they all wear masks, which mean no one has any idea what they really look like. The one who held my attention and most people’s attention, I’m sure, is the dancer. Talk about fluid and so flexible.

Ijen Kai on stage

Ijen Kai on stage

Ijen Kai
Ijen Kai, getting ready for the ‘meet and greet’ after their performance

Ijen Kai, getting ready for the ‘meet and greet’ after their performance

The boys were beyond pleased as they’d found items that had been impossible to find, fairly well priced, from a franchise they’ve grown to love called ‘Kamen Rider’.

Gordon’s loot - Kamen Rider, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, Evangelion figure

Gordon’s loot - Kamen Rider, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, Evangelion figure

Gordon also treated himself to a sword (from ‘World of Warcraft’, which he doesn’t play) called Frostmourne, which he’d always wanted ever since watching a replica being made on the ‘Man at Arms Reforged channel on Youtube. He didn’t have to lug it back on the train, which was good because – and I take it these are new rules – weaponry is no longer allowed to be taken out of the building. So, it’ll be posted to him instead. And here’s the link to the post with pictures of the sword.

Liam’s loot - Gundam (requires assembly), Kamen Rider (one of which includes a DVD), Yu-Gi-Oh cards

Liam’s loot - Gundam (requires assembly), Kamen Rider (one of which includes a DVD), Yu-Gi-Oh cards

I bought myself an art book for a franchise/show/game that Liam discovered first called ‘Fate’, which has a huge amount of stuff and information attached to it. ‘Fate/Apocrypha’ is just one of many tv shows, which we’ve watched together, and I just love the designs. As Liam had already spent enough of his money, I decided to buy it. It doesn’t bother me that all the text is in Japanese as it’s chock-full of lovely illustrations on very good quality paper.

‘Fate/Apocrypha’ art book
A page from ‘Fate/Apocrypha’
A page from ‘Fate/Apocrypha’
Character page from ‘Fate/Apocrypha’
Character page from ‘Fate/Apocrypha’
‘Fate/Apocrypha’ character
‘Fate/Apocrypha’ characters

And I also treated myself to a gorgeous coat because… why not?

Coat from ‘Tainted Prince’
Sleeve/cuff detail

Living A Creative Life - 'Big Magic' by Elizabeth Gilbert

Having recently re-read ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, I’m reminded to take a more fun approach to my writing and creative life in general.

Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert.jpg

I’ve not read any of Ms Gilbert’s novels, but I have listened to her TED Talks and was drawn to get this particular book. It’s written in a light, breezy style, which makes for easy reading. I remember getting through it in a couple of days. For me, what makes this book special is her humorous personal anecdotes, some of which had me laughing out loud.

I read this book as a writer wanting to live a creative life. But one of the things I like about this book, even though she’s talking about creative living, she’s not only talking about a life “exclusively devoted to the arts… [W]hen I refer to ‘creative living’, I am speaking more broadly. I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.

Image by    lisa runnels    - Pixabay

Image by lisa runnels - Pixabay

So, while I made notes from the point of view of a writer, I realised there’s good stuff here for anyone, not just the artist. To that end, I thought it would be fun to share some of my notes.

Its redundant to call someone ‘a creative person’ because we all are! Creativity is the hallmark of our species. If you’re alive, you’re a creative person…

You do not need anybody’s permission to live a creative life.

A creative life is an amplified life… a bigger, happier, expanded life… a more interesting life.

You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.

For most of history people just made things, and they didn’t make such a big deal out of it… We make things because we like making things… We pursue the interesting and the novel because we like the interesting and the novel. And inspiration works with us, it seems, because inspiration likes working with us.

Image by    rawpixel    - Pixabay

Image by rawpixel - Pixabay

We’re only here for a short while so… while you still have time… Live the most vividly decorated temporary life you can – physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually. Don’t be afraid of bright colours, new sounds, big love, risky decisions, strange experiences, weird endeavours, sudden changes or even failure. Spend as much time as you can creating delightful things out of your existence, because that’s most likely what brings you awake and that’s what brings you alive.

Be committed to living a creative life… not to save the world, not as an act of protest, not to become famous, not to gain entrance to the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to family or anyone that you’re worthy… but simply because you like it.

Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy.

Image by    marishon    - Pixabay

Image by marishon - Pixabay

I’m about to publish my fourth book and, for the first time, I’m enjoying the process of formatting, creating the cover and previewing it umpteen times before I hit ‘publish’. I know I’m rubbish at marketing, but I hope someone, at least one person, will read it and enjoy it. Of course, it would be wonderful if more people read it and enjoy it, like dancing with everyone at a party. Not that it’s something I’d actually do! But if I end up dancing in the corner on my own, I realise that’s ok too.

What about you? What do you absolutely love to create, no matter what? A garden? Clothes? Cakes? Whatever it is, I hope you enjoy the process too.