Yesterday, the boys and I headed up to London for our 7th visit to Hyper Japan.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
And I also treated myself to a gorgeous coat because… why not?