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100_3371100_3350100_3280…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Hyper-Japan, Earl’s Court 26th-28th July 2013.

I went to Earl’s Court 2, with a friend, on sunny but stormy weekend, seeking inspiration, and found it.  A feast for the imagination. Green tea chocolate, purple customised flying vans, slicing aikido sword strikes, Okinawan festive dances of indigo blue cotton kimono and yellow flip flops. Karate stunts, octopus balls, beer, sushi fresh from the roller, fish cake and ramen soup,  J-pop, J-rock and K-pop, ‘Technodelic’ mime and dance from Tokyo dance group, SIRO-A.  (In between shows, they publicised themselves by walking around with 12 foot white cylinders on their heads.) Free language lessons, French/Japanese clothing companies selling every kind of baggy trouser, retro cummerbunds made from vintage kimono silk. What a wide range of vibes, wares, foods, shows and activities. Many nations, cultures and generations of London’s Japanophile population were present. And some unexpected cross-culture fusions. Most of the martial artists were westerners. Many of the musicians we met, live in London. Then there was the Tokyo Geisha house mistress who is the first westerner in 400 years to be accepted in the Geisha culture. Emphasis generally was on gaming, Manga/anime ‘cosplay’ and pop culture – but there were aspects of a more organic, past-times Japan, towards which I gravitated. I enjoyed various martial arts displays (Kendo, Aikido, Kempo and Karate) and traditional dance, but my highlights were the folk musicians :

Anam Kawashima – pictured above playing with her very small daughter. Also, pictured below, Akari Mochizuki, (voice) Hibiki Ichikawa, (shamisen) Koji Kishida, (flute) and Tomoya Nose, (cajón) who played together doing traditional ‘enka’ (blues) and folk music, but with a contemporary twist.

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Arigatou Gosaimashita  to Hyper-Japan and all the performers/exhibitors for an inspiring weekend!

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