My first impression was how much bigger the venue was! It was held at Earl’s Court and was upstairs on the Brompton Hall floor which was opposite the West Brompton underground station. Upon taking the escalator up you were immediately given a multitude of directions which you could take. My first thought was to visit the smaller tables sat to both the left and right of those first few steps you take onto the floor. As I chatted to a few of the exhibitors (Cakes With Faces) I then stopped as something big and red that caught my eye and I then quickly approached it. It was Mario! I got a picture of myself with him and noticed how different he seems in this way .
I then proceed to locate the whereabouts of a few of my favourite shop’s stalls (Japan Centre, Cakes with Faces, Cybercandy to name a few) so I could frequently visit them throughout my day. I had been queuing outside and was officially the third person to step foot in the venue so it was very easy to take my time to do this. In fact I didn’t really make use of a floor plan as I really didn’t need to. The stalls were well marked and there was enough room to see all I needed to. I did spend a lot of time in the Nintendo and Namco Bandai booths, but this was because the place hadn’t filled and I didn’t want to miss anything.
I later took part in the Sushi Awards and got to experience amazing sushi ! As part of this I was asked to vote for my favourite one which I did and as a way to say thanks I was given a chance to enter a prize draw 🙂 I won some pickled ginger. I then noticed a demonstration underway on cooking. I then came to find it was about experiencing and learning about Japanese tastes and I was asked if I would like to sign up for one for FREE so I did. I went for the Sake demonstrations. I was asked to come back 10 mins before the demo was to take place and then realised that really I only had to wait 5 mins and so I did. The demo was ran by Natsuki Kikuya who is an expert in Sake. She gave us a brief history into Sake and how it was made followed by a tasting session. We then filled in a form and once again entered a prize draw and this time I won some pickled ginger.
I also watched the live talk and music by Natsuko Aso which was really fun though you could tell she wasn’t feeling well as her voice cut out a few times.
Saturday was a full day and bound to be busier. When I arrived I couldn’t help but notice the distinct lack of queue which excited me, though this time we had to enter the building at the front entrance and walk back on myself to finally walk on to the escalator. This time I was going to check out the stalls merchandise and came to quite a realisation- there really wasn’t much for us geeky boys to buy. I mean if you don’t include the very expensive figures. I went about and tried to experience the many different stalls that were there. My first stop was on the ICN Cafe’s “Flower Roll” stall. The food was great and nicely presented and there was always a queue there which is always a good sign. Next I tried “Nice Ice Kakigori” which was the best tasting dessert there especially for me with my sore throat and the queue was always at least 12 deep also. I also tried some noodles from the “KOBE” stall, okonomiyaki from the “Soya” stalls and finally Takoyaki on a stick from the “Banana with Chocolate” stall. As I did yesterday I signed up for another demonstration but this time it was called “I Love Umeshu” which was sponsored by “Choya”, again ran by Natsuki Kikuya. After trying 5 different ones the demo ended and we were even treated to a free can of Umeshu Soda. The main stage had a lot of decent shows which I just had to see. First thing I watched was Third Window Films Showcase with Satoshi Miki and Eri Fuse. It was funny and fun and I even got my copies of his movies signed. Next I watched the Japanese traditional dancing and had entered the Bandai competition for a 3DS. I spend a good bit of money on snacks from Tofu Cute and Japan Centre. I often shop at Japan centre. Over all the event was fantastic and I look forward to the next event!
For those who want to see more check out Hyper Japan’s web site!