It's taken me a little while to write this up as I wanted to reflect on the event, and it's turned into a bit of a wall of text which I hadn't intended on.
Two weeks ago I attended the Hyper Japan Festival with my youngest Sister at the O2 in London. Now, many of you know how much I was looking forward to this, not only so I could finally meet my lovely friend Keren, watch Die Milch perform, but also so I could watch some of the other performances and events such as the bento making. I hate to say it but all though I had good time (So much so I almost went for a second day), but it was absolutely chaotic, and not set out in any sensible way what so ever - and oh my stars, it was so, so, SO hot! I don't think there can of been any kind of air conditioning in the area.
For those of you that have been to the O2 it was based in building six, across several floors and separated out into different sections, with the gaming area and a couple of random stalls as you walked into building six, the Hyper Kawaii on the right in the next part and most of the food stalls wedged right in the back. Lord only knows where the maid café and garden was as we sure as hell couldn't find it, nor find any signs as to where it was. This was also the same situation with finding the restrooms - when we approached the staff to find out where they were, we were pretty rudely told where to go and it turned out they were using porta-cabin bathrooms outside the building (Which were pretty gross, if I'm honest.)
To get in any of the areas you had to queue and present your wrist band which you needed to collect before entering the O2 (I'd heard a lot of people didn't realise this and were turned away to go get the wrist bands). I don't understand why everything was sectioned off like this, it made everything so much harder to get in and out of, and most of the sections didn't make much sense as part of the food court was in the back of Hyper Kawaii.
Hyper Kawaii itself was pretty full as well and we were continuously finding we couldn't get to the stalls we wanted due to people filming and taking photos (I gave up trying to film anything for you on my phone it was so busy). Unlike at Kensington Olympia, this time they had two stages for performances, once seemed to be for official acts like Die Milch and had a big lit stage with a very small seating area and the other was for dance groups and other performers. The problem with this is that they were so close to each other you could hear both performances going on at the same time, and the sound was very loud! (At one point someone was murdering karaoke songs. The other issue with the performer stage was that most of the acts seemed to be dancers to anime songs, whilst some were very entertaining it became very repetitive very quickly.
The food court seemed to be split between a sectioned off bit at the back of building six and Hyper Kawaii - there was far less seating this time and we ended up sitting on the floor to eat our lunch - I think we must have started something as a lot of people joined us on the floor for a make shift picnic!
I have no idea where the actual events were that I wanted to see, we never found the Bento making or anything else. I had found a schedule on line before we left that said Die Milch would be on at 4:00pm - it was only when I got back to see Keren that she told me they had already gone on and we could here Rosaria playing - I don't think I've ever run so fast across a building whilst trying to work out which of the two stages they were on (I picked right thankfully!) But I'm gutted that I missed the beginning of my favourite song.
The last thing that really irked me was the insane scalping on some of the stalls and people pretending that bought items were handmade. In some cases I saw items being sold for more than 3x their actual cost to purchase. I understand that people need to make a profit but a huge mark up is just disgusting and meant that I didn't purchase some of the planned items I wanted, and other people felt utterly ripped off when they realised, for example the bag they just paid £35 for actually retails at £13. Items bought on aliexpress or similar being sold as handmade. Yes they may have been handmade somewhere in China but not handmade by you, this isn't the same thing and you can't pass them off as being made by you, there were quite a few people doing this.
Hyper Japan is advertised as being a cultural event too. How ever I didn't see this in the slightest this time round. There were far less traditional stalls. I did see the Sake stalls in the food court, and one maybe two travel companies, but that was it, considering this was one of the main draws of the event it was pretty disappointing.
I know I'm not the only to think this. I've spoken to several people since HJ weekend and I don't know if the Saturday or Sunday were any better but from what I've been told it was even more chaotic. The winter event is being held in a different location and I'm hoping that will improve the situation as it'll be in one place and probably not as split up as this one was. I'm also hoping there will be a better schedule for events and that they will be easier to find as well, I think though I will be treating this as a shopping event rather than anything else.
Don't get me wrong, I really did have a great day out with my Sister and I finally got to meet my friend and I did a ton of shopping and did find some pretty good bargains! (Which was what this post was originally going to be about, but will have it's own separate post). But I have to say that if I wasn't as close to London as I am, and I wasn't going to meet up with friends, and if it was at the O2 again I think I'd have serious doubts about going again as I could have saved myself the ticket/travel money and bought everything I wanted on-line instead.
Anyway! Enough of the downsides, next post up will be my small haul from Hyper Japan!
Ta-ta for now