21st July 2007- JapanEx London
My daughter decided she wanted to go to the Japanese Expo when it hit London this year. Since it was her first convention and since it was in the ExCel Centre which I was familiar with I agreed to go with her for the day. She is interested in manga and anime and I'm interested in games and other Japanese stuff so we were both looking forward to a good day out.
As usual, it took an hour to get there by public transport and we arrived at 10:00. The venue was already beginning to fill up nicely, the air was full of the sound of the Japanese drumming demonstration that was in full swing. Other demonstrations of Japanese arts and culture were staged throughout the day.
The Kendo show was very popular.
The British Go Association had a strong presence and were signing up lots of new members.
I was particularly impressed with the British Origami Society.
They had a table of interesting display items and another table where they were holding workshops that you could just join in and learn to make something as you went.
They had also organised a shooting gallery with a working origami crossbow and darts. Whatever you hit you won. My daughter won a very nicely made origami rose.
Games were quite prominent but not as much as I'd hoped. The latest incarnation of Dance Dance Revolution was on show with some very athletic players showing their moves. Sadly a still photo doesn't help you to appreciate how fast and accurately these guys move.
This dancing bee was demonstrating another dancing game where the position of your body is mapped by the sensors. Not as frantic as Dance Dance revolution but more of a full body workout.
There was also a big promotion for the two new Naruto games on the X-Box 360 and the PS2. Unfortunately my camera wasn't able to capture any screen shots.
There was a lot of Japanese food and drink on offer, with many free samples being given away. We sampled sushi, rice crackers and various soft drinks that mostly seemed to be made from fizzy milk. I bought lots of fizzy milk drinks.
Several stands were selling Pocky packs. If you've never tried Pocky you've missed out on a treat. Essentially they're thin, cylindrical biscuits dipped in chocolate. This doesn't sound too great but, believe me, there's some kind of magic added because they're wonderful. I bought loads of boxes of Pocky from the Tokyotoys stand because they had Pocky booth babes in fetching red and white costumes; you can see one in the above photo.
Here's another Tokyotoys babe with the main Tokyotoys man and a great Pocky cosplayer in his costume that he made himself.
Cosplay, that's dressing up as an anime or manga character, was a big thing at the show. There were hundreds of them, ranging from the 'Transformers who'd had their costumes stolen' above, to the amazing Zelda trio below.
I didn't buy any toys but I did get a pile of Japanese food. My daughter spent nearly £100.00 on manga and t-shirts and posters and other such frippery. We both had a good time though and when the next convention comes along I may well go with her again.