I had a great weekend at Japanorama in Leicester at the National Space Centre. It’s a new event all about Japanese culture, and I was exhibiting in the Tokyo Main Street marketplace. It was great to be in a unique venue – I’ve been to the Space Centre for the day before and it’s really interesting for families and nerds alike, especially the section about what it’s like to be an astronaut. The marketplace was near the base of the rocket tower and every so often we’d hear the simulation of the rocket taking off!
As well as stalls, there were activities to take part in, including Japanese drumming (I lost Phil for half an hour while he had a go!), various kinds of martial arts for all adults and children and manga drawing workshops. There was also a really good stage programme including cooking demonstrations, a fashion panel, cosplay competition, artist Q&A, Beckii Cruel and Oishii Ichigo, a j-pop girl group. I watched Beckii Cruel dancing and singing her new single with Sparkles* and Oishii Ichigo, who sang anime songs and their original singles – which made me really wish I could sing and/or dance! Phil watched the cooking demonstration, and was impressed with the teriyaki burger samples and Japanese salad.
There was a great atmosphere at the event, and I liked that there were lots of things going on as well as the stalls. I was next to Artbox, who have a great selection of stickers, notebooks and all kinds of cuteness (I attempted to practice my hiragana reading the packets). We were also near Genki Gear and Nice Ice, whose kakigori (shaved ice) went down well on the sunny weekend. It was also lovely to meet Craftholic, who I’d seen before at Hyper Japan, but hadn’t realised is a really well-known brand in Japan. Their plushies are extremely soft and huggable. There was also a jewellery stall, anime and manga stalls and a clothing stall with funky dresses, plus a stall with dorayaki and Japanese ice cream – the cinnamon ice cream was delicious!
On the Cakes with Faces stall, the new displays made their debut, and made everything look a lot more organised. Plus a new tablecloth in my favourite colour purple! And some exciting new items that will be hitting the online shop very soon… Not surprisingly for an event about Japan, the most popular t-shirt was All the Best Stuff is from Japan, and the How to Make Sushi sets were also popular. It’s my mission to help sushi addicts make their own sushi at home, and show them that supermarket sushi is nothing like it should be!
There’s a rumour that this first Japanorama may not be the only one, so look out for it again next year. To see my photos, head over my Facebook page – cosplays, Beckii Cruel, Oishii Ichigo, more of my stall and the Space Centre itself!