Japan Festival Leamington Spa 2022
Thank you to everyone who came along to Japan Festival Leamington Spa 2022 on 30th January!
It was my first stall since October 2019. When I packed everything up back then at MCM London Comic Con I never expected it’d be so long till the next one! I wasn’t planning on doing any events this year, but when I saw a local Japan festival so close to home I couldn’t resist.
It was a small event at the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington Spa, which is a grand, historic building. It’s the first venue I’ve exhibited in that has a chandelier:
Stalls at Japan Festival
There were stalls selling various Japanese crafts, cute character merch, kimonos, plants and furoshiki fabric gift wrap. It was so busy that I didn’t leave my table at all the whole day, so I didn’t get a chance to look at everything or take many pictures, but it seemed like there were more traditional Japanese goods than you’d find at an anime con or Hyper Japan. There were also workshops on origami, ikebana flower arranging, calligraphy and tea ceremonies, as well as a small stage with taiko drumming, mask performances and Leamington’s own j-pop singer, Mion.
And of course there were Japanese food stalls! There was an impressive selection of meals like Japanese curry, yakisoba and bento boxes, as well as bakery items like souffle cheesecake and delicious-looking yuzu cakes. My recommendation goes to Nana’s, who have an excellent Japanese restaurant in Leamington. The owner used to live in Japan so it’s very authentic and always a treat.
Cakes with Faces’ Stall
I had a much smaller stall than usual as all exhibitors had one table each. The biggest challenge was figuring out where to hide away all the boxes once I’d set up. I didn’t have room to take everything, so I went for a selection of Japan-related items, plus the Bearnana tote bags in case anyone needed a quick bag to carry stuff, and the scarves as it’s so cold at the moment! My Japan guidebooks took centre stage – it was their first outing to an event since they came out in 2020, as well as the newer hardcover version of the sushi books.
The day was much more popular than anyone expected and so many people turned up. It seems a lot of people like Japan…! I heard at one point the queue to get in was 2 hours long. Towards the end of the day, all the food stalls completely sold out and several of the tables were looking bare too. As a small, local event, I don’t think anyone expected it to be so popular, so I’m sure if they do it again the venue will be bigger next time!
Big thanks to the organiser and her team, who did a fantastic job putting on this event for the first time and looking after us on the day.
While I hadn’t planned on doing any events this year, it was really lovely to meet so many people who I chat to online and who I send out orders to. It makes me so happy when you turn up wearing my designs, and it always makes you feel at home at an event when you meet people from online, or when people know my name or ask about things I’ve been chatting about on Twitter, etc!