Japan is about to become big in London. While Londoners have long enjoyed the taste of Japan at numerous restaurants and sushi bars, we’ve been mostly missing out on the kooky-cool of Japanese pop culture. But that’s all about to change, according to Yukiko Takahashi, general manager of the upcoming Hyper Japan event.
“Sushi is so widespread and well-known in London now”, she says, “But Japanese pop culture is the new star. British people like new stuff and they’re really curious about Japan.
“While Japanese [computer] games do really well in the UK, other things such as anime and cosplay haven’t been as big here as they are in France and Germany, for example. But it’s time for London to embrace Japanese culture, big time!”
Hyper Japan is a two-day event in October that’s bringing Manga, cosplay, technology and Japanese street fashion to the heart of happening Shoreditch. The Barbican is also turning Japanese this October, with an exhibition, Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion and a season of Japanese cinema.
Outside work, when she’s homesick Takahashi says she personally enjoys Tomoe restaurant in Marylebone, and visiting Japanese food shops – “they’re a sacred place for us” – such as Atari-ya for fresh sashimi and the Japan Centre on Regent Street. A favourite hidden gem is Adanami Shobo, a second-hand book shop with a karaoke-box behind it.
Takahashi also mentions Camden as a good spot to find touches of Japan in London. ”Lolita gothic fashion I find really interesting, and it’s got a real connection to the London street fashion of the 1970s – what Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren were doing. “I think London and Japan definitely have a connection when it comes to fashion.”
What are your top tips for Japanese stuff in London? Tell us in the comments below.