Sake, costumes and J-Pop at London 'Hyper Japan' expo

Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:35am EDT
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Tasting sake, sampling colorful snacks and dancing along to "J-Pop", fans of all things Japanese can indulge in food, drink and music at the "Hyper Japan" festival in London this weekend.

The exhibit, which opened on Friday, celebrates Japanese cuisine and culture. It started at London's Truman Brewery in 2010 and now draws some 80,000 people, organizers say.

Many visitors come in colorful wigs, costumes or dresses inspired by Japan's culture of "kawaii", or cute, as they sample food stalls and cooking demonstrations. Some dress up as anime characters as they play on video games.

The festival's "Sake Experience" is Europe's largest public tasting event for the Japanese rice wine, according to organizers.

The event also provides a taste of Japanese music, with girl groups such as Dempagumi.inc and Heisei Kotohime, as well as other Japanese R&B and pop singers, performing live.

"What makes Japanese culture really unique is that we closed our culture off to the West about 100 years ago and that nurtured our own culture," "Hyper Japan" founder Kazuhiro Marumo told Reuters.

"Nowadays we have a very good mix of Western and Eastern culture, modern and traditional, and all these elements are very well balanced."

"Hyper Japan" runs at London's O2 until Sunday.

(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)