Japan Matsuri 2011 in London

About a month ago, on Sunday 18th September, the Japan Matsuri was held in London. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to write about it, but life has been busy.

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

It was a fantastic day, with almost too much to take in. I wished I could split myself into two people to be on each side of County Hall and see everything. The event took over the entire space around County Hall in London, and even some of the space inside. There were three stages, lots of information stalls, shop stalls and food stalls. It was really wonderful to see Japanese culture being appreciated in London so enthusiastically.

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

I spent the day running around and through County Hall, trying to see and eat as much as possible. Of course, I couldn’t see everything, but I managed to squeeze in quite a bit!

The festival was officially opened by Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi, Jeremy Hunt MP and the Matsuri team, with the opening of a sake barrel:

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

The whole festival area was beautifully decorated with lanterns:

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

And everyone seemed to be getting into the spirit of things, even the aquarium’s penguin!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

I started my day with some okonomiyaki:

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

And went back for some takoyaki for dinner:

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

In between all the eating, I enjoyed lots of performances. There was taiko from Taiko Meantime, who had a bit of trouble getting their massive drums onto the tiny stage!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

Next, on the Main Stage, I watched Nodojiman: The J-Factor – a singing competition. Well done to everyone who took part – especially those British people who sung in Japanese! There were some really excellent performances.

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

The first prize was a return ticket to Japan courtesy of ANA!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

After Nodojiman, I had time to enjoy browsing the stalls…

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

This origami yoda was on the British Origami Society‘s stall.

A bit later on I made my way to the Belvedere Stage to see a friend of a friend’s band, Green Antarctica. They were really good!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

The next act, Kuaigora, were a surprise highlight for me. I hadn’t heard of them before, but liked them so much that I stayed throughout the rain and even bought their CD. The singer reminded me a bit of Bjork, and the guitarist was the guy from the takoyaki stall!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

The last band on the Belvedere Stage were called The Fairlady ZZZZZ, and seemed to be really popular among middle-aged Japanese women.

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

I didn’t think much of them (and it was chucking it down with rain), so I headed over to the Main Stage to save my place for the finale – the Joji Hirota Taiko Ensemble. 🙂

It was incredibly crowded and difficult to take photos but, believe me, the performance was amazing! I think everyone was a little concerned for the fish in the aquarium below the Main Stage though!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

☆★☆

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

I hope everyone who came to the Japan Matsuri enjoyed it, and I hope some people stumbled upon the festival and had their eyes opened to a whole new culture. I can’t wait for next year’s matsuri!

Japan Matsuri 2011, London

My full collection of photos from the day can be found on Flickr, as usual.

4 thoughts on “Japan Matsuri 2011 in London

  1. I recognise the takoyaki guy from the Brighton Japan festival! So sad I couldn’t go!! was asked to do photos but had a christening on same day but they have said I can do next year instead. Really sad I missed it it looked fab, and your photos are great, I love the first one of the flag, and the one of the dragon in particular. xxx

    Like

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