The number of foreign visitors to Japan is down for the 11th month straight since 11th March 2011, but I don’t think it’s simply that people don’t want to go there.
I’ve spent the whole weekend at Hyper Japan Spring 2012 in London, which is the UK’s biggest J-culture event, and I’m pretty sure the majority of the people there would love a trip to Japan. The event is aimed mostly at younger people, who are interested in popular culture such as manga, anime and cosplay, but I did see a fair number of older people there too (perhaps accompanying younger J-fans, but also appreciating the culture themselves). Many of the people attending the event, for one reason or another, have never actually been to Japan, and yet most of them long to go there.
A few of the travel company stands were running competitions to win trips to Japan, and I joined the queues to enter. When I spoke to people about their travel plans, many indicated that it was their dream to go to Japan, but that it was simply too expensive. Flights are cheaper at the moment, but you don’t get a lot of Yen for your Pound right now.
So, Japan, it’s not that we don’t love you. I know some people have fears about further earthquakes or radiation post March 11th, but I think there are a lot of people in the UK who would be on the next flight to Japan, if only they could afford it. I know I would! 😉
I’ll be writing up my Hyper Japan adventures in a series of blogs, as soon as I’ve sorted out the thousand or so photos I took over the weekend… Watch this space!
Purikura from Cyber Candy‘s new machine – coming to a London store soon!