On Saturday I went to Doki Doki in Manchester. Doki Doki is a Japanese culture event which first happened in 2011, and now takes place every two years. I’ve only been to Manchester a couple of times before as a kid, so I was quite excited to visit there (although I didn’t actually get to see much of Manchester in the end). I was working at the event, so I didn’t have a huge amount of time to look around, but I did manage to take a few photos, see a couple of the acts and sample the food. It was a nice event, although very small compared to events like Hyper Japan, and the main focus was definitely on otaku (geek) culture, comics and cosplay.
The event took place in Sugden Sports Centre, and filled three spaces. There were two halls containing stalls and stages, and one space showing films (that I didn’t actually get to see). There were also video games, live music performances at The Zoo, and an after party at Manchester Metropolitan University Students’ Union. I didn’t see any of the live performances or attend the after party unfortunately, but did catch some music on the stage in the hall I was in. Kayobi Taiko were the highlight for me, although I didn’t see enough other performances to really comment on the entertainment.
There wasn’t much food on offer, but there was sushi and mochi, which kept me happy. The sushi stall was also selling bento boxes, but they contained meat so I didn’t try one.
The mochi was from a company called Sweet Octopus, who are a North West-based ‘green tea room’, patisserie and maid cafe service, apparently! Their menu of cakes and teas was quite impressive, and I hope to see them again at an event in the future so I can try something else!
Cosplay was a big part of Doki Doki, and it was fun to see lots of excited kids and teenagers cos-playing. Some of their costumes were really good…
As well as heaps of modern culture, Doki Doki also served up a nice amount of traditional acts. There were various displays of martial arts, talks about Japanese culture, shamisen and koto, and even an Awa Odori Dance.
Overall, the event was nice, if a little small. I think as long as people didn’t go along expecting Hyper Japan they would have been happy, and indeed everyone I spoke to did seem to be having a good time! It was nice to spend the day around people who are as enthusiastic about Japan as I am!
The next Doki Doki is scheduled for 2015, but if you’re in the North and are looking for an event next year, there will be Japan Day in Liverpool hosted by Japan Society North West. This year’s event was in June, so I imagine next year’s event will be around the same time, although it hasn’t been announced yet. Click here for information about this year’s event.