Hyper Japan’s Christmas Market was this weekend just gone; I went (though the important parts of my costume didn’t turn up in time – boo) with my awesome friends in their awesome costumes and even though the con has moved to Tobacco Docks this year it was still awesome, I of course only took one picture and it was of course childish and stupid:
The best way to describe Hyper Japan in Tobacco Dock is to imagine a level of Batman: Arkham Asylum but with cells decorated by a committee of Jigglypuff, The Care Bears and Tingle from The Legend of Zelda. It’s not the best place to hold a convention in general (it’s hard to find your way around once let alone find your way back to a particular stall) and it’s maze of dungeon-like rooms is particularly bad for a place where people stop every 23 seconds to take pictures of other people who are carrying huge foam weapons and/or sporting huge foam wings and/or wigs that obstruct their ability to see with both eyes. This was a Sunday at the smaller of the Hyper Japan shows, but apparently they’re planning to run the summer con there too, I predict it will be unbearable, especially on Saturday. But the stalls were excellent (and pretty fairly priced too), the stall holders were friendly, the food good and all the cosplayers we chatted to were delightful. I purchased just enough stuff to wring an Examples of Stuff I Waste My Money On post out and as I’m still suffering writer’s block I thought such an easy assignment might help me a little.
You for my mum, at least I’ll get my washing done…wait, are you seriously telling me that you don’t sing The Who every time you use Substitute in Pokémon? You’re fucking weird. I bet you don’t sing Thunderstruck by AC/DC every time you use Thunder either, not even on Super Smash Brothers. Anyway this is seriously the best sort of soft toy because I can say ‘it’s technically a replica’ and get away with breaking my ‘Jesus I don’t need more stuffed toys ever, ever, ever’ rule about buying Pokémon soft toys at conventions (because the only things you can guarantee will be at a convention is Pokémon soft toys and the stench of sweat…and Colin Baker). For the non-Pokéfans there is a move called Substitute (my coke for gin) that a Pokémon can learn and use in battle that literally creates a small substitute to take the damage for (usually) one hit from the opponent it’s battling, the substitute looks like a small doll and has looked like this fella since Gen III (the Game Boy Advance games). And could he be happier about his existentially nightmarish existence? He is fucking joyful about existing solely to take pain for Mr Mime.
£8 ($9.99) the pair
Staying on theme, these are adult hand sized Pokéballs, possibly the greatest piece of Pokémon merchandise ever made - I need a fucking hat to turn fucking backwards right-fucking-now. According to the tag, my new Substitute (I can see right through your plastic mac) was made for the Pokémon stores in Japan but these Pokeballs are about as official as they are toucans, this shows particularly badly in the terribly thin paint job on the ‘head bumps’ of the Master Ball (my favourite Pokéball, it’s one-per-game status and being purple make it so alluring, plus it was an important part of Gen 1 for me because it was an important part of the Missingno/Old Man cheat) but I’m really REALLY disinclined to give a toss because a) they make me feel like Pokémon trainer whenever I hold them b) they were a really good price and c) the stall also had a plushie Glaceon, thus the child we had with us in full Attack on Titan cosplay because she’s awesome (some of us were related to her, we didn’t just find one wandering around and claim them) was made content and even cuter.
Brand New Maid!
I can’t say I’m even remotely close to an aficionado of J-Pop and J-Rock, beyond Baby Metal, the 5,6,7,8’s and Teddy Boy Blues my knowledge is pretty much a small number of anime theme tunes but this is a maid-themed band with maid-based puns, the silly side of me could not possibly pass up the chance to listen to such a band, even if they were shit light synth stuff it would have been worth the tenner just to say I’d listened to an album by Japanese girls who dress as maids. HOWEVER I am listening to it right now (and have been for about two days) and can confirm that Band-Maid ROCKS, they may be adorable and in maid cosplay but they play some roaring guitars, every song could be your new favourite anime intro theme and it makes me want more, because I do really like this style of J-Rock, I love the ridiculously overblown lyrics, I like the Japanese verses and anthemic English choruses and female Japanese singers have the most pleasing of voices, well except for Billy Bragg, nothing is more pleasing to the ear than a bloke from up the road singing about social injustice.
I had two reasons for going to this convention 1) friends and 2) buy a Leafa figurine, I fancied making a joke there about there being a third reason and that reason being boobs but the first two reasons have that more than covered. I think Sword Art Online has become my favourite anime and (as always) contrary to popular opinion Aincrad is my least favourite arc – in fact it was the latter arcs, especially Phantom Bullet and Mother’s Rosario that made me completely fall for the series. Yes 80% of the reasons for me liking Leafa so much are sexual in nature but goddammit I’m a heterosexual male and that means I’m almost certainly terrible, ask Tumblr, and in light of that I feel no shame in buying Leafa before Sinon (who’s a way better character) but I actually bought her next not because she’s one of the hottest anime girls ever but because I clearly have undiagnosed OCD and it felt unnatural to buy Sinon, the heroine of the third story arc, second. This way I will have bought Asuna (heroine of the first story-arc) first then Leafa (heroine of the second story-arc) second and will be buying Sinon third – as it should be. I have revealed so many of my issues in this paragraph I now feel naked, exposed, paranoid and am going to lock the doors and retrieve the gun from behind the cistern.
£24.50 ($30.60) for the lot
So I have a Pop Culture Christmas Tree, if you’re not a tie-in to some media franchise you don’t get on it - we have a regular tree for regular decorations of course but this is my special Christmas project to make sure all my fandoms are represented throughout the holiday season. That may sound depressingly sad (and it kind of is) but on the other hand I have baubles that look like Mickey Mouses and Death Stars and that is objectively fantastic and you know it. The Empire Strikes Back set are so last year, literally, they came out last year and were sold in Game but these were a meagre £3.50, a steal for the Chewbacca bauble alone. The TMNT set appear to be new for this year, they are viscously green, my photo does not do their obscene greenness justice because no photo could, they look like 100 limeade lollies combined into a bauble (and given a mask, naturally) but holy shit new Ninja Turtle Christmas decorations! My vintage wooden TMNT tree decs dominate my Pop Culture Christmas Tree and now they have some new – official - friends, they’ll be so happy, maybe this new contentedness will stop those same two from falling off every other hour. Metal Sonic though is the real star attraction, a Metal Sonic Christmas decoration is a childhood dream come true. He is handmade and was from a stall just selling handmade Christmas Tree decorations including the full core Sonic cast, Mario cast and all the Eeveelutions, they were all as good as they sound. I kind of regret not buying a Sonic and Eggman to go with Metal, especially as it was classic Eggman but they were £7 each and I think I may have been more regretful the next day when I couldn’t afford lunch because I spent over £20 on small fabric SegaSonic heads.
£8 ($9.99) with a drink
Oh I did take another picture at the con, it was of my delicious Sushi Burger – this is a burger made of sushi rice ‘buns’ and then stuffed with chicken, carrot, ginger and sauces and my god it was like eating sex. Apparently Sushi Burgers are a new fad (according to the internet and when it that ever wrong?) but none of us had heard of the concept on Sunday and someone had to try it and why go to a J-Culture festival and just have noodles? I can get noodles in Tesco; my Tesco is 0.3 kilometres from my house (thanks Pokémon Go!), if I’m at a J-Culture convention I want something I can’t get within spitting distance of my back garden and even if they are a fad, you can’t get no Sushi Burgers ‘round here, but I so wish you could. The rice is just the right sticky texture to stay solid and perfectly compliment big clumps of chicken and the keep the texture of raw carrot shavings (not my favourite) from, well, existing really - allowing me to just have a nice carrot flavour without a weird carrot texture. Superb.
Yeah only 6 entries this time around – phew, right? And hey I think this DID help my writer’s block, or circumnavigate it at least, I guess no matter what I can always waffle about random purchases, does that make me consumerist? Or a situational comedian? It makes me bloody happy, I was going mental – one can only rewatch Pretty Little Liars so often before one’s writer’s block gets to you.