Last weekend I and Aisha Anime visited the Hyper Japan shop in Camden for the first time. There was a special fashion event held in conjunction with Bourgeois Fashion TokyoxLondon, a fashion show, which involved the models from Bourgeois walking and photographed in a range of styles around Camden market. While this was taking place members of the general public were offered free shots of sake and Japanese beer. Yusuke F Maria, the same photographer and owner of Bourgeois, was also on hand to shoot the general public for free in-store. For a charge of £3, hair could be styled and makeup done to make the photo extra special!
Regarding the shop, it embodies what Hyper Japan is all about; selling alpacas, Japanese confectionery and lots of kawaii accessories. The store also stocks independent designers that you may have seen at the convention such as Pixie Bunny and Candy Geisha. As well as the kawaii products there is also a selection of Japanese media – DVDs, CDs and magazines on offer. The price of the products stocked are no cheaper than it would be online or at the convention.
Location wise, Camden is famous for its alternative scene and shops; if you walk around the market you will find stalls stocking anime satchels, keyrings and t-shirts etc. I am still unsure if it is the ideal place, as for me Camden market is all about the haggling, but everything in the Hyper Japan shop is at a set price and cannot be negotiated. I would have actually liked to have seen this in the Piccadilly area, but I am sure the rent is extortionate. OK, yes, I’ll admit I just want to change the Trocadera Centre into a haven of Japanese and anime related shops! Heck they have Japan town in LA, why not London!
Overall a convention opening a shop is a BIG step and one to be commended. This shop is a great way to positively introduce our hobbies to mainstream audiences, helping them to get the recognition they deserve. This could even be the way forward for more shops of its kind to enter our high streets, making the products we want more accessible.