Japanese culture has infiltrated western countries in what appears to be a blur of Kawaii (cute) fashions and Bento (lunch meal) boxes decorated in a variety of cartoon characters. I myself have fallen prey to the eclectic, colourful and sometimes Kowai (scary) aspects of Japanese culture.
My obsession started around the time I started watching various anime during the long nights of binge eating and procrastination (mandatory work always comes last) and reinforced when I discovered that most of the shows I watched when I was younger, i.e; Pokemon, Digimon, and all other late night Toonami and Cartoon Network, were originally Japanese made.
Over the next 5 years I took to consistently binge watching completed series available online and in boxset series purchased hungrily from CEX, and keeping up with weekly releases such as Bleach, One Piece and more recently World Trigger. Somewhere along the lines I began to realize I was slowly learning certain words (embarrassingly, mostly the words that conveyed emotion or curse words) So I figured half the work was done when I decided to learn the language. I WAS SO WRONG. Speaking Japanese was a piece of cake, learning to speak Japanese fluently was nearly impossible. And the characters were beyond inconceivably difficult. But I was pretty determined.
Then came the food.
Takoyaki (octopus balls) is still the single best thing I have eaten in years, I’m always so eager to eat them that I end up burning the inside of my mouth.
Taiyaki (fish shaped pancake filled with sweet red bean paste) was so good I bought two and saved one for later despite knowing it would be nowhere near as good.
Then there was Kara-age (Japanese fried chicken,) which perfectly merged my go-to soul food with the compelling spices and healthy cooking style that I adore.
Winter is the perfect season for Ramen (Japanese noodle soup) and Nabe (hotpot) and I am literally waiting for the day I get to try Sukiyaki
So, armed with my half complete aspects of Japanese culture I braced myself for the Bi-annual event known as Hyper Japan at the O2. And as the day progressed, the hunger for more grew. I left the day with one singular thought in my mind, on repeat. GET ME TO JAPAN. NOW.