London-based writer with incurably itchy feet always looking for the quirky and curious
With anime, sushi and cruel, humiliating gameshows all on the up, Japanese culture has never been more popular in the UK. And on September 18, lovers of all things Nippon will be in their element at Spitalfields Market, London.
The Japan Matsuri follows on from the inaugural event last year. Open to all, the 2009 festival attracted over 35,000 visitors, highlighting the public's love affair with the Land of the Rising Sun. Due to 2009's runaway success, the 2010 Matsuri promises to be bigger, better and even more... Japanese. Not to mention free!
There will be a wide variety of Japan-themed stalls in contrast to the traditional wares at Spitalfields. So bring plenty of British pounds sterling (yen won't cut it here) if you'd like to buy yourself an authentic kimono, ceramics, cool T-shirts, lacquerware, wall art or simply pig out on some delicious Japanese cuisine. But the Matsuri isn't all about relieving you of your hard-earned cash.
As well as a wide variety of food and drink: including Katsu curry, noodles, Dorayaki pancakes and lots of sake - it's not all sushi, you know!), you'll find entertainment to suit every taste. Exciting displays will take place throughout the day from Judo and samurai martial art performances to puppetry, singing and traditional dancing. There's even room for a little enlightenment with small theatre acts, origami workshops and a stall dedicated to revealing all about onsen - Japan's equivalent to Roman baths. And for those considering a trip to Nippon, you'll have the opportunity to quiz Japanese travel industry experts for their top tips and secrets.
All in all, the Matsuri offers a taste of Japan for everyone, from those keen to celebrate their own heritage to self-declared aficionados to those who are just curious about the rich Eastern culture. The one disappointment is it only lasts a day, because for those who love all things Japanese, you won't want to say sayonara.