Going Hyper in Japan (in London, though)

Little wonder it's called Hyper Japan. After barely 5 minutes weaving through kawaii teens with electric blue wigs and stick-on pointy ears and past grown men in kigurumi onesies I felt like a hyperactive child on a sugar high.

This weekend Hyper Japan's Christmas Market is on at east London's Tobacco Dock, a listed former warehouse in the docklands that used to, as the name suggests, store tobacco.

But the dockers are long gone and for these three days it's a riot of colour. The biggest event of its kind in Europe, Hyper Japan sees J-Culture enthusiasts descend onto London to indulge in a Japanese over-load. And it's marvellous.

A taste of what was to come starts when I spot a couple at Wapping Overground station sporting full on kawaii – bubblegum pink dress, white platforms, silvery-white wig.

And inside, it continues, everything on a scale of traditional to manga to neon 21st century British-Japanese.

Kawaii. Spot the elfin ears, second from the right. Amazing.

Kawaii. Spot the elfin ears, second from the right. Amazing.

Within the cavernous building was pottery and Pokemon toys and artists drawing anime portraits with waiting lists stretching into the evening.

There was pricey high-quality matcha, green tea Kit Kats (£8 a pop, I passed, begrudgingly) and green tea soft-serve.

Kimonos, elfin fake ears, samuri swords and sushi. Sonic the Hedgeog games machines straight out of the 90s, dance games and a play-along rock band game where gamers drum along to not The Beatles but Bizet (the Toreador Song in fact).

It's a glorious site to behold, but obviously, I was there for the food.

First up was the Premium Sake Shop, offering samples of the traditional, the luxurious and new takes on the age-old spirit.

Takara Shuzo sake selection with my favourite, the sparkling Mio, on the left

Takara Shuzo sake selection with my favourite, the sparkling Mio, on the left

My favourite was the sparkling sake Mio, from Takara Shuzo. At only 5% it's already light and the bubbles give it a gentle effervescence, slightly sweet and really drinkable. Props to the team on the stand too; their passion and descriptions were incredible.

The Sake Cocktail Awards were in full swing, and I watched engrossed as Sticks 'N' Sushi's Enrique Gomez shook up his Hatsuyuki – Gekkeikan Nigori (an unfiltered hence cloudy and sweeter sake) shaken with elderflower cordial, yuzu juice and finished with a dash of honey syrup. I didn't try any sadly – I was already feeling the buzz from my sake tasters.

Sticks 'N' Sushi's Enrique Gomez shakes up a Hatsuyuki 

Sticks 'N' Sushi's Enrique Gomez shakes up a Hatsuyuki 

As an awful map reader, I didn't realise at first there was an entire food court. And ultimately, this was a good thing because I wouldn't have come across the wagyu. I'll explain.

The first bit of food came from the team at Eat Tokyo. The tuna nigiri, deep dark pink in colour, was beautifully fresh and melted away.

And just a short walk away, a smiling man tempted me with one word: “Wagyu”. Barely saying anything, I nodded and followed obediently behind as he brought me in front of a grill and explained the choices. I went for the wagyu ju.

The chef unwrapped a piece of wagyu so marbled it almost didn't look real. Slicing off a strip, he put it on the grill that barely sizzled it was down so low, and took a blowtorch to its top. A minute's cooking was enough so as not to overcook this most prized meat. Served on top of rice, with a gentle, zesty yuzu ponzu and edamame, he handed it over. It cost a tenner, but my god was it worth it. The beef was incredible soft, buttery yet still beefy. Incredible. And if I’d headed straight for the food court, I'd have missed out.

But when I finally found the food court, I went for it. There were stalls serving yakisoba, gyoza, korokke and tori don.

Piping hot takoyaki (£5 for 6) – batter balls filled with octopus, tempura scraps, green onion & pickled ginger and slathered in Kewpie and takoyaki sauce - were so tasty as the burn marks in my mouth testify – I couldn't wait 'til they cooled down.

As kara-age is my supper club's signature dish, I had to sample a skewer (£3) and they were lovely. And that last bit of unnecessary, yet unregrettable food, marked my time to roll home.

What a day. And what a beautiful environment where everyone was free to express themselves how they wanted to – and took that to a delightful extreme.

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Hyper Japan Christmas Market continues Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November at the Tobacco Dock, London (nearest tube: Wapping).

Tickets: £13-16 per day/session

£21 dual ticket for two sessions on 28th November

£39 three day pass

Tickets: www.hyperjapan.co.uk/tickets

www.hyperjapan.co.uk