We knew the Japan Matsuri Festival was going to be well-attended but we had NO idea it would be that packed. The Festival, which was held Saturday, featured Japanese art, crafts, food, and performances in honour of 150 years of Anglo-Japanese relations (although our history nerd database tells us they go back 151 years).
Queues, crowds, and prams swallowed every inch of space not already occupied by stalls or stages. For those of you who weren't there, it was a bit like this. Not exactly the crowd-loving type, we grabbed some freshly made crab and cucumber rolls and made an emergency caffeine run to Nude Espresso. These sort of things should never be braved on an empty stomach.
Once we had staved the oncoming crankiness, the magic of it all hit us like an accidental taste of wasabi. Women walked around in beautiful kimonos, men donned samurai gear, and children demonstrated martial arts. The lucky few who arrived early enough could sign up for free sushi rolling lessons while the patient queuers could try sake, sushi, takoyaki (octopus balls), or a variety of other foods and drinks. Shoppers could buy art, clothing, text books, manga, cat bags, tea cups, and wooden sandals.
We'd definitely go again, but perhaps a bit earlier next time to avoid the crowds and try more of the food. Did you take photos of the Festival? Wanna share them in the Londonist Flickr pool or post a link to them in the comments? We'd love to see more of the costumes, food, and martial arts demonstrations.