Japanese food and pop music hits with Londoners

Japanese pop music singer, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, is popularizing the Japanese kawaii (cute) culture among London teenagers through her music and fashion. And Japanese home-style and kawaii cuisines such as Matcha, Izakaya, Ramen and Temaki, are also being brought to the cafes and restaurants of London, along with the Japanese culture of socializing by sharing food.

ROUNDHOUSE-CAMDEN, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (OCTOBER 11, 2015) (ASOBISYSTEM) – Japanese pop idol Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is enthralling British teenagers with her kawaii (cute) music and fashion. To her fans Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a symbol of Japan’s kawaii culture.

“I don’t know. She does crazy but in such a cute way. You don’t get a lot of cute artists. You see them try to be sexy all the time, but she’s so cute, and just perfect basically,” Claire Francis, a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu fan.

“She doesn’t really care that she’s a bit weird compared to Western standards, and we like that,” said Caitlin Smith.

Another fan Alex Davies agreed.

“She so diverse. And her fashion, I love her fashion mostly. She’s just so dramatic and cute at the same time,” Davies said.

Her fans said they love Kyary Pamyu Pamyu for not being afraid of being different from others, which is something of an anomaly in Japan where uniformity and conformity are more appreciated.

“I’m sorry, I’m shaking. It was so good. She was so cute and really nice. I’m so happy. [Can I see the picture?] Yeah,” Kelsey Ellison said.

Another fan Abi Pop agreed.

“She’s different. Her fashion and her way of style and makeup is just different, and it’s really nice. It’s refreshing, so I think that’s why. But she’s really cute,” Abi Pop said.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s fan become exposed to the Japanese culture through their icon who is connecting Japan’s traditional and modern cultures by singing about them on her kawaii melody and lyrics.

In fact her fans see Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as an intriguing Japanese pop culture teacher. During her concert, the icon of kawaii culture taught her fans how to do her zombie dance movements.

“Actually, some of my songs like ‘Ninjari Banban’ and ‘Furisodation’ infuse Japanese culture and tradition. So through my music, I want Londoners to know more about Japanese tradition,” said Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

Meanwhile, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu said she was happy to see Londoners embracing many forms of Japanese culture. The Japanese pop idol said that she saw a broader choice of Japanese food is tickling Londoner’s pallet.

“I saw many ramen shops and other Japanese restaurants in London. Japanese food is so delicious. I am very happy that Londoners are very interested in Japanese food,” said Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

As Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was surprised at an increasing number of Japanese restaurants in London, home-cooked style Japanese food has been whetting appetite of Londoners.

In fact the number of the Japanese restaurants around the world has been rapidly increasing. According to a recent study by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, there are 1.6 times more Japanese restaurants this year from a year ago. Europe has also seen a rush of Japanese restaurants, which number increased by two-fold.

London is one of the cities that are welcoming Japanese restaurants that offer more than sushi or Japanese haute cuisine. Londoners are enjoying numerous ramen shops that have been popping up in the street of London. Customers say that the Japanese soup noodle is healthy.

“It’s quite healthy, quite good in winter,” said Sophie McManus.

Some Londoners said that the dish also matches with their busy life style.

“Certainly in London, everyone is in a great big hurry, and it’s very quick and easy to eat. You have everything in a bowl-vegetables, fish or meat, soup. It fills you up and it’s comforting, and we like it in this country very much,” said Simon Barnes.

Londoners also welcomed Yoobi, the city’s first temakeria or hand wrapped sushi restaurant in 2012. Just like taqueria, customers can pick ingredients such as salmon, cucumber, and avocado to create their original temaki sushi. Customers enjoy temaki, wrapped in a crisp nori or dried seaweed cone, as an easy finger food option. Yoobi is scheduled to open a second eatery as the business is booming.

“Food’s great, affordable, yeah, very tasty. Very good,” said David Caine who comes to Yoobi once a week.

This Izakaya or Japanese tapas restaurant is changing the way British people eat. At Kirazu dishes are served in a small plate in a tapas style.

“I realized it’s more interesting to cook food in large quantity and serve in small plates instead of a course menu. “(Talking to his assistant) “This is not enough. We are short 20 grams.” “I thought serving small plates would be interesting especially in London,”said Yuya Kikuchi, chef and managing director

Customers said they were embracing the Japanese way of sharing lots of dishes with friends and family.

“Rather than just focusing on one or two dishes, we got to try out ten different dishes so I think that’s the reason why we enjoyed it a lot,”said Richard Senger.

“It’s more social. If you just sort of have your own dish, a big one, you’re just eating it yourself. It’s not really as social. I think that’s also why it’s becoming more and more popular,” said Malik Ahmed.

Meanwhile, matcha (powdered green tea) is a new culinary addition in the capital of tea drinking nation. Tombo is London’s first authentic Japanese café and matcha bar, which opened five years ago. At Tombo the traditional afternoon tea is served with savory sushi and match deserts.

“As a superfood, it contains catechin and theanine. Matcha, especially, contains large amounts of them. People consume matcha as a superfood,” said Manami Endo Sloley, the owner of Tombo.

Matcha used to take a back seat as it was too bitter for some but its popularity has risen as matcha is now seen as a super food. In fact, Sloley said more than 4,000 matcha items such as matcha latte and matcha sundae sell at her café in one month. And the sales increased by 230 percent since last year when she renovated the café with more Japanese atmosphere.

Ella Dobson, a regular customer at Tombo, said she has seen Londoners buzzing a lot about Matcha.

“I’ve seen a lot on social media because I follow a lot of sort of vegetarian vegan blogs and they’ve all been asking for the best matcha brands. So yeah, I think it’s become popular in the last sort of couple of months,” said Dobson.

Kamil Mohamed, another customer, said he was drawn to both the taste and concept of Japanese food.

“It’s so clean, simple, healthy and it’s got a really nourishing elements so each time I eat here I end up feeling really good and come away feeling quite warm, healthy and uplifted,” said Mohamed.

Japanese food is no longer an exotic option for Londoners. But the broader culinary options available in London are giving the glimpse of the modern Japanese culture that is often mixed with kawaii (cute) concept.