From a cartoonish maid’s outfit to a tiny rubber doll known as Fuchiko who plays and dangles from cups to kitschy cosmetics and colourful pandas and kittens, you will always find something unique and cute at Japanese and Korean festivals.

"Look, whatever way you move it, it won’t fall down, which means you’re fortunate and luck will always remain up," said Kimura, who was showing me an adorable "lucky cat" statue. Its round shape and a special balance keep the kitty from falling. As a cat lover, I was sold.

These statues come in all colours, shapes and sizes, and Kimura had a whole set of these kitties, known as maneki-neko. The most common among them waves its right paw, as if beckoning the good fortune. I bought six of these for family and friends and got a hand-sized wooden Samurai doll that the tradesman promised (jokingly) will "protect the house from enemies". These would have to be very small-sized enemies.

The fact the capital’s first anime, manga and Japanese culture festival attracted between 10,000 and 12,000 fans over just three days – it was really packed when I was there – shows how popular they are here. The Korean festival will continue until November 6. Besides cute products, it also includes authentic food, games, martial arts and theatre.



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