Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Welcome to this week’s review of notable instances of public transit use and urban design, as well as discussion of place identity and culture, through anime currently broadcast or screening in Japan and simulcast internationally via the web. This review also documents seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting), which are pop culture tourism and place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.

Special Note: This issue combines two weeks into one post. We had a good time catching up with friends in Tokyo, did a little shopping at Nakano Broadway, then stopped in Hakodate on the way up to Sapporo for the snow festival. We even managed to catch a ride on the Snow Miku tram on our first try. While in Sapporo, I walked over to Hokkaido University one day for a meeting with Yamamura Takayoshi and Philip Seaton, the two preeminent researchers in contents tourism. We talked extensively about butaitanbou, community engagement and the recent trend of commercializing seichijunrei behavior by both rights holders and local tourism organizations, which potentially increases interest among casual tourists in the short term, but also introduces the risk of deterring the highly-engaged butaitanbou core which spearheads this behavior. I’ll write more on this after I have a chance to digest it a bit.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

(小林さんちのメイドラゴン Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon)

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@626shin made pilgrimages to Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture and Higashi-Nihonbashi, Chūō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Episode 3, Episode 4 and Episode 5.

@ssslocation made pilgrimages (updated gallery, new gallery) to Koshigaya and Higashi-Nihonbashi for Episode 4 and Episode 5.

Episode 4

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Koshigaya (越谷), Saitama Prefecture

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Elementary school children with high visibility yellow hats walk to school on their morning commute.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

After it is decided Kanna will attend the local school, the three set out on a trip chain around town to find and purchase all of the needed materials. The result is a survey of common retail business settings, beginning in the shōtengai.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

The small, likely independently owned stationary shop in the arcade has the necessary supplies, but the shop is cramped and old fashioned, and per Kanna the stock isn’t “cute”.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Tōru is momentarily distracted by the thought of plucking quill feathers from birds at a pet shop outside the arcade.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

A newer, spacious and brightly lit stationary store with contemporary offerings has everyone seeing stars.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

The next stop is the big box shopping center co-located with the train station, modeled on the Koshigaya Twincity (越谷ツインシティ). This arrangement is common in suburban commuter cities and exurban towns in Japan. Twincity appears to be a one-off, not part of a group. Aeon is a prolific developer of this retail model, and has been criticized for depressing local businesses with its volume-price advantage, and environmental runoff issues and increased car use resulting from its large surface parking lots.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

The last stop is the school designated store for purchasing uniforms. Shops like this often sell to a captive audience, thus have little reason to charge competitive prices vis a vis general and discount clothing, creating financial burden for some families.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

The walking path and gazebo are along the south side of the Motoara River (元荒川), at the south edge of the grounds of the Koshigaya Central Community Center (越谷市中央市民会館).

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

On the first day, Tōru guides Kanna on the walk home, through a residential neighborhood in Higashi-Koshigaya 7-chōme (東越谷7丁目).

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

The “文” character on a green label on the utility pole marks a designated school walking route (通学路). Students commuting to school are expected to follow these routes, at first with help, later unassisted. The markings alert people living and driving along these routes to be aware of the presence of children, and also to take note if students deviate from the route, which can result in disciplinary action. This aspect of daily life for Japanese children is a result of both parents conditioning children to learn independence from an early age, and an implied social contract in which everyone in the community can be called on to provide help or guidance if needed.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Before long, Kanna is already walking home with a classmate instead of a supervising adult. This is another portion of the same walking route, also in Higashi-Koshigaya 7-chōme.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Higashi-Koshigaya Peony Park (東越谷ボタン公園) boasts eight types of tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), about 150 trees in total, though no blossoms are depicted on the trees in the artwork. This is in Higashi-Koshigaya 2-chome (東越谷2丁目), but very close to the Higashi-Koshigaya 7-chōme Shīnoki Park, which appears in Episode 2 and again in Episode 5.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Conflict between different groups over use of the park ends up with dragons being called in to overpower the human contenders in a dodgeball challenge, to comedic effect.  In China, where public parks are often used up to or over capacity for group activities, conflict over space can sometimes become heated and require police intervention.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Episode 5

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Higashi-Nihonbashi (東日本橋), Chūō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

This view is looking south from the pedestrian footbridge at the Higashi-Nihonbashi intersection (東日本橋交差点).

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

I still want Tōru’s Usagiyama Shōtengai bag.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Tōru spots Fafnir as she passes from the shōtengai, through the bus and taxi rotary toward the train station. This co-location of shōtengai and transit nodes creates bulwarks for walkable urban commons where activity is concentrated, allowing for the creation of civic space and increasing the probability of chance encounters like this.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

On a subsequent trip, Tōru leads Fafnir on a walk from Higashi-Koshigayta back toward the center of town. They begin walking along the bank on the north side of Motoara River (元荒川).

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Shin-Heiwa Bridge (新平和橋)

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

At the end of the bridge on the south side of the river is the beginning of a long, continuous overhead trellis with flowering vines that wraps around the corner, heads north past Koshigaya City Hall (越谷市役所) and continues for a considerable distance along the river. The two continue heading west into the city core.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Ogihara Dental Office (オギハラ歯科医院)

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Once they pass the Saitama Resona Bank Koshigaya branch (埼玉りそな銀行越谷支店), they’ve almost reached the east side of Koshigaya Station. The densest concentration of commercial activity in Koshigaya is between the river and rail station, though there are smaller, secondary nodes surrounding adjacent stations on the Tōbu Skytree Line.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

We still don’t known if the real estate office exists or not.

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Higashi-Koshigaya 7-chōme Shīnoki Park (東越谷七丁目しいの木公園)

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid 小林さんちのメイドラゴン

Takigyō (滝行) is a special meditation practice that involves prolonged standing under a waterfall in an effort to clear the mind of thought.

March comes in like a lion

(3月のライオン Sangatsu no Raion)

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to Sendagaya, Shibuya Ward; Tabata, Kita Ward; and Shinkawa and Tsukuda; Chūō Ward for Episode 16.

Episode 16

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Japan Shōgi Association (日本将棋連盟) in Sendagaya (千駄ヶ谷), Shibuya Ward

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

@Roan_Inish reports that, though Rei reads out an address in Sendagi, he found no slope resembling this in that neighborhood, and suspects Shimada’s house is either fictional or pulled from some other location. But he did discover that Fudō-zaka (不動坂), just to the north in Tabata, has a set of stairs and old home that have some of the flavor of the scene depicted in the work.

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa (新川), Chūō Ward

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge (中央大橋)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shogen River City shop (書原 リバシティ店) is an actual bookstore in Tsukuda (佃). Inish confirmed that they do indeed carry books on bird watching.

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge

Episode 17

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Tsukuda Bridge (佃大橋)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Tsukuda (佃)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa (新川)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge (中央大橋)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Tabata, Kita Ward inspired

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen

(昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-)

Episode 5

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Cafe used as third place

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Kabuki-za (歌舞伎座) in Ginza, Chūō Ward

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Episode 6

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Kabuzki-za

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

The manager talks with Yotaro about pressure to rebuild the theater, which is worn down and does not meet earthquake resistance codes. But he laments that, while it can be rebuilt with modern materials, the intangible qualities, created by accretion over decades of use and patrons’ emotional attachment to the space, would be lost. Similar can be said about attitudes toward architecture and urban development in general in Japan. Other than historic, protected sites like shrines and temples, there is a penchant for constant renewal which often results in demolition and rebuilding of building stock and entire commons in the name of modernization, but also destroys unique and irreplaceable spaces.

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (東京地下鉄銀座線)

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Ueno Station (上野駅)

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

 

Special Items

Media and General Interest

Tōyō Keizai Online published an article that looks at the local response in Hida, Gifu Prefecture to tourism induced by Kimi no Na wa., then goes on to examine how this has triggered a larger rethinking of tourism marketing strategy across the prefecture and led to a surge in cooperative arrangements with long-distance express bus operators.

Gifu Shimbun published an article about an exhibition at the Gifu Prefectural Library in Usa, Gifu City, featuring artwork from animated films featuring locations in the prefecture, including Kimi no Na wa., Koe no Katachi and Rudorufu to Ippaiattena.

Sponichi Annex published an article about ongoing efforts to leverage Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru to drive tourism and local activation in Kan’onji, Kagawa, including an exhibition of character panels, marketing posters and a special event featuring voice actors from the series. @lidges published a report with extensive photography of the marketing materials and event.

Kyoto Shimbun published an article about a symposium on seichijunrei for Hibike! Euphonium held at Kyoto Bunkyō University in Uji. One of the three presenting faculty members, Katayama Akihisa (片山明久 Academic profile, Twitter: @bsaku0214) is a friend of the butaitanbou community and frequent organizer of offline meetings in Uji. @ye_bi_su attended the symposium, relaying the high-level idea at the center of Katayama-sensei’s talk—seichijunrei as one of many varieties of people using hobby interests as a trigger to rediscover engaging with others in a public sphere:

Future Season Pilgrimage

@anime_pq (post) and @ssslocation (updated gallery) made a pilgrimage to Akihabara, Shunjuku and Harajuku (all Tokyo inner wards) for the PV to Gekijō-ban Sword Art Online -Ordinal Scale-.

Other Current Season Pilgrimage

@teo_imperial made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Takinogawa, Kita Ward; and (post 2) a cluster of locations between Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku Ward; and Mejirodai and Sekiguchi, Bunkyō Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for BanG Dream! Episode 1 and Episode 2.

@touyoko_com made pilgrimages (updated post) to Tama and Shibuya, Tokyo Metropolis for Kuzu no Honkai Episode 4 and Episode 5.

@fureshima made a pilgrimage to Musashino and Mitaka, Tokyo Metropolis for Masamune-kun no Revenge Episode 4.

@Surwill compiled a Street View tour of locations in Kochi City, Kochi Preecture; Mitaka, Tokyo Metropolis; and Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Masamune-kun no Revenge.

@SSEBTBM883 (updated post) and @aga3104_keyaki (post) made a pilgrimages to Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture for Gabriel DropOut Episode 4.

@keihi49 made a pilgrimage to Hamamatsu for Gabriel DropOut Episode 2 and Episode 4.

@Surwill compiled a Street View tour of locations in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for Minami Kamakura Kōkō Joshi Jitensha-Bu.

@Barnirun made a pilgrimage (updates: post 1, post 2) to Osaka for Hand Shakers Episode 4.

@anime_pq made a pilgrimage to the Nippon Budōkan in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Fūka.

@touyoko_com made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station in Koto Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for One Room Episode 5.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@ewi (post 1, post 2), @tenohira17 (post) and @Nagatoyukito5 (post) made pilgrimages to Uji, Kyoto Prefecture for Hibike! Euphonium 2.

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Asahigaoka, Nishi 28-chōme Station and Miyanomori (all Chūō Ward, Sapporo) for WWW.Working!!

@ktism1228s made a pilgrimage to Fujisawa and Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for Tari Tari.

@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to Sapporo Station for Honey and Clover II.

@anime_pq made a pilgrimage to Tama, Tokyo Metropolis for Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart).