Pop Culture Tourism
Kyoto Animation and Animation Do Fan Event 2017

Kyoto Animation and Animation Do Fan Event 2017

Over two weekends in 2017 October, Kyoto Animation and subsidiary Animation Do held the third of what has become their once-every-two-years fan thanks event in Kyoto, following CTFK (Chūnibyō, Tamako, Free! and Kyōkai) in 2013 and Watashitachi wa, Ima!! (私たちは、いま!! This Is What We Are Now!!) in 2015. I had attended the 2015 event, and...
2017 Butaitanbou Summit in Numazu

2017 Butaitanbou Summit in Numazu

Light rain and falling temperatures greet everyone as we arrive at Yasudaya Ryokan (安田屋旅館) in Uchiura, a seaside village in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture for the 10th Butaitanbou Summit (第10回舞台探訪サミットin沼津), held on 2017 September 16. This is the annual all hands meeting for the Butaitanbou Community ( 舞台探訪者コミュニティ), or BTC, the highly engaged core of manga...
Pilgrimage to Ogaki and Yoro for Koe no Katachi

Pilgrimage to Ogaki and Yoro for Koe no Katachi

I had the opportunity to see the anime film adaptation of Koe no Katachi (聲の形)—released in English-speaking markets as A Silent Voice—just a few days after its original premiere in Japan during 2016 September. It was exciting for me, as it was my first time attending a new anime release in a theater. The following...
Sakura Front Anime Pilgrimage 2017

Sakura Front Anime Pilgrimage 2017

Every year, late March to early May in Japan means following the cherry blossom front (桜前線 sakura zensen) as it moves across the islands. Blue tarps and picnic lunches blanket the best viewing spots as the full bloom arrives in each location. For anime seichijunrei fans and butaitanbou practitioners, this also means a precious and...
Pilgrimage to Hida for Kimi no Na wa.

Pilgrimage to Hida for Kimi no Na wa.

This is the second of two articles about my visits to real locations that provided the basis for settings in Shinkai Makoto film Kimi no Na wa. (君の名は。). This article explores parts of Hida, Gifu Prefecture, while the first covered locations in Tokyo. My day began early, with a 7:02 shinkansen out of Kyoto to...
Pilgrimage to Tokyo for Kimi no Na wa.

Pilgrimage to Tokyo for Kimi no Na wa.

I had the opportunity to see Shinkai Makoto’s latest work Kimi no Na wa. (君の名は。) in 2016 September, a few weeks after its original premiere in Japan, as well as visit many of the real locations that provided the basis for settings in the film. This article covers locations in Tokyo, a relatively compact swath...
2016 Butaitanbou Summit in Chichibu-Hanno

2016 Butaitanbou Summit in Chichibu-Hanno

I’m on the Seibu Limited Express Chichibu 11, known as the New Red Arrow, departing Ikebukuro Station at 10:30 in the morning, with a troop of my favorite people. We’re bound for the end of the line, Seibu-Chichibu Station, our jumping off point for the Ninth Butaitanbou Summit (第9回舞台探訪サミットin秩父飯能), held this year in Chichibu and...
Pilgrimage to Uji for Hibike! Euphonium

Pilgrimage to Uji for Hibike! Euphonium

After living vicariously through friends’ tweets and blog posts during the 2015 Spring broadcast, in 2015 October I was finally able to make my own pilgrimage to Uji, Kyoto Prefecture for Kyoto Animation’s Hibike! Euphonium (響け!ユーフォニアム). I study this kind of pop culture tourism—called seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage) by casual participants, or butaitanbou (舞台探訪...
Podcast on Seichijunrei and Butaitanbou

Podcast on Seichijunrei and Butaitanbou

I was invited by Josh Dunham to have a conversation with him on his podcast Senpai Coast to Coast about pop culture tourism in Japan based on anime and manga. This practice is referred to broadly as seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage), or butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting) when describing the heart of the subculture. While...
Pilgrimage to Kamakura and Fujisawa for Musaigen no Phantom World

Pilgrimage to Kamakura and Fujisawa for Musaigen no Phantom World

In 2016 February, I was in Japan on holiday with my daughter Mei. We spent one day on a trip down to Kamakura and Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture to meet up with friends and explore some of the real locations used as reference models for the setting of currently airing Kyoto Animation series Musaigen no Phantom...
Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 3

Demachi Masugata Shotengai, Session 3

Over the past three years, I’ve researched, photographed and written extensively about the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街) in Kyoto and its fictional alter ego, the Usagiyama Shōtengai from the Kyoto Animation series Tamako Market and film Tamako Love Story. I’ve used the real shopping arcade to explain urbanism and machizukuri (街づくり town making) concepts, and...
Butaitanbou Community Offline Meetings 2015 Fall

Butaitanbou Community Offline Meetings 2015 Fall

I have a problem with friends giving me gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciate the gifts. The trouble is that they’re so thoughtful about choosing something that is 1) very interesting to me, 2) I can’t get anywhere outside of Japan, sometimes even one city, and 3) often comprise painstakingly crafted self-published works...