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 sacred site pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting)—on this website referred to collectively as anime pilgrimage—which are forms of place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.
(たまこまーけっと Tamako Māketto)
Shiori gazes down the canal from the pedestrian overcrossing.
Midori, Tamako and Kanna walk along the canal, under the cherry blossoms.
After crossing the bridge, students use this alley to get to the street where the academy is located.
Shiori stands in the small shopping district near the academy. You can see not just the obvious things like the elevated highway and store awnings, but even the Yamato Transport (black cat on yellow oval) advertisement is included.
One thing that Kyoto locals picked out early on, and that became very obvious as of episode 3, was that the show gives the impression that the academy and Usagiyama Shōtengai are within walking distance of each other. This is why we haven’t seen any commutes on the Keihan Main Line (京阪本線), which would be the fastest way to get between the two in real life.
Shopkeepers at the shōtengai mistake Shiori for Tamako, but are happy to hear that she is one of Tamako’s acquaintances.
In Usagiyama, knowing Tamako is the key to getting free stuff.
There was an interesting article on Informal City Dialogues this week comparing the unplanned development that occurred in Tokyo after WWII with that currently going on in several developing countries. It calls out the tool-house phenomenon, where zoning rules (or lack thereof) allow craftspeople to setup a shop in the lower level of a building, while living in the back or upper compartment. This is found all over Europe and was a key part of why Tokyo’s ground up re-development was the economic driver that it was/is. Tama-ya, with the mochi shop at street level and living quarters above, is exactly that.
Shiori’s learns her home bath is broken, so she joins Tamako and Anko at Usa-yu, the public bath (銭湯 sentō).
We’ve walked past it often, but this is the first time the show depicts Fujinomori Station (藤森駅).
Tamako’s teacher asks Shiori for help finding Tamako’s home for his scheduled visit with her family.
Everyone in the shōtengai introduces him or herself and asks about Tamako’s progress at school or thanks the teacher for his hard work.
One gets the impression that everyone in the shōtengai considers Tamako his or her child. Maybe this is something along the lines of the fullest expression of a strong community.
Tamako and Shiori kindle their nascent friendship at the cafe/record shop.
Usagiyama Shōtengai goes to sleep.
I finally figured out where in Tokyo Amnesia is set. In hindsight, considering that the show is based on an Otome game, I should have thought to look around Ikebukuro, where a small but focused group of businesses catering to the female otaku market are located in an area informally referred to as Otome Road. I didn’t realize it until the end of the episode, when the show threw me a bone in the form of a tram car.
The Heroine’s apartment is on the east side of the Toden Arakawa Line tracks, near Toden-Zōshigaya Station (都電雑司ヶ谷駅). The building in the show is not actually here, so either the Street View images are dated or the building is fictional. It does look similar to the non-descript manshon residences in the neighborhood.
The combined college and high school that the Heroine and Shin attend is loosely modeled after Ochanomizu University.
The mimicked Jonathan’s and Caffe Veloce are directly across the street from Sunshine City. This almost looks like an actual photo that was posterized in Photoshop.
I realized there was a good chance that Meido no Hitsuji, the maid and butler cafe where the heroine works part-time (or a place on which it was based), was on Otome Road. I took a look with Street View and there it was. Ta-da!
The Toden Arakawa Line is the last extant streetcar line of a network that once boasted 41 lines and 241 km of track needled throughout Tokyo. Over time the lines were gradually phased out in favor of bus and subway routes, leaving Arakawa as something of a novelty. Last fall I rode the line from end to end, about 50 minutes from Minowabashi to Waseda.
(さくら荘のペットな彼女 Sakura-sō no Petto na Kanojo)
Sakura Dormitory is closed for the new year holiday. Everyone volunteers Sorata to host them at his home. His family lives in Fukuoka, so time for a trip on the Shinkansen. This is a 700 series train.
This is the Sanyō Shinkansen (山陽新幹線) arriving at Hakata Station (博多駅). They would have first had to take the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (東海道新幹線) from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka and change to the second line. However, some of the Tōkaidō Nozomi and Hikari services continue through as the Sanyō and go all the way to Hakata Station.
This is also a 700 series train. One way to distinguish it from the N700 is the location of headlights just under the windshield.
(ラブライブ! Rabu Raibu!)
Training continues at Kanda Shrine (神田明神).
A quick visit to Akihabara. One thing that’s interesting is that, while many of the store names have been slightly altered, which happens frequently in anime, the Gamers store signage appears unchanged. Sponsorship, perhaps?
Gashapon machines outside Gamers
I think I’ve given up trying to locate “Otonokizaka” High School. It’s either right under my nose and I keep missing something, or it’s not actually based on a real place in that area. Will let you know if I hear anything new.
(〜ダ・カーポ III〜 Da Kāpo III)
I didn’t have high expectations for this show, foreseeing a mostly fluff story interspersed with bits of fanservice. While it is that, I continue to be impressed by how much detail was put into creating the local community.
This is the kind of thing that makes you want to jump in and walk around a bit.
Karaoke after school
Everyone walks home.
Kotoura stops in a covered shōtengai to pickup groceries.
(サイコパス Saiko Pasu)
Scramble crossing. Surprisingly, not Shibuya!
This might actually be Shibuya or Shinjuku, but hard to tell.
The grit clings to life in the spaces between the gears of an otherwise gleaming machine.
(俺の彼女と幼なじみが修羅場すぎる Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru)
More of Eita, Masazu and Chiwa walking home from school.