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.
Media and General Interest
Masugata Tamako Market seichijunrei
Asahi Shimbun ran a story on 2/21 about fans making Tamako Market pilgrimages to the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街), the model for the show’s Usagiyama Shōtengai.
(たまこまーけっと Tamako Māketto)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Kyoto local @kaga_ywyk, the 2am “real-time” pilgrim from last week, has been taking the lead on greeting pilgrims arriving in the city and organizing meetings. Their location of choice has been the Hananami cafe/bar (喫茶 華波 ・ BAR 華波様楽), the model for the show’s Stars and Clowns cafe/record shop. The manager of Hanami has been increasingly active in the Twitter chatter about the show (@Hananamiyouraku) and seems to be quite a character.
Last weekend’s pilgrimages generated two blog posts with screen captures and photographs of scenes up through episode 6, one from @etesuke (post) and another from @kbt_tigers1985 (post)—yes, he’s a Hanshin Tigers fan.
In addition, videographer @ts_kobaya was granted official permission to film and given a formal tour of Seibo Jogakuin (聖母女学院), the multi-level academy that is the model for the school in Tamako Market.
Update 2021/04/16: Kobaya switched the video to private, for reasons that are unknown at this time, but for archival purposes the link is here.
Usagiyama Shōtengai has a new visitor from an unnamed tropical island country, Choi.
As Choi explores the neighborhood, she brings us to the grassy embankment (土手 dote) on the west bank of the Kamo River (鴨川) just north of the point where the Takano River (高野川) meets and feeds into it near Demachiyanagi Station (出町柳駅). This isn’t far from the Masugata Shōtengai.
All of the shōtengai shopkeepers come out to meet the visitor.
Choi is introduced to Usa-yu, the public bath (銭湯 sentō).
All along I had thought that building on the left was “moved” a few meters up the street and remolded as Ōji-ya/Ricecake Oh!Zee, but in this camera angle we can see that it’s still very much its own thing.
After business hours at Miyako Udon, the bath house owner reflects on the pending marriage of his daughter.
Nice detail shots after closing time in the shōtengai.
(ヤマノススメ Yama no Susume)
Takaosanguchi Station (高尾山口駅)
The Takaotozan Railway (高尾登山電鉄) operates both a ropeway and funicular rail line that will take you halfway up the mountain, though Aoi decides they will climb the whole way on their own. Go ahead, try to say ‘funicular’ three times fast.
Ending Credits, Episodes 3-6
I’ve been watching but not including this show since it began airing. While interesting, much of the story takes place inside Sasami’s paranoid delusions, so the pacing and deformation of environment are challenging to analyze. Lately things have gotten too good to pass up, so I’ll try my best to distill the useful bits here.
In the credits, Sasami, later joined by her entourage, walk past a deconstructed “neighborhood” as storefronts and various pieces of infrastructure pop up. In a way, it’s a little like reducing Steve Mouzon’s “walk appeal” concept to its essence. We’re willing to make walking one of our personal mobility choices when there are interesting twists and things to observe along the way.
At one point she stops to wait at a grade level rail crossing (踏切 fumikiri).
If you’re in Tokyo, you can actually go see this particular fumikiri, but only for a very limited time. As of 3/16/2013 the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line (東急東横線) segment between Daikanyama Station and Shibuya Station will move to the new underground track, and all of the crossing gates removed. This one is close to Daikanyama Station in the direction of Shibuya.
This neighborhood is in Igusa, Suginami Ward, Tokyo.
If you look at all of the locations used in the show so far, you notice that compared with most shows that generally stick to a neighborhood or general area of a city, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai is a bit more all over the map.
South gate of Ochanomizu University (お茶の水女子大学). We’ve seen the main gate in an earlier episode.
The Heroine waits for Kent at Sugamo Station (巣鴨駅). Funny that they’ve substituted different kanji in the station name, but the rōmaji on the signage still says ‘Sugamo’.
They walk through the local neighborhood to attend a temple festival (祭 matsuri). There are several temples near Sugamo Station, but I couldn’t positively identify this one. In Amnesia, depictions of transit and the settings around Ikebukuro are quite true to life, while elsewhere the art is more loosely based on neighborhoods and points of interest in Toshima Ward.
(絶園のテンペスト Zetsuen no Tenpesuto)
Arterial road with pedestrian overcrossing
It’s not marked, but that’s definitely the Japanese Bush Warbler green of the JR Yamanote Line.
Manabe is working part time jobs advertising for small businesses near the train station and in the shōtengai.
Haruka and Yuriko discuss relationships in a cafe in the shōtengai.
(俺の彼女と幼なじみが修羅場すぎる Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru)
I guess I just wasn’t looking in the right places! It turns out Oreshura’s Hanenoyama is actually based on a real location. Hanenoyama Station is really Fuchū Station (府中駅) on the Keiō Line (京王線). Fuchū is a city level municipality, but within Tokyo Prefecture. This is a great blog post from a recent pilgrimage. In this scene, Eita and Masazu engage in more negotiation at an outdoor cafe near the train station.
Hanenoyama/Fuchū has great sidewalks.
After cram school, Eita joins other classmates for a meal at a famiresu.
More great tree lined, protected sidewalks in the commercial district.
(サイコパス Saiko Pasu)
Kōgami goes into hiding at Masaoka’s safe house, where we get a close look at the consequence of sea level rise in low lying urban environments.
The Earth Star Entertainment team is ready to do battle at Comiket. The world’s largest dōjinshi fair is currently held at Tokyo Big Sight, a convention center in Ariake (有明), Kōtō Ward, Tokyo. The venue is adjacent to Ariake Station (有明駅) on the Yurikamome Line (ゆりかもめ). By the way, this is totally what I look like when I get pumped up to hammer out this post every Friday ᕙ(ò_ó)