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.
Media and General Interest
Yomiuri Shimbun (article) and Sankei Shimbun (article) published stories about the closing of the current location of Cafe Dream in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture on May 10, as it prepares to move to a smaller, nearby location. Fans of the Suzumiya Haruhi series regret the loss of a key part of the setting and meeting place for anime pilgrims, but look forward to the re-opening at the new location in early June.
Many fans stopped by Cafe Dream in its final days for one last meal or melon cream soda. Bonus points if you got to sit at the “SOS-dan table”.
— セキ@C97 12/28土 南3リ13b (@seki_saima) May 7, 2017
— テスラ (@tesra1141) May 10, 2017
— ニコラス (@nicolas_708) May 10, 2017
— きーぼー (@keyboar) May 10, 2017
Huffington Post Japan published Part 2 of a long interview with art director Higashiji Kazuki, conducted at the site of Earth Colors, a special exhibition in 2017 March of background art he created for various series produced by P.A.Works. In this continuation, Higashiji talks about his use of light and shadow, how he differentiates between true realism and the realistic backgrounds created by people like him and Shinkai Makoto, which he feels align more closely with impressionism, his mentor Takeda Yūsuke and other early supporters, accepting Horikawa Kenji’s offer to work with P.A. Works on Angel Beats! and how this became a turning point in his career. Part 1 is here.
Asahi Shimbun published an article about inbound tourism from other Asian countries for the purpose of pre-wedding photo album shoots, mentioning that some couples have sought out Tokyo locations that appeared in Kimi no Na wa.
(サクラクエスト Sakura Kuesuto)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Yoshino isn’t convinced that it’s not possible to promote Manoyama through its traditional woodcarving craft. She and the team set out on self-study to learn more about it.
Yoshino begins her study with a tour of ranma (欄間) installed in local residences.
Ririko and Shiori comb through reference material, using the cafe Angelica as third place.
Sanae wanders the shōtengai trying to get out of her funk.
Jōhana Station (城端駅)
Jōhana Sakura Line (城端さくら線)
Sanae and Tatsuo encounter each other at the train station. They end up talking though what they expected to find versus the reality of life in a small town. In their conversation, they hit on the ideas that a train station is often the first place a person passes through when traveling to a place, and that rail is a physical symbol of the connections between smaller cities and towns and more populated areas. These come into play later in the episode.
Jōhana Line (城端線)
Yoshino makes inquiries at shops run by other craftsmen in the woodcarving district, inspired by the real one in Inami (井波), Nanto.
Not just craftsmen, but upstream raw materials suppliers are also part of the industry.
Michi no Eki are highway roadside rest areas that promote local tourism and goods.
Equipped with more knowledge about the woodcarving industry, the team has a much more productive meeting. In particular, they understand that it shifted its focus over time to match market demands. It began with Buddhist sculptures, then changed to shop signs, and later ranma. Their challenges are to figure out where new sources of demand will come from and how to attract new talent to the industry. Yoshino’s initial idea for a grand monument is impractical and unfeasible, but the team continues to look for alternatives.
Cafe used as third place. We learn that the ranma Kazushi is finishing no longer has a buyer.
Yoshino learns Sandal is actually a local artist, and persuades him to create a work representing the town that she can use in advertising materials. She and the others then set out making visits around the town looking for sponsors for their new, more realistic marketing plan.
Jōhana Sakura Line
Sanae rejoins the team and introduces the idea of crowdfunding—raising financial support online—to supplement their efforts to find sponsors. She also recommends leveraging the train station’s role as a portal and landmark for the town, focusing their efforts there.
Sanae notes that Sandal made sure to include the station building in his drawing of the city.
The team convinces Kazushi to let them display his unclaimed ranma in the station building, the beginning of their plan to display works by local artisans there.
(有頂天家族2 Uchōten Kazoku 2)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Tanukidanisan Fudō-in wants anime pilgrims to know that not only are visits to the temple welcome, they’ll even help you locate the stone where the tanuki grandmother rests in Episode 3:
— 狸谷山不動院 (@tanukidanisan) May 6, 2017
— アニメ「有頂天家族２」公式アカウント (@Uchoten2_Anime) May 9, 2017
Meanwhile, Yasaburō keeps watch over daily goings on at Shimogamo Jinja:
— 下鴨神社 (@kamomioyajinja) May 6, 2017
— 下鴨神社 (@kamomioyajinja) May 7, 2017
Kyoto’s humans and tanuki prepare for another Gozan no Okuribi (五山送り火).
Shimogamo Jinja (下鴨神社)
West end of Demachi-bashi (出町橋)
Rokudō Chin’nō-ji (六道珍皇寺)
Demachiyanagi Station (出町柳駅)
Nyoigatake (如意ヶ岳) / Daimonjiyama (大文字山)
Kamo River delta (鴨川デルタ) is a popular spot for viewing the bonfires during the evening of Gozan no Okuribi.
Yajirō reprises his transformation as the false Eizan Electric Railway (叡山電鉄) in lieu of a proper sailing ship for the festival. To my eyes, it looks like he becomes a Kyōto Dentō Dena 21 series (京都電燈デナ21形電車) train, built by Kyōto Dentō (京都電燈) beginning in 1928 for use on Eizan lines. 1995 was the last year any of this model were still in service. Kyōto Dentō was Kyoto’s first electric company, but it diversified into other areas, including electric rail operations and manufacturing.
Eizan Electric Railway keeps a portion of the shell from a Dena 21 just outside Kurama Station. The operator has added a few props to it so that you’ll recognize Yajirō when you see him:
— 叡山電車【公式】 (@eizandensha) May 9, 2017
The ‘dai’ (大) on Daimonjiyama is the first of the bonfires to be lit during Gozan no Okuribi.
Kamo River delta
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Myōjō-dōri (明星通り), in front of Myōjō Gakuen Elementary School (明星学園小学校) in Inokashira 5-chome, Mitaka
Kawagoe Kumano Jinja (川越熊野神社)
Takushi Park, a little further north, almost at the next bridge
Crea Mall (クレアモール) is comprised of two shōtengai connected end-to-end that share branding assets. Kawagoe Sunroad Shōtengai (川越サンロード商店街) is a shorter shopping street that begins near Kawagoe Station. Kawagoe Shintomichō Shōtengai (川越新富町商店街) continues in the same line, directly north, and is much longer. The night scene comes from the middle of the second segment, near Hon-Kawagoe Station. Most of Crea Mall is pedestrian only, then it becomes a narrow, low speed shopping street toward the end.
The cram school is just a few steps further north, where the Shintomichō Shōtengai intersects with Tōshōgū Nakanoin-dōri (東照宮中院通り).
Crea Mall continues north, eventually connecting with a much shorter shopping street, the Renjakuchō Han’eikai (連雀町繁栄会), before reaching pedestrian Taishō Roman Yume-dōri. This in turn ends a half block away from the beginning of Kurazukuri no Machinami (蔵造りの町並み), the historic warehouse district, which features wide sidewalks to accommodate high pedestrian volume. All of these combine to form a 1.9km essentially continuous path of mostly pedestrian space leading into the city from the train station, passing through its modern downtown and ending at the center of its most popular tourism area.
Taishō Roman Yume-dōri (大正浪漫夢通り)
Bookstore used as third place
(冴えない彼女の育てかた♭[フラット] Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata Furatto)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
Past Season Pilgrimage
@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage to the British Museum, Camden Town Station, Aldgate East Station, Temple Station, Borough Market, London Eye, Jubilee Gardens and other locations (all London, England) for Eiga K-On!