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.
(サクラクエスト Sakura Kuesuto)
Jōhana Station (城端駅)
Jōhana Sakura Line (城端さくら線)
I skirted around this point in comments last week, but in this scene the dialog comes right out and addresses it: tension between minpaku operators and local residents is more acute when guests are non-Japanese. English loanword ‘inbound’ refers to foreigners in discourse on tourism in Japan. The show plays down the tension as the product of cultural differences and language barriers, though the reality—in which xenophobia also plays a role at times—is more fraught.
It’s a wonderful plot turn and inflection point for Ririko’s growth that she, an outsider in her own culture, becomes the bridge between the community and the foreign guests investigating local legends.
Cafe used as third place
Additional visitors joining the group already in Manoyama gives the tourism board an opportunity to trial using one of the city’s empty houses as a minpaku.
In a quiet moment together, Lucia shows Ririko photos from her travels to different parts of the world.
There are several municipalities called Sharapovo in Russia. Not sure which this is.
The River Stour passing through Westgate Gardens in Canterbury, England
Mandinka people in Senegal
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia—otherwise known as the infinite horizon mirrored surface you see in every third anime series’ opening credits.
Anyone recognize this one?
I empathize a lot with Ririko, having had many similar thoughts and been through similar experiences growing up. It can be uncomfortable when others around you don’t understand why you have a strong drive to see what the world is like beyond the place where you were born. Meeting new people from other cultural and geographical backgrounds can bridge that support gap and open the door to many possibilities.
(ニューゲーム!! Nyū Gēmu!!)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Asagaya Minami (阿佐谷南), Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Did anyone figure out the eyecatch?