The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

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

Usagiyama Mochitsuki Taikai 2021 Fall
With limited attendance due to Covid-19 concerns, the Usagiyama Mochitsuki Taikai (うさぎ山餅つき大会) was held October 10 at Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街) in Kyoto. This is a Tamako Market fan organized Mochizō character birthday celebration and mochi pounding event usually held in the fall. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5

Yuwaku Hanairo online event
In lieu of this year’s Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri (湯涌ぼんぼり祭り), which was cancelled for the third consecutive year—the first two were due to typhoons, the latest is Covid-19—a live stream event will be broadcast October 23 at 18:30 JST. The first half will be a performance by nano.RIPE, the second part is a talk show with producer Nagatani Tanayuki and voice actor Itō Kanae (Matsumae Ohana).

Minobu Yuru Camp event
Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会) will host an overnight camping meetup for Yuru Camp fans at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on November 6 and 7. Interested participants can register here until October 31.

Niigata Long Riders! exhibition
Niigata City Manga House (新潟市マンガの家) will host an exhibition of scenes from Long Riders! that are set in Niigata Prefecture, including location hunting photography associated with the cuts, from September 30 to November 9. Media coverage: PR Times (press release)

K-On! character birthday
A K-On! fan organized character birthday party for Hirasawa Yui and Nakano Azusa is planned for November 28 at former Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校旧校舎群) in Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture. More details will be announced later.

Atami Crayon Ōkoku promotion
Children’s novel, manga and anime series Crayon Ōkoku includes settings based on locations in Atami, Izu, Hakone and Fuji. The vice president of a hotel in Atami and two surviving children of the series’ late creator Fukunaga Reizō are working together to create the Spreading the Crayon Ōkoku World Association (クレヨン王国ワールドを広める会), with the intent to leverage the series to promote tourism to Atami. An exhibition, goods and stamp rally are planned for 2022. Media coverage: Atami Keizai Shimbun

Takayama Jujutsu Kaisen bus
There was additional reporting on the Ryōmen Sukuna set ticket (両面宿儺セットきっぷ) being offered by Nōhi Bus (濃飛バス) in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture from June 21 to November 30, covered previously. The article continues with a brief history of popular seichijunrei works and anime tourism promotion efforts in Gifu Prefecture since 2012. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun

Saza Coffee Garupan collaboration
Saza Coffee and Girls & Panzer launched a new set of collaboration products that include single serving drip coffee packets, castella cake and mugs. The Saza Coffee Ōarai shop (サザコーヒー 大洗店) was a popular meeting place among fans visiting for seichijunrei from the early days of the series, known particularly for indulging requests for latte art depicting characters and iconography from the series. It became part of the seichi itself when the shop appeared in the second episode of OVA Girls & Panzer Saishūshō. Media coverage: Famitsu

Comment: In an interview many years ago, producer Sugiyama P was adamant that machi okoshi (town revitalization) was not an objective in planning the series. In many cases, local businesses did not realize they had been included in the setting until after the show aired, as seems to have been the case with Saza Coffee, also. All of these engagement efforts, from small gestures like the latte art, to large organized events such as the Garupan additions to Ankō Matsuri, and eventually goods sales and other promotional campaigns, all flowed from spontaneous seichijunrei, authentic engagement by local individuals, businesses and organizations, and mutual interest and respect all around. Many contemporary attempts to engineer anime pilgrimage through collaboration between the production team and local tourism organizations during pre-production often cite this series as their model and aspiration, then completely ignore all the factors that made Ōarai and Garupan so successful.

The Aquatope on White Sand

(白い砂のアクアトープ Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu)

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@fragments_sue made a pilgrimage to Nanjō, Kadena and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture for Episode 9 through Episode 12.

Episode 14

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Toguchi Beach (渡具知ビーチ) in Yomitan (読谷村), Okinawa Prefecture

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The fictional Aquarium Tingaara is depicted at the west side of Kadena Air Base (嘉手納基地) in Kadena (嘉手納町), Okinawa Prefecture.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Every team needs its third place.

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Kukuru and Fuka cross the Hijagawa-Ōhashi (比謝川大橋), a red truss bridge spanning the Hija River (比謝川), connecting Mizugama (水釜), Kadena with Furugen (古堅), Yomitan. [Credit: @fragments_sue, Twitter]

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

The Aquatope on White Sand 白い砂のアクアトープ

Other Current Season Pilgrimage

@lidges made a pilgrimage to Utazu, Kagawa Prefecture for Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Dai Mankai no Shō Episode 2.

@ad_motsu made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Jingūmae, Shibuya Ward; Kita-Aoyama, Minato Ward (both Tokyo Metropolis) for Love Live! Superstar!! Episode 11.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@york21c made a pilgrimage to Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture for Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S (new post) OP and (updated post) Episode 10.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Kichijōji, Musashino, Tokyo Metropolis; Yawata, Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture for Dumbbell Nan-Kilo Moteru?