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
Yuwaku Bonbori online events
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, a series of live streamed events were held on October 22 and 23. Although the main event, an acoustic performance by nano.RIPE and talk show with producer Nagatani Tanayuki and voice actor Itō Kanae (Matsumae Ohana), was only available live, all other virtual events related to the festival have been uploaded to YouTube for playback.
On October 22, the evening before the virtual festival, P.A. Works president Horikawa Kenji (堀川憲司) and production manager Imagawa Takurō (今川拓郎) hosted a live stream talk. They discussed the circumstances that have prevented the festival from being held the past three years (typhoons and Covid-19), give a walking tour of the entrance area of the animation studio, where posters and Noto Railway headmarks from Hanasaku Iroha and past Bonbori festivals are displayed alongside the original sketches, and briefly discuss location hunting for the series with photographs taken at the time. This also included two pre-recorded segments. In one, P.A. Works staff visit Yuwaku and have a conversation with Yamashita Shin’ichirō (山下新一郎), chairman of the Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri executive committee. In the second, representatives from P.A. Salon, a fan membership organization, present their picks of favorite scenes from the anime series. The stream ends with archive footage from the third Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri in 2013, including music performances, procession through the town, and fire ceremony.
On October 23, the live stream events before the main performance, referred to collectively as Oshiete! Bonbori Matsuri (教えて！ぼんぼり祭り), began with a greeting from Yuwaku Onsen Tourism Association president Andō Tamotsu (安藤有). This was followed by a talk (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) given by Yamamura Takayoshi (山村高淑), chairman of the Manoyama Research Society (間野山研究学会) and professor at the Hokkaido University Center For Advanced Tourism Studies (北海道大学 観光学高等研究センター) or CATS, Sakoda Muneyuki (佐古田宗幸), representative director of PARUS (Produce Area Research & Utility Support Center 地域発新力研究支援センター), which is P.A. Works’ regional development arm, and chairman Yamashita. They discuss in depth the background behind the creation of the Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri, the planning of the first event, developments with subsequent events, and long term visions for the festival and relationship between Yuwaku and Hanairo fans. The evening concluded with a taiko drum performance and fireworks over the empty town.
Further, the content of the preceding talk will be covered in greater depth in two online forums hosted by CATS, the fourth and fifth Online Tourism Creation Forum (オンライン観光創造フォーラム), on December 1 and December 15, respectively. The fourth forum will feature Yamashita, the fifth Sakoda, and both will be moderated by Yamamura. These discussions draw on the contents of and promote the book Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri 2011-2021: 10 Years of History with Anime “Hanasaku Iroha” (湯涌ぼんぼり祭り2011-2021 ～アニメ｢花咲くいろは｣と歩んだ10年～), published 2021 August by Parubooks, which the three were involved in writing and editing. The forums are free and open to the public. Attendance is limited to 50 participants in each meeting. Interested participants can register to receive an invitation to the Zoom meetings for the fourth or fifth forum by November 30 or December 14, respectively.
The former Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校旧校舎群) in Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture, a K-On! seichi, launched its annual wintertime light display (豊郷小学校旧校舎群ライトアップ&イルミネーション) on November 13. Merchants from the town setup stalls on school grounds beginning in the afternoon and a lighting ceremony was held at 17:30. The school and grounds will be lit every night until 22:00 every night until December 26. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5. Video: tweet 1
— 豊郷町観光協会 (@toyosato_kankou) November 14, 2021
Ōarai Garupan greeting
Back in June, it was announced that this year’s Shōkō Kanshasai (商工感謝祭) and Ōarai Ankō Matsuri (大洗あんこう祭) in Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture were still tentatively being held, but events related to Girls & Panzer would be cancelled in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. In the interim, the festivals were cancelled in their entirety for the second consecutive year, replaced by a prerecorded presentation from town representatives. On November 13, what would have been the day of the festivals, employees of the Kashima Rinkai Railway (鹿島臨海鉄道) greeted arrivals at Ōarai Station from 9:00 to 10:30 in the morning, mimicking the poses of the Garupan character panels setup in the concourse, to welcome back visitors who had nevertheless chosen to spend the day in the city. Media coverage: Netorabo. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
— 鹿島 花梨 ・鹿島臨海鉄道公式 (@rintetsu_karin) November 13, 2021
Contents history online meeting
Japanese Association for Contents History Studies (コンテンツ文化史学会) will hold its annual meeting online on November 27 from 13:10 to 17:20 JST. Contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi (岡本健) will present on anime tourism history from a policy and business perspective during the free topic portion, then moderate the main panel discussion on board game culture. The meeting is free and open to the public. Interested participants can register to receive an invitation to the Zoom meeting here.
Seichikaigi Expo 2021 Winter
Seichikaigi, the contents tourism business self-published periodical by Kakizaki Shundō (柿崎俊道), has announced dates for Seichikaigi Expo 2021 Winter (聖地会議EXPO2021冬), which will be held December 25 and 26 at the Kindai University Practical Science Hall (近畿大学実学ホール) in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. The event plan includes topics related to anime, animals (mainly capybara), VTubers and virtual reality. This event will be organized jointly by Seichikaigi and contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi (岡本健), who is an associate professor at Kindai. To mitigate the spread of Covid-19, this event is limited to “related parties” (関係者). If you self-identify as a “related party” you can go ahead and request a free admission ticket here. If you are unsure whether you are a “related party” you can contact the organizer to inquire.
Chitanda Eru tobidashi restoration
Eki-chan Honey (えきちゃんハニー @821kg) cleaned the surfaces and has begun repainting the Chitanda Eru tobidashi that lives at the Honmachi Sanchōme Shōtengai in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. As in the past, the eye color is of particular concern. Sun exposure causes the red pigments of the purple paint to dissipate, leaving only blue behind. Another tobidashi creator suggested switching to acrylic paint and sealing with a clear varnish. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
Keihan Eupho goods sale
Keihan Electric Railway (京阪電気鉄道) will hold a sale of train headmarks and straps from past Hibike! Euphonium collaborations on November 20. Sales will take place outside the ticket gate at Keihan Uji Station in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture from 10:00 to 13:00.
Saitama stamp rally
Saitama Prefecture is promoting its connection to multiple anime seichi with a prefecture-wide digital stamp rally (GO！埼玉 アニメの舞台を巡ろうスタンプラリー) from November 3 to December 2. This is being done in partnership with Kadokawa and the Anime Tourism Association, which installed a large monitor in the second floor lobby of the Kadokawa Musashino Museum that introduces the works that gave rise to these seichi, and are offering an anime-themed hotel room in Tokorozawa Sakura Town as the lottery prize offering for individuals who complete the rally. In conjunction with this, there will be a goods sale (埼玉県アニメ聖地物産市) at Tokorozawa Sakura Town from November 20 to 28. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun, Famitsu.com, Dengeki Online
(白い砂のアクアトープ Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu)
The search continues for an Ohana location model. There are two new hypotheses in addition to the Ohana restaurant in Uruma from last week. @Chicken_army_3 (tweet) is looking at a location along National Route 449 in Motobu, approaching Churaumi Aquarium from the south. There are curving seaside roads and the Motobu Hama-no-eki, a short strip mall that vaguely resembles the fictional scene as far as the building profile and positional relationship to the road and water. The second hypothesis is below.
@heero_yuy2 (tweet) meanwhile is proposing this cut is a a composite scene combining a coastal location back in Nanjō as the far background, with the road, guardrails and rock formation taken from nearby. This one is pretty convincing to me, particularly the far background. But if this cut is indeed Nanjō, and Tingaara is in Kadena, and Fūka and Kukuru live in a composite of Yomitan and Chatan, then it’s still anyone’s guess as to where the restaurant itself might be, if it exists.
Chatan (北谷町), Okinawa Prefecture
This week includes an additional location from the grounds of Kaiyōhaku Park (海洋博公園), the large seaside park that includes Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu (本部町), Okinawa Prefecture. [Credit: @fragments_sue, Twitter]
Unlike the arches below, which merely borrow a motif from structures at the site, the rock wall and path are a direct reference.
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
Past Season Pilgrimage
@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Hachikō-mae Plaza in Dogenzaka, Shibuya Ward; (post 2) Takanawa, Mita and Shiba, Minato Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Ren’ai Zunōsen.