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
Chichibu Anohana event
As one of the last events of 2021 among multiple activities celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana), Chichibu Railway (秩父鉄道) ran a special service of the steam locomotive SL Paleo Express (SLパレオエクスプレス), called SL Anohana 10th Anniversary Final Express, for one day only on December 26, with a head mark featuring the anniversary illustration. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7
Tamako character birthday
A fan-organized Tamako Market character birthday for Kitashirakawa Tamako hosted by Shin Keihan (しんけーはん @shinkeihan6350) is planned for December 31 in Demachi, Kyoto. The event will begin at 15:00 at S.O.U./Violet and Claire in Demachi Masugata Shōtengai, then move to another location in Demachi for nijikai. S.O.U./Violet and Claire was formerly Hananami, which was the model for cafe Hoshi to Piero in Tamako Market.
Yamamura Meta Tourism presentation
Contents tourism researcher Yamamura Takayoshi (山村高淑) gave a presentation as part of an online symposium hosted by the Meta Tourism Promotion Institute (メタ観光推進機構) on December 22. The presentation slides have been made available for download at the Hokkaido University Collection of Scholarly and Academic Papers. Meta tourism (メタ観光), as defined by this organization, is the idea that travelers can attribute multiple layers of meaning to physical places in a variety of ways. Contents tourism, specifically that involving games, films and animation, is considered as one layer of meta tourism within a wider scope that also includes geographical and historical filters. The act of tagging locations through social media platforms with photos, coordinates and information specific to the filter creates metadata. Potential tourists can use that metadata to create travel itineraries, and visitors can access it in real time and on the spot using smartphones, allowing them to simultaneously experience real and virtual content on their journeys.
Manoyama Research Society
Manoyama Research Society (間野山研究学会) will hold the eighth convening of its research seminar on 2022 April 17 at Nanto City Creator Plaza (南砺市クリエイタープラザ), also known as Sakura Crea (桜クリエ), in Toyama Prefecture. The Society is currently soliciting applications to give presentations on topics related to regional development and tourism promotion, which should be submitted by 2022 January 31. Applicants must be a regular member, student member, or supporting member of the Society.
Oyama Station soba seichi
Oyama Station Kisoba (小山駅きそば) is a stand-up soba shop on the Utsunomiya Line platform at Oyama Station in Tochigi Prefecture. It has operated here since 1950 and is the last remaining of three shops at the station directly managed by noodle company Nakazawa Seimen (中沢製麺). Due to reorganization within JR East, the contract for this shop has been terminated and it will close on 2022 January 14. Shinkai Makoto took photos of the Ryōmō Line platform shop while location hunting in 2006 for a scene at Oyama Station in Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru (5 Centimeters per Second). Anime fans began visiting the noodle bar for seichijunrei after the Ryōmō Line shop appeared in the short film. Media coverage: Shimotsuke Shimbun
Hula Fulla Dance at TIFF
Prior to the December 3 public release of Hula Fulla Dance, director Mizushima Seiji (水島精二) discussed various parts of the film during events at the Tokyo International Film Festival (東京国際映画祭). At a “teach-in” event on November 8, he answered questions from the MC and audience about location hunting in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. He noted that, though he visited many locations, some of these were discarded when developing the scenario, thinking that including too many would have given the film a sightseeing feel. The film is one of three anime works under Zutto Ōen. Project 2011+10… (ずっとおうえん。プロジェクト 2011+10…), itself part of broader efforts by Fuji TV to support disaster recovery in the Tōhoku region following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Media coverage: Eiga Log Plus
Hokkaidō Tomino exhibition
Hokkaidō Museum of Modern Art (北海道立近代美術館) in Sapporo will host The World of Tomino Yoshiyuki (富野由悠季の世界), an exhibition of storyboards, illustrations and other materials from the director, as well as contributions by Hokkaidō native creators who also worked on various Gundam series, from 2021 October 17 to 2022 January 23. Though not related to the exhibition, in its reporting Yomiuri also notes seichijunrei to various Hokkaidō locations including Hakodate for Love Live! Sunshine!!, Argonavis from BanG Dream! and Sōkyū no Fafner: The Beyond; to Abashiri for Golden Kamuy; and to the Kushiro Marsh for Omoide no Marnie. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun
Washinomiya Lucky Star goods
Each year, the Kuki City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Washinomiya Branch (久喜市商工会鷲宮支所) in Saitama Prefecture sells a small number of Lucky Star collaboration goods that are only available locally. Often, new goods or new runs of existing goods are first made available at the “Washinomiya Jinja parking lot first sale” (鷲宮神社駐車場 初売り) from December 31 to January 3, the time when people visit the shrine for hatsumōde. Due to Covid-19, the first sale will not be held this year, so the goods will be available only at certain Chamber member businesses, per the chart on the announcement. This year, goods will include coasters with the character manhole cover design, shirts, slippers, and oversize ema with a year calendar and commemoration of the rebuilt torii at Washinomiya Jinja.