Available on DVD at Prosper Community Library!
Streaming: Amazon (not Prime, but can rent)
In the last blog entry, I shared a video tour of a Naruto/Boruto themed park in Japan.
Would you travel to Japan to visit the park’s Hokage Rock or a location that appeared in another anime? Each year, thousands of foreigners travel to Japan to do exactly this! In a 2018 Japan Tourism Agency survey, 4.6% of 140,000 respondents said they had visited locations depicted in an anime or movie. Japan received 31.19 million foreign tourists 2018, so that means 1.43 million foreigners participated in “anime tourism.” We aren’t sure how many Japanese travel domestically for “anime tourism.”
Did you know that Mitsuha’s fictitious hometown Itomori in Your Name is based on the real Japanese town Hida-Furukawa? I visited Hida-Furukawa in May 2018 for a bicycle tour. Technically, this was more of a happy accident than “anime tourism” – I didn’t see “Your Name” until we returned home from our trip! But I was familiar with the manga Silver Spoon by Hiromu Arakawa, so I wanted to see how rice was grown and harvested. Hiromu Arakawa also wrote and illustrated Fullmetal Alchemist! Both manga series are available from the Prosper Community Library.
Whereas in the U.S. wheat is the main grain that is grown and processed into food, Japan relies on rice. Itomori in Your Name is a secluded, rural farming town just like Hida-Furukawa. Hida-Furukawa is also surrounded by mountains so it resembles the crater where Itomori is nestled. You can see both rice fields and the “Japanese Alps” in this picture.
Hida-Furukawa and many other small farming villages across Japan attribute their delicious rice and produce to local water springs. Here I am drinking fresh spring water from a public well. Anyone can fill up a water bottle for free at this well, but you can also drop a 100-yen coin ($1 USD) into a wooden box to help take care of it. The spring water in Hida-Furukawa is cold, so it is best used for irrigation. Hot springs in Japan are used for onsen, or bath houses. Anime series often feature an “onsen trip” episode, and for good reason: onsen tourism is another big industry in Japan!
The water canals that flow through the streets of Hida-Furukawa’s Old Town are full of carp! These canals were historically used to carry clean water for residents to drink, but many years of pollution made the water unsanitary. The local government introduced almost 400 carp to the waterways to motivate residents and tourists to help keep it clean. It worked really well and tourists like me can’t resist buying bags of bread to feed the carp. When Hida-Furukawa is covered in snow in the winter, the fish are herded into a warehouse to stay warm.
When Taki Tachibana first steps into the Itomori train station in Your Name, you can see a tourist posing for a picture with Hida Cow. Here I am meeting the real-life Hida Cow, a yuru-charu for Hida prefecture. A yuru-charu is a promotional mascot created to attract business to a place or region, business or industry, organization or charity, or an event. Beef from Kobe, Japan already has a worldwide reputation for being worth its expensive price. Hida Cow was introduced to help Hida’s beef production compete with Kobe’s!
I love all kinds of yuru-charu and so do tourists in Japan. To explore the many cute, clever, and sometimes bizarre yuru-charu of Japan visit: https://www.yurugp.jp/en/
Let’s take a virtual trip to Hida-Furukawa to see the real locations appearing in “Your Name”!
If you like this anime, borrow these from PCL:
- Bleach – YA GN KUB
- Erased – YA GN SAN
- Kaiju Girl Caramelise – YA GN AOK
- My Hero Academia – YA GN HOR
- A Silent Voice – YA GN OIM
- Silver Spoon – YA GN ARA
- So Cute It Hurts!! – YA GN IKE
- Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun – YA GN AID
- Bananya – J DVD BAN
- Bleach – DVD BLE
- Disastrous Life of Saiki K. – DVD DIS
- Howl’s Moving Castle – J DVD HOW
- My Bride is a Mermaid – DVD MY
- Penguin Highway – DVD PEN
- Ponyo – J DVD PON
- Princess Jellyfish – DVD PRI
- A Silent Voice – DVD SIL
- When Marnie Was There – J DVD WHE
- Yowamushi Pedal – DVD YOW
Careers in Anime:
“How can I turn my love of anime, manga, Japanese culture into a job?”
Become a Japanese-English Interpreter!
Borrow these books from Prosper Community Library to practice Japanese and learn more about Japanese history!
- The Complete Story of Sadako Sasaki by Sue DiCicco – J B SAS
- First Words Japanese by Andy Mansfield – EASY MAN
- Fodor’s 25 Best: Tokyo by Martin Gostelow – 915.213 GOS
- Fodor’s Japan by Eugene Fodor – 915.2 FOD
- Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela S. Turner – J 636.7 TUR
- Samurai: Japan’s Noble Servant Warriors by B.A. Hoena – J GN HOE
I hope that you enjoyed learning more about Your Name. Don’t miss our next program – we’ll be taking to the high seas for the most popular shonen anime (and manga) of all time!
Youth Services Librarian – Prosper Community Library