Greetings from J-List we are preparing for our at the San Diego Comic-Con, which is at booth 4929, all the way out the far end of “anime alley.” We hope you will be making plans to visit us during the show!
One thing I like about the world we live in is the way it’s not that difficult to travel to exotic places far from home, like Japan, which has been experiencing a huge boom in tourism as the country prepares for the Olympics next year. Depending on where you are in the world, you can visit Japan for a couple thousand dollars, including airfare and hotels, and enjoy wandering around the most exciting parts of Tokyo or Kyoto. Best of all, you can visit the actual locations from your favorite anime, thanks to the rise of animators setting their creations in real locations around Japan, creating “anime holy lands” for us fans to make pilgrimages to.
This trend started in 2002, when Please Teacher and Please Twins came out, turning the sleepy area of Lake Kizaki and the pleasant rural city of Karuizawa, both in Nagano Prefecture, into the first “holy lands” where fans could visit and walk the actual ground their favorite characters had walked. It turned into a huge tourism boom, as otakus from all over Japan and the world stopped by to commune with other otakus — there’s even a day when they all gather to pick up trash around the lake, and suddenly the “otaku tourism” industry was created. Today, pretty much any anime you can think of is “filmed” in a real location somewhere in Japan, and you can usually find it by googling your favorite anime name followed by 聖地巡礼 (seichi junrei, meaning “making a pilgrimage to the holy land”) and making notes of locations on Google maps.
If you’ve read my blog posts for any length of time, you’ll know I like to make use of downtime to take random vacations to different parts of the U.S. For the past week I’ve taken advantage of the lull between the two major California conventions to travel up the West Coast and hit some “holy land” sites I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m a huge fan of the science fiction novel Dune, and I own a first printing of the book, which I took to the Oregon Dunes area around Florence, which is where Frank Herbert was working when he got the idea for the epic science fiction book. I also visited Twin Peaks, because Washington state is always a beautiful part of the country to visit.
While I was driving up the beautiful California Scenic Highway, J-List’s manga buyer Yasu, who you’ve met if you visited our booth at Anime Expo, made a pilgrimage of his own, to Manzanar, which was one of 10 internment camps for 127,000 Japanese and U.S.-born Americans of Japanese that during World War II, 70% of whom were U.S. citizens. This aspect of America’s wartime history isn’t well understood in Japan, so it was an educational journey for Yasu to undertake, as well as a spiritual one. The museum at Manzanar is excellent, re-creating several of the original buildings and showing how the internees lived, along with explaining the historical background very clearly. If you’re ever on Route 395 south of Reno, it’s definitely worth a stop.
Is there an anime holy land you’d like to visit someday? Tell us on Twitter!
Hope your weekend was great! We’re getting ready for the San Diego Comic-Con, but first, we’ve got…some new English hentai manga to show you! These new manga by our friends at Fakku are great, and we’ve got them in stock in San Diego. Browse them all here.