Omiya Station
February 14, 2024

My first night in Japan, I’ve booked a hotel in Omiya, Saitama, about half-an-hour northwest of Tokyo by shinkansen. The hotel is near the Omiya JR Station, which is convenient both for getting in at the end of my trip from Oregon and for getting started the next morning.

But I was watching an anime this morning, and this scene popped up –

This was on-screen for only a moment, but I went back and found the screenshot. Then I went to Google Earth and found this:

This is not an uncommon occurrence. A lot of people visit places in Japan they’ve seen in animes. My day trip to Hakodate in Hakaido is to ride the tram up to the observatory and see a view that has been in numerous shows and should be just as great in real life.

If Google is any proof:

the view from the Mount Hakodate Observatory.

I know that anime is not a documentary guide to Japanese life, culture, language, or geography. But it has given me some idea off what to expect, just as reading about Japan helps me understand what anime doesn’t get right. Watching anime is a large part of what draws me to that country; reading the news and other sources are part of what keeps me grounded.

Real life versus anime, I’m not too fussed. I’m going over for three weeks of seeing what I can enjoy. I’ll likely make a list of what anime highlights are on my itinerary, just for the fun of it. But my number one goal is to see what opens up before me as I travel. A bucket list of anime scenes is a minor option.