Pastel~! Onomichi~!

20 04 2009

Heya everyone,

Just got back from my trip to the southern portions of Japan, namely Hiroshima and neighboring suburb of Onomichi.  Onomichi is a very quant and beautiful suburb but is almost always passed over by foreign tourists, and for good reason.  There just isn’t a whole lot there that would be interesting to someone who is not at least somewhat acquainted with Japanese or Japanese history/culture (I’m talking about the real history/culture not the otaku one!).  I admit my intentions for going there were far less than sincere :P, but you’ll just have to keep reading to find out why.

尾道は最高だ!

尾道は最高だ!

Onomichi is a small town (by Japanese standards) of  148,085 people that is largely home to people who work at the local shipyard and factories.  However, it is a town with nearly 500 years of history and has numerous cultural relics (buddhist temples and shrines) and historical relics.  However!  To me, what’s important is………….. it’s home to Tadano Mugi and HINAKO  of Pastel “fame”.  I doubt Pastel is that popular of a manga, but to those of you who like it, this might be a nice treat.

14

You’re all probably wondering what the heck does Pastel have to do with any of it, right?  Well Pastel is a shonen romance manga that I’m currently loving to death.  It’s spanned 19 volumes and the protagonists live in Onomichi.  The author also grew up in Onomichi and many of the settings in the manga are in fact real.  I decided to check that out for myself and headed to Onomichi.  Gosh I feel like I’m falling deeper and deeper into the pit of otakuism.  I didn’t have the manga on hand as I took the pictures, so some of them are from the incorrect orientation unfortunately, but I tried.

To visit every single place mentioned in the manga would be impossible, so I’ve decided to just focus on volume 14 where HINAKO makes her last stand against the evil Yuu!

So here we go!  First shot!  Hinako and Mugi meet up and talk :P.  O.. and Onomichi has stairs.. slopes, sloped stairs, and more stairs.  The town is literally built on a mountain.

Pastel Chapter 131dsc_1479

Next up we have, Mugi and Hinako’s first date course!

pastel_13_132dsc_1462

Mugi + Hinako have a special place near the top of the mountain, from which you can see the city and the street cars.  The author took a few liberties with the placement of the foliage, but I think I have the right spot.

pastel_13_134dsc_1508dsc_1509

Hinako and Mugi continue their stroll throughout the city.  The locations they actually go through don’t really make any sense in terms of real geography, they’re literally all over the place.pastel_13_145dsc_1478

Hinako and Mugi go shopping in the shopping district!  Because the town is so small, the “shopping district” is only 3 blocks of covered shopping streets.  These stores were essentially all next to each other and was rather straight forward.

14_025dsc_1522

Next up, the ultraman shop :P.  The shop is closed but the ultraman is still there with the hula hoops.

14_025-1

Nooo why are you closed for the day

Nooo why are you closed for the day

14_025-2dsc_1524

This picture is a bit off.  I swear I have the right spot because the scenery Hinako says she can see matches up with what I could see from this spot.

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And.. Hinako’s defeat….

14_078dsc_1547

Unfortunately, I took the next picture in the wrong direction :(.  However, with the house looking so similar, I think you can tell it’s the same place.

14_101

Unfortunately taken from the wrong side.

Unfortunately taken from the wrong side.

14_116

Again, not quite right but it's the same place.

Not quite right, but it's the same place

I actually took alot more shots than the few here, but I ended up missing locations ever so slightly and they ended up looking completely different.  If I ever do this again for another manga I will definitely make sure I have the manga on hand before going.    I didn’t manage to get photos of everything, but I definitely managed to go to all the spots that showed up in volume 13 and 14 though.  Now full of Pastel atmosphere, I like the manga even more than before 😛

Are any of you guys interested in doing this sort of thing?  Travelling to where the manga you’re reading occurs?  Hope you enjoyed this post.  Next post is on Hiroshima, the nuked city!

I’ll just finish up this post with some unused stock photos that ended up looking like nothing from the manga.

Senkouji Shrine.  Mugi and Hinako do in fact go here, I recognize the flags on the side.  However, the manga artist avoids drawing the temple at all, which makes for an impossible photo:P

Notice the flags!

Notice the flags!

Senkouji Shrine

Senkouji Shrine

View of Onomichi from the top of the mountain

View of Onomichi from the top of the mountain

Onomichi indoor shopping district

Onomichi indoor shopping district

Stupid me, took this in the middle section of the platform instead of the front where the Pastel shot would have been.

Stupid me, took this in the middle section of the platform instead of the front where the Pastel shot would have been.

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35 responses

20 04 2009
robostrike

Not procrastinating, just really interesting post so I’ll leave a post before exams.
Wow, such a great parallel to the real world. I remember reading the manga a while back and was pretty good.
Japanese signs are so high tech looking, so much better than the ones in Toronto (TTC, stop improving wages and start renovating the rail system X_X)

20 04 2009
Chris

@robostrike: TTC goes for the more European flair of using an old-school symbol to mark their stations. It doesn’t help that not every bus stop is a ‘station’ (ie, has a name) but at least there’s a cross street…

I digress. The TTC is actually very good for what it has to work with. It covers a lot of ground with increasingly diminishing returns as it expands. If Toronto increases its downtown density enough to actually become a pedestrian city like Tokyo or Paris, only then will it *need* to increase service.

As much as I like public transit and think it’s the way to go, my travels around the world are leading me to believe that it’s only in the truly-dense urban areas that it can work well. And, by working well, I mean having enough density to support a system that operates frequently and locally enough to be useful. (( Take the GRT: it operates infrequently and over a small area with long (ie, unwalkable in 10min) distances between routes. This concentrates people onto the routes available, and I can count on two hands the number of times in the 5 years of my studies that I could not find a place to sit on a bus. ))

…yeesh. That was a bit of a rant. Apologies.

Back to the post…

Looks like you had a fun trip. All of those photos are interesting for the relation to the manga, but unfortunately what makes a good background for a manga doesn’t necessarily make for a good picture (esp. when it’s a hazy day). Still, it looked like a very pretty place.

20 04 2009
pus2meong

that’s a nice pics you have. I wonder how the mangaka draw it on the manga.

21 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

@robostrike: ha glad you enjoyed the post:P. Hopefully, you’ll like pastel too.

@pus2meong: Keeping it so close to reality must have been quite tough. He must be living nearby the town to use the town as reference, I don’t see how it would work in any other way.

@Chris: I agree hehe. The pictures as a whole are pretty terrible :P. Trying to frame the pictures as though they look in the manga have left the photos without a subject and some weird looking composition. That said, my photography skills are still pretty terrible :P. Still working on it!

21 04 2009
pastelholic

@pus2meong: i think he shoot the spot, scan it, toned it to black and white, make the character, put it on the background, clean it haha lol..

ugh i wish i live in japan… that neighborhood at the pic so nice.. with many stairs and various height.. T.T

21 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

haha those steps are actually a real pain to walk up 😛 Especially when the temperature is around 30 degrees celsius. Thankfully, Onomichi is right next to the sea, so there is always a nice breeze.

I can’t count the number of times I almost tripped on those steps :P.

27 04 2009
pus2meong

I see. I will try that method too, who know it might work for me ^^

21 04 2009
bluemage

Nice pictures mirroring scenes seen in Pastel. Now if only I could get snapshots of scenes from the village Hinamiazawa was based on…

21 04 2009
guorbatschow

lol… i’d love to see the suspension bridge in hinamizawa

21 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

if you two find out where it is i’ll try going

21 04 2009
Reef

How beautiful…

21 04 2009
Jackal

They do look very similar. I too like Pastel. I didn’t expect the real Onomichi to be this similar to Pastel

21 04 2009
Meh

Maaan I was in onomichi too three weeks ago. I got most of the spots but missed the rock D: How’d you find it? Oh and you missed the Sakura on the top, was really good.

21 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

The rock is actually somewhat hidden behind the senkouji shrine. If you took the ropeway up the hill, you will not be able to find it :P. You have to walk. To find it what I did was walk up all the way to behind the shrine, and then deliberately search for clearings in the foliage where I could see the ropeway. Eventually after 5 or 6 tries I stumbled upon the right one. I was actually yelling OMG I FINALLY FOUND IT as I realized where I was, to the detriment of the other visitors :P. Understandably though, this spot is probably the single most important spot in all of Pastel, as it is Mugi’s, Yuu’s, Hinako’s, Manami’s, and Kazuki’s favorite place.

I don’t think there was a Sakura in volume 13 or 14. I was only looking for spots in those two volumes. Though I walked up all the way to the observatory so I probably did see it, but didn’t realize that it had appeared in Pastel.

22 04 2009
Meh

I mean you missed hanami season in Onomichi >.>” Apparently the park is really famous for it and I lucked out. And no kidding about all the hills, going up and down looking for everything made me exhaaaaausted. But yeah how’d you manage to find a lot of the harder-to-find spots? I understand quite a few were on the temple walk but still =\

23 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

its all thanks to my proness
just joking, i used a map that someone had marked most of the spots for.
i could link it but its only in japanese

24 04 2009
28 04 2009
Meh

Ah, knew it was that one. The sad part is I found out about it a week after I left Onomichi D’:

22 04 2009
Yuki Phnx

wow. it’s amazing how well the artist captured the area. even with the little details on the bench near the dock

i would love to do something like that. it would be so fun to run around the place looking for locations

22 04 2009
bluemage

Hinamizawa is based on the real-life village of Shirakawa-go. More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirakawa,_Gifu_(village)

I figured you would probably be able to locate where in Japan this is since I don’t really know much about Japan’s geography.

23 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

Actually, Gifu is the neighboring prefecture to Aichi (where I live), what a coincidence. I might actually be able to go without using huge wads of cash.

Going to start doing some research, someone has GOT to have made an otaku map for Higurashi :P.

24 04 2009
meronpan

nice post ^^ awesome to be able to visit actual locations from a series you enjoy. do you read adun’s blog? your pics reminded me of the lucky star photo he and 3 others were able to recreate at the kyoani building (http://www.moemoerabu.net/2008/08/25/kyoto-day-2-a-konata-adventure-and-30000-torii-gates/ – it’s the 13th pic in the post)

i guess i’m not really following anything that i’d really want to see so many locations from but i would like to visit the lucky star shrine someday ^^;

27 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

There also seems to be a Izumi Konata house set up somewhere in Saitama as well as the shrine.

I might pay that a visit.

25 04 2009
maru

Very nice! Would love to do that if I could. First I need a camera. Then, a one-way ticket to Japan! xD

27 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

1 way? :O. How are you getting back?

29 04 2009
Kanaka

Why would one want to leave once you’re there? 😀

In any case, awesome post with very great pictures. You caught some of the images really well and props to the artist in the first place for drawing such accurate pictures.

Definitely, someday in the future, I hope to be able to do something as adventurous as this. By the way, how long did you stay to take all the pictures and visit all the locations?

29 04 2009
aaroninjapan09

@kanaka:
Onomichi isn’t a very large town and it’s quite close to Hiroshima so 1 day is more than enough. I got there at around 10 and finished around 5, so I could get to the bullet train that left for Nagoya in time.

7 hours is more than enough time :). Especially if you use the cable cars instead of walking up the mountain like me.

29 04 2009
Rahul

Hi,

Great job, I never though there will be so much similarity. By any chance did you find Mugi & Yuu house and there school. I would like to see the pictures of that. I also would like to visit Japan at least once. But I do not know even small amount of Japanese 😦

Thanks a lot for this.

5 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

I did find their school, but for some reason… it’s a primary school :O. Or maybe the high school students were on break or something, not sure.

29 04 2009
kami123

wow i can’t not believe Pastel actually based on a real town. No wonder it’s so realistic and so great. You did an awesome job man! I definitely visit it someday cause i love Pastel just like you do :)). I bet it took you a really long time to match all the pictures you took with the manga scenes , isn’t it?

5 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

It definitely took me a while :P. But, it was well worth it. It’s a beautiful town too!

9 05 2009
Hantsuki chapter 5 | FoOlRulez blog.

[…] like Necrophantasia got somewhere to go for his next trip, hehe. (He is that otaku living in Japan right now who visits places in mangas. […]

20 05 2009
@yohan

hello,,,wow same like kami 123,,i’m also cannot believe that the place is so real,,,!honestly,,,first time i only read this manga as a echi story…but from first chapter,,until chapter 101..i always guest what will happen in the next chapter,,it makes my heart feel so happy!,,,i love the story, the scene, and the meaning of this story..!and makes me realize..something,,, spend our life with someone that we love..is very so much fun.!,,,,someday i will go Onomichi..!

20 05 2009
Luiz

Awesome picstures. And everything is soo similar, that mangaka really does a great job :D. I would like to make a trip in this way, but Onomichi/Japan is a little far from Brasil (were I live).

Thanks,lucky guy 🙂

25 05 2009
tive

It’s cool to see someone else who did the same thing! Go to Onomichi, i.e., just ’cause it’s where most of Pastel takes place. Me and my two brothers (we’ve all read most of the available scanlations of Pastel) went there for a day trip; it was very very cool. Well, actually: hot, we sweated our rears off. But later on re-reading Pastel and then knowing you’ve been in some of the places drawn in the manga is just very cool. I think we did see the school as well, but my bro-with-the-camera wouldn’t take a picture of it: he refused to believe that school was the one in Pastel… Can’t blame him, I suppose. Very friendly people as well: one older guy we met couldn’t speak English well, but he could say “friend” and shook our hands, and, well… made us feel welcome, notwithstanding the language barrier.

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