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Taiyo Nakashima Taiyo Nakashima 11/09/2015 13 min read
Here goes the second part of Ichirou report in Japan! Day 5 – Saturday! Been a hectic weekdays, now we are in Japan might as well enjoy the famous streets of Tokyo. So Ichirou and Taiyo takes on the train to explore the city! We are in world famous Akihabara district, the town of electronics and everything about Manga and Anime! Just off the station, a popular Manga specialist GAMERS are hosting “Comic-ZENON Festival”. Even Kenshirou made it on show! Akihabarawe take an early lunch, where? Why not in the “Maid Cafe” everyone seems to be talking about 🙂 …ah, I think Ichirou got the “Usa-mimi” worn wrong? We asked one of the maids to show us how it’s done 😉 The curry was lovely (there are better curry thou,) and we get on a train to next district!   Welcome to Shibuya, the station most famous for the world’s busiest crosswalk! This is the “center of youth culture” ichirou wanted to pay a visit.

The crosswalk in Shibuya

Apparels shops, bars and clubs… Just so much crammed in tight space of a town! We found the solution! The “Jin-riki-sha”, literary “Human driven cargo” service provided by Ogesa Taro san, an actor, rapper and the man machine driving the cargo for us.
Did you know the word "Rickshaw" is actually from Japanese word "Jin-Riki-Sha"?

Did you know the word “Rickshaw” is actually from Japanese word “Jin-Riki-Sha”?

He takes us through around central Shibuya at the lovely tottering pace, and Ichirou listens to the guides provided by Taro-san, mixed with local wisdom. Fascinating. IMG_5503 But sometime there are just too many people, it’s a bit overwhelming. Just then Taro san says he will take us to a special place. I wonder where? About 5 minutes into a back street, all of a sudden there aren’t too many people around, and there is a park, in traditional Japanese style, with a large pond and a classic tiny water mill. IMG_5512 This part of Shibuya belonged to a prestigious Samurai few hundred years ago. Upon death, he donated his beloved corner of the palace to the district. Ichirou, Taro-san and I take a well deserved rest, in this calm little park. Thanking him for the lovely ride, we head off to the next district!   IMG_5523 “Harajuku” is synonymous with “Kawaii!!”, this is the center of Japan’s pop culture. From junior school kids to grown-ups, there is something for everybody who loves cuteness! We take a stroll in places like “6% doki doki” and “ACDC”, each run by stylist who provides clothing for Kyarry Pamyu Pamyu, Momoiro Clover Z and artists alike. Ichirou is in a mood to try some new clothes! IMG_5525We both got some rather funky (neon!) clothing to suite the mood of the night where we are heading…     IMG_5529 This is Shinjuku – “Kabuki-cho” to be more exact. As seen in titles like “CITYHUNTER” and “Fast and Furious – Tokyo Drift”, this is the busiest night destination in whole of Japan! This energetic city is recently undergoing re-development in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. There are many things to see and do… like this Godzilla!! IMG_5531Saturday night in Shinjuku, the party is just getting started, and we disappear into the night… Day 6 – Sunday Yesterday was full of excitements, so we seemed more transcendence for Sunday. This is the National Art Center, Tokyo. Where they host “Japan’s MANGA, ANIME and GAMES” exhibition. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos, but there many brilliant exhibits, original art pages of some of our favorite artists, as well as production notes from anime works.
Manga, Anime and Games from Japan Exhibition

Manga, Anime and Games from Japan Exhibition

We stayed there for a good few hours to enjoy the exhibition… Then off to the Tokyo Bay ares. Recognize those feet? IMG_5838 YES the Odaiba Gundam! IMG_5839 As the huge Gundam shines in the sunset, we take a visit to the shopping mall next to it. after enjoying all the latest shopping trends, we set off to.. IMG_5849 KAMINARIMON! the symbol of “Asakusa”, the shopping and entertainment district loved by the the public ever since current Tokyo was populated hundreds of years ago. We arrived a bit late so the main street was closed, but there are also many places to see and do in the street around it. The place is absolutely packed during the day! it was a refreshing change to see it in a calmness of the night.     Day 7 – Monday We are back in business! And what better Monday is there, to start with visiting Hara sensei’s studio. For the past 35 years, he has been producing hit after hit, and still fights at the fore front of manga creation, with his current series “Ikusa no Ko (Child of War)” on Comic-ZENON every month. (Which just became available on SMAC! Mag. Vote for it!) He had a moment for us out of his busy schedule. Hara sensei, turns the pages of Ichirou’s portfolio page by page. Impressed by the detailed artwork he shares his impressions with Ichirou, page by page. _DSC0101Sensei let us take a look around his workspace too. Like Hojo sensei, he does not use any special tools or papers. He simply choses to use whatever that felt good to his hand, which just happened to be just a commodity pen that is available at any art supply off the shelf.

Ichirou listens carefully to Hara-sensei’s words…

With dynamic composition and glorious colours, his work is super labour intensive. Supporting Hara sensei are group of assistants, working in a large room next to his. Before coming here, Ichirou told me he preferred to work alone for his creations, but witnessing the master’s studio where many assistants work together to create the world of Hara sensei, Ichirou may have picked up a few ideas on working as a team. At the end, Hara sensei asks Ichirou, that he “Would love to read a full, complete piece of manga with dialogues.” Ichirou, Mocchi the chief and team SMAC! promised sensei to get working on it!   As this is the last night, we head off to the Zizo bar, the bar run by our building manager(!).
Karaoke! Saint Seiya!

Karaoke! Saint Seiya!

We talked, we laughed and we sang – yes the Karaoke is customary in any Japanese friends! Even though we only physically met a week ago, we sing the same songs like “Saint Seiya” that we all know and love. Such is the power of Manga and Anime!   Day 8 – Final day

Our man Horie-san, and Ichirou, are now a tag team!

Meeting the masters, Comic-ZENON editorial, and all the guys supporting them… In a matter of just one week, so many people provided wisdom, and encouragement for the young artist Ichirou. We kinda guessed it may be hard to imagine from somewhere apart, how many people are involved in the creation of Manga. That’s why, we invited Ichirou to be with us for a week, to not just know but to “feel” the atmosphere in the field of Manga creation. It may perhaps feel a little lonesome, going back and creating on one’s own, the next masterpiece yet to be penned. But I hope Ichirou, and everyone who are drawing for SILENT MANGA AUDITION, remember that all of us here at SMAC! are sincerely with you and wishing all the best, providing support as much as we can!IMG_5883 For this time, we invited Ichirou as the representative of everyone who are joining our event. And we are eagerly looking forward to meeting more award winners, of past and future, to join us here in Kichijoji! Thank you for reading, and looking forward to reading your manga 🙂 Reported by Taiyo Nakashima ( Deputy Chief Editor, SMAC! the web magazine )
Taiyo Nakashima

Taiyo Nakashima