There was something I had been really looking forward to on this trip.
It was getting around to places famous in anime movies.
Tanegashima was the stage for 5 Centimeters per Second (directed by Makoto Shinkai, famous for Your Name.) and the near-future science fiction story Robotics;Notes.
I now had the chance to visit places featured in these films.
That alone was enough to make me excited.
Was this nervous tension the result of getting closer to those magical worlds?
The first stop I made was I Shop Ishido Odaira.
It's a store that appears in 5 Centimeters per Second.
Both the interior and exterior are nearly identical to how the movie depicts them. That was enough to get me excited!
Guess what I found! An anime pilgrimage guest book.
Seeing the comments of anime visitors from across Japan was like finding true kindred spirits.
The shop gives out souvenir cards to fans. I picked up one as a small personal treasure.
Next, I visited famous spots including Tanegashima Chuo High School and the wind turbine, then the original Tanegashima Airport and I Shop Nagai that appear in Robotics;Notes, but more than any of these, I was most excited to enter the actual room that director Shinkai had stayed in.
The scenery outside the window of that room in the Green Hotel Sakae was exactly like a scene from one of the movies.
This was hallowed ground on the pilgrimage circuit and my excitement showed it.
Just sharing that space was thrilling.
Time flew by as I chatted with different employees and searched for things that matched scenes from the anime.
It was an exhilarating day filled with the joy of discovery, hearing interesting stories, and delighting in standing on revered ground.