Friday, November 6, 2009

Heroes of Tokiwa Manor, stamp rally


(Stamp rally route.)

Along with the exhibit in the Worker's Welfare Hall, there's the Tokiwa Heroes stamp rally. I discovered this by accident when I went to the exhibit and started playing with one of the stamp pads just past the children's corner. The idea is to visit various shops a couple miles southwest of the center, along Mejiro Dori, and collect the 10 stamps on the main poster designed for this purpose. When you're done, finish at the Welfare hall on the 7th floor to get a souvenir clear folder. The clear folder is fairly boring, so the main reason for doing the stamp rally is to get the stamps themselves, which are nicely designed, and to visit the memorial plaque along the way. Looks like the memorial was dedicated at the beginning of this event, around Oct., 2009. At least, the sign on the fence in the background is dated Oct., 2009.



(Stamp poster.)

There are 9 stamps laid out roughly in a circle, set up on tables on the sidewalks in front of the various shops. Each table has extra copies of the stamp poster if you need them (so you don't have to go to the Welfare hall to start with).



(Banner on a street pole along the way. This is a representation of the memorial.)

The easiest path is to start out at the Ikebukuro JR station, and take the Seibu Ikebukuro train west one station to Shiinamachi. Go out the north exit and you'll see the table for stamp 1 near by. Then, just follow the numbers on the map on the stamp poster. Keep in mind that the map's not really to scale, but it is accurate in terms of the number of cross streets between stamp points.



All of the stamp tables are out in front of the shops, so you don't have to enter them at any point. For me, the trickiest one was #7, which is in a parking garage, and not right out in the open. When you get stamp 9, return to Shiinamachi station and take the train back to Ikebukuro. Walk to the Citizen's center. Stamp 10 is near the children's area on the 7th floor. And you get the clear folder by turning the poster over at the counter near the elevator.


(The "Tokiwa Heroes" memorial.)




(The park)


(The information that accompanies the memorial.)

The memorial plaque is in a small park at stamp point 8. If you try coming here after the stamp rally is over, then take the Seibu Ikebukuro line to Shiinamachi, and go out the south exit. Continue south to the first major street - Mejiro Dori. Turn right and head west about 6 blocks, past the bus stop. The road will split in a narrow Y-intersection in front of a small police box. Take the right hand fork another 6 short blocks and you'll see a small park on the left. The plaque will be on the left side just inside the entrance. Alternatively, the next station past Shiinamachi is Higashi Nagasaki, which is somewhat closer to the park.


(Ramen shop.)


(Close up of the doors.)

Along the way, I noticed that some of the shops were selling Tokiwa Manor memo pads and fans, and one place had all kinds of knickknacks from the different artists. There was even one ramen shop that had a strip on the front doors with characters from Hiro Terada ("Kurayami Godan") eating ramen (actually, it looks like the combination of Terada and Fujio A ("Black Humor")). Obviously, if the artists lived in Tokiwa Manor for over a year, they also frequented the shops in the area, adding to the local history. Although, I doubt that this specific ramen shop's been around for over 50 years...

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