Friday, November 27, 2009

Kamiigusa Kara

(The clear file.)

As part of the Gundam 30th Anniversary celebrations, the Suginami Animation Museum (SAM) is going to start showing the Gundam anime in its theater, starting in December. And, in conjunction with the city of Kamiigusa, where the bronze Gundam statue stands outside the train station, they also put on the Gundam stamp rally. Like most rallies, it's aimed at kids, and the prize for getting all of the stamps was just a clear file with a picture of the bronze statue on it. However, also like most stamp rallies, the stamps are high quality and worth keeping just for themselves. The rally was held from Nov. 26th to the 29th.

(Front of stamp card.)

The route was pretty simple. Pick up the card from the table at the station and get the first stamp there. Continue west along the tracks to the school grounds for stamp 4. Return to the station, turn right at the street and go inside the Aoyagi bakery and cafe for stamp 2 and to fill out a survey card (where you came from, how you learned about the rally, comments). Then keep going along the same street away from the station for at least a mile to get to SAM. At the counter on the 3rd floor is stamp 3. While you're there, look at the "Gundam and Kamiigusa" exhibit. Finally, backtrack to the station, follow the side street east along the tracks past the Sunrise building and enter the Genro stationery shop and cafe for stamp 5, the same survey form and to claim the clear file as your prize. Because I had my bike, I was able to finish the route in about 15 minutes, but I added to that time by stopping and talking to a number of people along the way (especially at SAM). I also returned to Aoyagi to buy some small cakes for 240 yen to snack on. (It was about 13 miles one-way along busy streets just to ride out there, and I was starting to get hungry. The cakes were good.)

(Back of card.)

As for the SAM exhibit, it was also interesting (from Nov. 25th to the 29th). Kamiigusi is the home to one of Sunrise's offices, and Sunrise is the company that produced the Gundam anime. So, the shop owners in the area have embraced Gundam as part of their own. The exhibit shows a number of the banners that have hung from the Kamiigusa street poles, photos of the creation of the statue and its eventual unveiling, and pictures of some of the store fronts that have Gundam paintings on their shutter doors. Along with the one shop I found, turns out that a dry cleaners also had a very nice painting. On SAM's fourth floor, there's a TV with a DVD player showing a story on the creation and unveiling of the statue as well. If you're a Gundam fan and live in the area, you'll definitely want to visit SAM to watch the anime in their theater. The anime showing runs from Dec. 1 to Feb. 21.

(Aoyagi store front close-up.)

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