Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kitaro in Chofu, Update

The Japan Times recently ran a small article on Chofu's support of the "Gegege no Kitaro" series, due to the attention garnered by Mizuki Shigeru's wife's morning NHK TV show ("Gegege no Nyoubo" = "Gegege's Wife"). I'd written about Chofu months ago, so it's nice to see JT finally catching up (unfortunately, the JT website was having problems so I linked to the story being mirrored on Japan Today).

(Ad for the TV program.)

The article mentioned the characters being displayed on minibuses, which I hadn't seen when I was last there, and I was looking for them, too, at the time. So, I went back. The weather's finally started getting nice again and I've been itching to get back on my bike for the exercise. Chofu is about a 25 minute ride away from me and is along my regular training route, making it a natural destination in its own right.

There's a reason why I hadn't seen the minibus artwork before - it's part of a new advertising campaign for the FC Tokyo soccer team and apparently just came out this season.

Along with neglecting to mention the soccer tie-in, the reporter left out some more key information; that is, the location of the Kitaro Chaya. It looks like they're talking about the goods shop at Jindaiji, a temple several miles away from Chofu. Anyone thinking they'll be able to stroll over to the chaya for tea after looking at the Kitaro statues is going to be sadly mistaken. And, naturally, if they're not talking about the Jindaiji "Kitaro Chaya", it would have been nice if they'd included a phone number or other contact information for it.

The text just above the license plate says "Chofu area minibus".

One thing that the article did get right, or maybe was the result of the article and therefore was a case of the reporter making the news instead of reporting it, was that there were a fair number of Japanese tourists out taking pictures of the Kitaro statues along the street. Kind of funny, watching 5 old men and women holding up their cell phones in front of Neko Musume. Then there was the guy with the $2000 digital SLR rig on a tripod taking multiple shots of Nezumi Otoko. So, the Chofu area is becoming a little more popular now. For the moment.

(The text here says "Kitaro also roots (for the team). Good luck, FC Tokyo!")

More promotion for the TV drama. The primary text says "Chofu has warmth". Then its just information for NHK's "Gegege no Nyoubo".


aw said...

I am curious about the minibuses with the display of the characters. I've been there twice - in 2007 and 2011 but have yet to see the bus. Are the minibuses still running? Hope you can reply me as soon as possible because I am trying to write something on that for an article.

TSOTE said...

Hi aw. Thanks for visiting.
Well, the mini-bus designs were tied in to the overall advertising promoting one of the pro soccer teams. I'm not in Tokyo anymore, so I can't visit Chofu right now to verify it. But I'm assuming that the buses don't currently have these characters on them.

aw said...

Yeah, I think so too. Thanks for the prompt response. Appreciated it.

aw said...

Oh, one more question. Are the statues still displayed on Tenjin Street?

TSOTE said...

Oh, yes, they're still there. Those are permanent.