Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chofu Kitaro walk

I've written about Shigeru Mizuki (Gegege no Kitaro) before, and the fact that the merchants in nearby Chofu had paid for some statues of the Kitaro characters to be placed along the streets in the area partly because Shigeru has his studio there. The recent airing of the NHK TV drama "Gegege no Nyobo" (wife of Gegege), based on the book written by his wife, helped increase the number of tourists to Chofu as well.

Last week, I was in Chofu to do some shopping at the big Parco department store there, and I took the opportunity to check out a flier I'd received from a table in the station. It mentioned a different "Kitaro walk" along the big main street running along the north side of the tracks in front of the Parco. From the station, exit on the Parco side. Go past the traffic circle and turn right at the first light.

First, I noticed some sign boards out in front of several different stores, all holding panels of Shigeru's art. Some had red Daruma pictures on them. At one point, I discovered one sign board that also had some handouts hanging from a string. According to the handout, there are 3 different sets of panels - 1 set of Kitaro stories, a Daruma monster set, and one set showing Shigeru reviewing what life was like in Chofu back when he moved here when it was still a farming community.

4 blocks down the street from the Parco is a Shigeru goods shop. The staff there were really friendly and let me take pictures. The shop includes snacks, t-shirts, toys, and photos of Shigeru at work in his studio. There's a small scale model of Chofu designed to match the artwork series out on the street, and benches to sit on and relax from all the walking. In the corner is a section dedicated to the local professional soccer team, which Shigeru supports.

The handout states that there are a lot of artwork panels scattered around Chofu, and you're challenged to try to find them all, even though the shop keepers won't tell you how many there are.

(Notice the handouts in the lower right corner.)

Entrance to the gift shop.

The sign says "Nukumori Station" (Warmth Station").

Old Chofu.

J League corner.

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