The check-in time came and we went to the hotel.
We were staying at the Kitanosaka Hotel. I arranged for the hotel because it’s not very expensive. The room rate including breakfast was only 6300 yen. I thought that it would be enough for us just to have a place to sleep and I didn’t expect much, but Kitanosaka Hotel was clean and comfortable. Beside that, the bed in the room was a double bed although I reserved two single rooms. I was lucky.
After we checked in, we continued sightseeing and went to the Kitano area. Kitano is a famous tourist site in Kobe. There are many Western style residencies built for Westerners in Japan in the Meiji period in this area. You can enjoy a beautiful cityscape there.
However, for otakus like us, there was another enjoyment.
In “Rhine-no-Yakata” Haide-san said;
“Wonderfull! This is just as if we were in Joster’s mansion!”
(Jonathan Joester is the protagonist of Jojo part 1. His father, George Joestar is a British Nobe. The part 1 story is set in Victorian England.
Strictly speaking, “Rhine-no-Yakata” was built in 1916, a little bit after the Victorian period. The owner of the house was also from France. However, who minds such a slight difference?)
Kitano: “Look! You can take a picture sitting on the sofa. Let’s try to sit there like Dio-sama.”
Haide-san: “Like this? (with an air of great importance)”
Kitano: “Good! Stay there a second, I will take a picture.”
Looking at the beautiful silk flowers, Haide-san said.
“Hey, I want to see Jotaro holding this bouquet.”
“Good idea but the one I’d like to see is Josuke.”
Our opinion was in harmony that beautiful flowers fit Josuke and Jotaro .
Josuke is the protagonist of Jojo part4. Both Jotaro and Josuke are macho men like this. Ordinary people couldn’t understand our thought that flowers fit such big macho men.
We are not only otaku but also “fu”(腐) The direct translation of this word is “rotten,” but I think that the more suitable translation is “filthy.” I won’t explain about this word here because it will be very long. I only say that we are members of the otaku family, fu genus “Deka-Macho-uke” species.
We were overjoyed when we found the bathroom.
“You definitely have to take photo!”
Then we visited some other famous tourist spots, like Kazamidori-no-yakata, and Moegi-no-yakata and thenwe noticed that it was nearly dark.
Leaving Kitano street, we went to china-town.
I am usually lead around Kobe by my friend who lives there, bur this time I guided Haide-san as though I was full-fledged Kobe expert. The first sight seeing spot was “Kitano-Kobo-no-Machi.”
“Kitano-Kobo-no-Machi”is an old beautiful building that was originally an elementary school. There are many cool and stylish shops there now. It was the second time for me to visit there and I found a newly opened Japanese sake shop. Kobe is a famous brewery region. The shop was selling many kinds of sake from various breweries in Kobe and it seemed that we could sample them. However, between other stylish shops for young women, the sake shop was deserted. We entered the shop. I’m a sake fan, especially Kobe sake. I intended to buy something if I could find a good one. The shop clerk was a young woman. I asked her if I could sample them. She said, “Yes. What kind of sake would you like?” “Lets see… I prefer sweet sake.” (In my opinion, Kobe’s sake is sweet comparing to other area.) “There is no sweet sake here. (coldly)All of them are dry.” “…..! (at a loss for word”)
(eye contact conversation between Haide-san and me) Haide-sann “What is she saying? That’s her personal thought but, she should suggest something for her customer without saying such a thing, shouldn’t she?” Kitano “Wait, she probably think that we are just window shoppers. I will try to show her that I’m a big fan of Kobe sake.” So I said; “Oh! This is a sake from Izumi-Shuzo brewery. I’d like to try it.” She reluctantly let me sample it. While sampling, I said to her; “If I remember right, the brewer master of Izumi-Shuzo is former brewer master of Takinokoi which was closed last year.” I thought that I give her a topic that she could use to start a sales pitch, but she never reacted. There was nothing else for us to do but to leave. After leaving the shop, we told each other; “I’ve never meet such a clerk!” “Exactly! Wasn’t she taught that she should make an effort to sell something even to window shoppers?” We were perfectly surprised rather than angry at her attitude, and worried what would happen to her. Next we went to a chocolate shop. There was a very cheerful clerk and he invited us to sample many kinds of chocolate. Haide san bought some of them although I didn’t buy any since I don’t much like sweets.
Then we visited some nearby sight seeing spots.
Muslim mosque Toutenkaku
On the first day, we met at Sannomiya station in Kobe. My otaku friend, Ms. Haide lives in Hakata. I’m from Yokohama. Kobe is about at the intermediate point. It was a little after noon, and we went to lunch first.
While eating, we had lively conversation about Jojo.
Kitano: “I like Jotaro very much, but he isn’t good as a father, is he? I wouldn’t want to have such a father.” Haide-san “I entirely agree. I feel so sorry for Jolyne.” (Jotaro is the protagonist of Jojo part 3. Jolyne is Jotaro’s daughter and the protagonist of Jojo part 6.) Kitano: “However, Jolyne is the one of Jojos protagonist. She is tough enough and can stand up to her father. The one whom I feel sorry for is Anasui.” Haide-san: “Of course, he is the most pitiful man in the entire story. Although he looked cool and dangerous at first, he became such crown role at last. (Anasui is a male character in Jojo part 6. He fell in love with Jolyne and cooperated with her in battle. However, Jolyne never knew his real feelings and also Jotaro gave him the cold shoulder when he asked for permission to marry her.) Kitano: “I think that Araki sensei probably intended to make him a cool and dangerous character at first, but he noticed that that character would be more useful as a crown roll. Because if Anasui wanted to marry to Jolyne, he must say `Please give me your daughter!` to..” Haide-san: “…to Jotaro, who is the strongest father in the world. Indeed! ”
We finished lunch like this and left the restaurant. Then we went sightseeing around Kobe.
I traveled to Kobe at the end of last November. I have been to Kobe several times because my home is in Mie prefecture near by. Also my friend lives in Kobe so I often visit her there. This time was little bit different. I traveled with my otaku friend who lives in Kyushu. We had two goals on our trip. One was to visit a Jojo themed bar in Kobe. The other was to attend a Jojo fan event in Osaka. My otaku friend is also a Jojo fan and we had promised that we would visit Kobe someday. Also I heard that a Jojo event would be held in Osaka during our Kobe trip, so we took decisive action and planned our trip accordingly. (It was a very short trip. We had only two days because we drew up the schedule according to the event date. At first I planned to take a trip another day when we could take three consecutive holidays. When I heard about the event, I asked her what kind of itenerary she prefers. This was the first time for her to travel to Kobe. I wondered if she would want to have more time for sight seeing than for fan event. She answered; “Hey! Both you and I are otaku. So you must already know the answer. What would an otaku choose between a fan event and a sight seeing? It’s a silly question!) This was a trip of Jojo otaku, by Jojo otaku, for Jojo otaku. We titled our trip “Two days in Kobe and Osaka; We reject our humanity Jojo!” tour. (This phrase is from “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.” They are the words of Dio, the last enemy. He cried this out and became a vampire.)
At this point, I have an announcement to make. During this trip all of our conversations could only be understood by Jojo fans. Lots of these Jojo fan phrases will appear in this diary. I will annotate as best I can but you still probably won’t understand.
(This picture and translation is from this website http://www.mangareader.net/ A lot of manga translated in English are uploaded on this website.) By the way, I wonder if it’s also OK to translate this phrase of Dio to “I quite being a human.” I don’t have enough skill in English translation to criticize someone else’s translation, but as a Jojo fan, I felt that the above translation is too perfect and too correct. One of the attractive points of Jojo is the characteristic phrases. This phrase of Dio is such a phrase. In this scene, he says these words just like “I quit this job(or something).” Of course, it’s an unordinary way to use this phrase even in Japanese, but this “extraordinariness” is exactly characteristic of “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” and I prefer to keep the bizarreness of his wording even in the English translation. If this translation is OK, the title of our trip should be “Two days in Kobe and Osaka; We quit being human Jojo!” tour.
The poster for “The Hiraizumi Declaration on the Tohoku Restoration” became a popular point of mention on the internet. Hirohiko Araki drew the illustration for the poster.
Iwate Prefecture announced “The Hiraizumi Declaration on the Tohoku Restoration” on July 3rd. Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku (northeast) region of Japan, there was a large amount of damage from the March 11th Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Hiraizumi, a city in Iwate Prefecture, has had several cultural heritage sites inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in June. This declaration was announced to not only commemorate these sites, it was also to inspire a sence of resolve and revival from the disaster. Then, Iwate officials requested Hirohiko Araki to draw an illustration for the occasion.
I heard that the governor of Iwate is a big fan of Hirohiko Araki’s work, “Jojo’s Bizare Adventure” and he requested work from Araki. Although Araki is not from Iwate, he is from Miyagi prefecture, where they also suffered serious damage from the earthquake and tsunami.
It’s not the first time that Araki was commissioned by an unexpected party. In 2007, one of Araki’s illustration decorated the cover of an American science journal “Cell.” “Cell” is one of the most authoritative journals in the world on biology. It is said that “It is highly likely you will win the Noble prize if your thesis appears in this journal three times.” This journal is especially serious among science journals, and the cover is usually a microphotograph of a cell etc. It is a rare and unprecedented case that an illustration by a manga author appears on the cover of such a journal. Why did such a thing happen? There is an article about this incident on this fan site. http://kajipon.sakura.ne.jp/art/jojo-cell.html 「祝！米科学誌『Cell』表紙を荒木先生が飾る！」 （Congratulations! Mr. Araki graces the cover of the science journal “Cell” !)
In fact, the top thesis of this journal was written by a Japanese research team. And the team leader, Professor Sutou and the other members on the research team were big fans of Jojo. So they asked Araki to draw the cover.
According to Yahoo news, they discovered a certain protein cell that concerns nerve transfer. It is expected that this discovery will lead to the elucidation of the cure for a cranial nerve disease (It’s probably too difficult for me to explain and translate properly.) This protein cell was named “Scrapper.” Araki’s illustration character-izes this “Scrapper” and expresses the work of the cell.
I think that this news tells of the peculiarity of his work in “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure” and the fans of the manga. “Jojo’s…” was not always the No. 1 manga in the Weekly Shonen Jump. There were more popular manga like “Dragon Ball” or “One Piece” in the Weekly Shonen Jump and these manga has much bigger audience and their appeal spans all age groups. “Jojo’s…” is not a commonly likable manga compared to them. However, this manga has deep and dedicated fans. It’s the reason why the manga has been the second longest manga series in the Weekly Shonen Jump. Often people become fans of Jojo in their teens, and they remain fans of Jojo even when they became adult. Then, some of them commission Araki’s work for various situation. I wrote about how Araki participated in the “Bande Dessinee Project,” Musee du Louvre in France before. At that time, I heard that the reason why Araki invited to join project was because the curator of an art museum in Japan, who was a project adviser, was a Jojo fan. Of course, that shouldn’t be the only reason. He can always be relied on to produce high quality work, so they felt comfortable commissioning Araki for such an important project