The last night in Kawagoe
The last night in Kawagoe was really fun. Alessio and I checked out a coffee shop north of town at the recommendation of Taiki. Apparently the voice actor of Akane from Tsuki ga Kirei (called koko-chan) goes there a couple of times a month, so loads of fans visit the coffee shop because of her. It was at midday but opened later in the afternoon until late for the bar, so we headed there after dinner.
The barista was really nice. He chatted a bit with me and Alessio, and told him I was a fan of Tsuki ga Kirei. To be honest I’m not really a fan of the voice actor, I didn’t even know who she was until I looked her up that day. I just watch the shows and leave it at that. The barista asked us if we were fans of another show koko-chan features in called “Precure”, something aimed at kids and is some magical girl type thing. Surprisingly, Alessio was a fan. The barista told us he’d take us upstairs to show us something after we’d finished writing messages in a book.
The book was filled with messages to koko-chan. Every time she comes to the shop she writes a message too, and reads them. After looking her up I didn’t realise but she features in a lot of my other favourite Animes, like Asobi Asobase as Kasumi, Kaguya-Sama as Chika, Takagi-San as Mina, and Machikado Mazoku as Yuuko. Talking of which, there was a very biker-looking dude in the coffee shop with us with a leather jacket. When he overheard us talking about koko-chan he asked me if I’d seen Machikado Mazoku. It was pretty surprising to me since a Magical Girl, Cute-Girls-Doing-Cute-Things Anime was the last thing I expected a hardy looking biker to be into. But hey, this is Japan.
We went upstairs and were blown away. Amongst the very expensive looking Japanese pottery and Art, he had a big projector set up in the middle room. He went to the side of the room and fiddled with something, and something began to play on the big screen. It was a live recording of a Precure concert, with the voice actors performing the songs from the show. The barista disappeared again and brought back the glow sticks from the event. He went last year because he got a ticket for free from a customer at his coffee shop. Apparently the tickets cost a few hundred pounds, and the glow sticks being limited edition and all that are worth quite a bit too. He left us upstairs and Alessio and me enjoyed ourselves a bit before heading back down to the bar.
We headed back downstairs and had a couple drinks and a bite to eat. The barista served up some really good Takoyaki. Taiki also joined us at the bar later on. It was a really nice atmosphere, and the people there were really friendly. We ended up leaving at around 1am.
Commuting to Chichibu
That morning we woke up a bit late at 11. Alessio and I said our goodbyes to the staff at Chabudai. I’ll definitely return in the future. Taiki said maybe he’d visit me in Minobu with his friend who’s super into Yuru Camp, which would be cool. The temperature decided to take a plunge that day and it shot down to 3 degrees. It was snowing, pretty heavy too. Not cold enough to stick but it was still pretty freezing.
We sprinted to the train station to catch our train to Hanno, where we’d change trains to go onwards to Chichibu. We also picked up some pastries at a cream puff place at the station and munched them during our journey.
The train through the mountains was scenic to say the least.
We arrived at Chichibu station after about an hour, and it was still pretty cold. It had stopped snowing though. We headed to our Airbnb place, which is basically a small apartment. There’s a nice bedroom with futons, a proper Japanese bath that speaks to you when you turn it on, and a kotasu (a sort of heated coffee table with a blanket around it). It was surprisingly cheap to. No wifi though, so I’m typing this up in a coffee shop down the road.
After checking in we went for a wonder around town and walked to the top of a hill nearby.
I bought a hat and gloves at the nearest Family Mart, and we ate some pretty good pizza at an Italian restaurant in town for dinner.
It’s probably worth mentioning that the Anime Anohana is set here. It’s pretty well known, and there are lots of posters, cutouts and signs around town related to it. But it originally aired in 2011, and the posters and cutouts are showing their age. Plus it’s been ages since I watched it, so I downloaded it at the coffee shop while I was typing this up for a rewatch.
Next I’m going to check out the flower fields, and then maybe head up the train line to Mt Hodo where you can take a cable car to the top. See you in the next post.