What started out feeling like a dumb gag manga became a source of strength as our otaku reporter searched for a purpose in life.
Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa had dream to visit Lake Toya for nearly 20 years. Lake Toya is Japans northernmost lake without falling over and attracts visitors to Hokkaido Prefectures Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
But when Seiji first felt that he feared going to Japan Lake Toya, didnt know some of that, He didnt even know where in Japan Lake Toya was. Also why does he want to fly so badly?
Seiji was in Dec 2003 in third year as well as in college. Looks like strange, calm before-the-storm japan life crisis, bringing all sorts of challenges for workers. Seiji stumbled across a new manga anthology called Gintama, longing for the life of his self after catching a bus off to manga anthology Weekly Shonen Jump. It had a unique unique concept, mixing turbulent social and cultural changes of Japans end-of-the-fedal era with science fiction elements, but Seiji wasnt sure if it was going to last. The series mixed silly gags with skewed plot changes, and the main character wasnt a handsome hot-blooded hero but a disheveled, self-serving swordsman who carried a bokuto, or wooden katana, with Lake Toya on the handle.
Seijis started to learn more about the series, became more interested as they spread, and that went for the rest of Japan even though it seemed. Gintama would eventually become Weekly Shonen Jumps third-longest-running manga ever in a number of chapters. Thats because in no small part of protagonist Gintokis charisma and hidden depth of character. Sure, Gintoki never quite seemed to get ahead in life in terms of material wealth, social status or any of the other metrics people so often judge themselves and others by, but while he always stayed true to himself and lived his life freely.
These qualities Seiji grew afloat as he started his fourth year of university and remarked of his future. It was never hard for him to become a doctor, lawyer or banker. He wanted to be a musician, but knew making music could not make him any money.
Seiji decided to pursue a job during last year of school, spent a year working late-night shifts in a convenience store and continuing to read Gintama in Jump when they came in. Seiji moved to Tokyo, started looking for people to build a band with, process that didnt feel like a rut as soon as it finally started.
Seiji settles into happy life for himself though. Gintama has been both a comfort and an inspiration through everything and especially Gintokis ability to take both laid-back and purposeful attitudes as best fits the situation, and so Seiji has long wanted to go to the real-life Lake Toya and get a Gintama-style wooden katana of his own.
Towako Onsen, south lake town, has many souvenir shops selling bokuto, more resemblance for Gintama fans.
Seiji reveals that after seeing everything at the shop, decided to buy his bokuto in an online store called Echigoya, that even has a replica of Gintokis scooter out front for fans to see. The sword itself cost him 5,000 yen (US$38), adding 100 yen to have three kanji characters for Lake Toya engraved on the hilt.
Seijis sword ready after waiting 10 mins for engraving.
Seiji’s first rip out Gintama as he finds he has been struggling for years. Come see it and see it, Seijis life and challenges its going to throw at him, but they far from gone.
Hell find way to knock through whatever tough decisions as the going gets tough.
Address: Hokkaido, Abuta-gun, Toyako-cho, Toyako Onsen 71 Open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (weekdays except Thursday), 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (Thursday, Saturday, Sunday) Website
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