My friend Ben Applegate is working for Digital Manga, a Japanese comics publisher that owns a tour outfit called Pop Japan Travel. They do tours of Japan for fans of anime, manga and other weird and obscure subcultures. It all sounds pretty cool to me – I wish I had the time to go on one of these tours myself. The least I can do is give him a plug (and maybe they’ll give me a press discount – hint, hint).
“We’re doing a tour in January and February of Tokyo and the Sapporo Snow Festival and we’ve added some extremely cool stuff to it: a sponsorship by Japanese anime mag publisher Gakken, a visit to Studio Pierrot (which animates Naruto, Bleach, pretty much every third action anime ever seen on Toonami), and a meeting with Hideyuki Kikuchi, a great Japanese horror writer whose best-known works are Wicked City and Vampire Hunter D.”
Tickets for this tour, known as the Cold Steel Tour, are on sale only until Dec. 15. The group departs Monday, January 28 and returns Wednesday, February 6. Other activities on the itinerary include a trip to the Ghibli Museum, a ride on a water ferry designed by Leiji Matsumoto (Space Battleship Yamato), and tours of traditional Japanese sights and modern Tokyo. The tour costs $2,500 plus a $200 fuel surcharge, and it includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Tokyo, full hotel accommodations, bilingual guides every step of the way, all transportation and entry fees, and a customized guide book with maps, culture notes and a language primer designed for anime fans.
For complete itineraries and reservations, see www.popjapantravel.com!