The closest thing I have to an idol is 小新 (Crayon Shinchan) (he was not a particularly great influence while I was a kid, but that’s another story for another day). Despite his fondness for sexual innuendos, he is to me a symbol of innocence. And of course, he delivers pure joy.
So during my 72 hours solo time in Tokyo, I decided that a pilgrimage must be done – to the hometown of Crayon Shizchan’s author – Takesato in Kasukabe City.
It was a 40 minutes ride from Asakusa to Takesato. There are no attractions there. Just get down and feel the 小新 vibes.
I always remember the canals in the episodes. Particularly in one ultra touching episode where 小新 runs away from home and the canal served as the background for the mother-son reunification!!!
Interestingly, Takesato is a public housing estate, something not that common in Japan.
On the other side I found more houses that resembled 小新’s neighbourhood.
Bonus: Sakura blossoms!!!
This house, I decided was that of 小新’s gossipy neighbour HAHA.
There are two kindergartens in Takesato – Futuba and Takesato, the former of which is similar in name to the one in the series as its kanji is basically “双叶” .
This is Futuba! Just loved the 大象 slide (only 小新 fans will get this).
Then I went to the park! And this is exactly like I remembered it – small playground with the slide leading to a sandpit, where 小新 and his gang would play.
The town is super duper quiet. But as you can see, I found kids in the park! Which means I was determined to find my 小新 and gang.
Which I did! Exactly 4 boys and 1 girl. Okay another girl joined them later and I just pretended she is the rich girl who has a crush on 小新.
Even the cars! The dark blue one is like THE car.
Unexpected find: The hospital which I kind of remember from the episode where 小新 was born (with already thick eyebrows).
Found the other kindergarten, which had an extremely beautiful sakura tree beside as well.
Not exactly like the Cat School Bus, but this is like super A+ for effort LOL.
Literally stood there like a stalker putting my phone’s lens through the grills.
The squarish exercise thing is where 小新 is always at!
To be honest, Takesato is probably quite a typical Japanese suburb. But never mind that because it’s just different when it is literally where the author of 蜡笔小新 grew up in.
My memories of the specific places are also hazy, so although I go like “OMG this is that place” it may be more like psychology. And that’s okay too. For that brief 1+ hour walking around aimlessly, I could go to another world, a simpler one back in time.
And I would imagine that the place has probably changed from the time the author was growing up. The kids are (obviously) not 小新 and gang, but that’s how it is. Places hold memories but they also exist over time. Kids grow up. New kids are born. Some things change, like buildings in the estate. Some things don’t, like kids having fun at the playground.