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TezukaOsamu.net/en > NEWS > Mite-Mite > Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2)

Mite-Mite

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2)

(2009/09/11)

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2)

To the delicious Soba restaurant Mr. Tezuka had a lunch!

Last time, we started from Hanno station, walking to the statue of Astro boy located at the Central Park in Hanno-city, guided by Mr. Isao Noguchi who strived hard to establish the statue.

It was early afternoon. I and Mr. Noguchi decided to have lunch.

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo01)

Today’s guide, Mr. Noguchi was the man who worked hard to establish the statue of Astro boy 26 years ago.

 

Mr. Noguchi took me to a hand-made soba restaurant called Kunugian located on Irima river. This is the place Mr. Noguchi took Mr. Tezuka for lunch after the unveiling ceremony for the statue of Astro boy in 1983.

“At first, Mr. Tezuka was planning to leave without having lunch due to his busy schedule.But after the ceremony, there happened to be about an hour till the train he planned to take arrived. That’s why I decide to bring him to the restaurant.”

To Kunugaian from the statue of Astro boy, you first walk down the slope and go straight to the bank, where there is a small bridge called Nagare bridge.Kunugian is located just on the other side of the bridge.

It was OK to drive into the bank in 1983: therefore, customers could park the car on the bank to visit Kunugian.But now, it is not allowed to do so.If you would like to get Kunugian by car, then you should take a route from IwaneBridge and park the car in the space in foreground of Kunugaian, which is exclusive to Kunugian’s customers.

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo02)

The bank is a good place to play with water in summer.The bridge at the back is the NagareBridge.

By the way, Nagare bashi is a bridge whose beam is not fixed on the bridge pier.When the river is swollen due to typhoon or heavy rain, the bridge beam is washed away.But the beam, which actually is enchained with the pier, can be picked up and put on the pier again after the water recedes.Thus, Nagare bashi is prevented from being destroyed by driftwood.

What a shame! No time to be autographed!

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo03)

Kunugian is located in a quiet place surrounded by tree near limpid stream.
Business Hours: 11:00 -18:00 Closed on Wednesday
Contact: 042-973-2576

At Kunugian, we were seated at the window table, which Mr. Tezuka was seated then too.It was just beside the window from which we could see the limpid stream below.Then we ordered “Tenseiro Soba”, the same dish Mr. Tezuka ate then.Kunugian’s hand-made soba noodle had refreshing aroma and texture. Yes, it was very deliciout.According to the owner, it was recommended having it in a cold dish to fully enjoy its texture.

For desert, Mr. Tezuka had Soba Cake then. But we ordered Mitarashi Dango (Soba balls tasted with soy-sauce flavor), which was another specialty of Kunugian, instead.We enjoyed the Dango very much. It was sweet but salty, and again very delicious.

After enjoying lunch, we interviewed Mr. Hideo Ogawara, the owner of Kunugian, about his memory of Mr. Tezuka.

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo04)

This was the table Mr. Tezuka was seated then.

He said, “Unfortunately, I don’t have much memory.Mr. Tezuka suddenly appeared and left busily (laugh). Mr. Tezuka said he would autograph on Shikishi card, if any.We didn’t have any then, so one of our young staff ran out for the card.But he could not come back by the time Mr. Tezuka left. Anyway, I believe Mr. Tezuka must have enjoyed our special Soba.”

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo05)Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo06)

Left: Tenseiro Soba, which Mr. Tezuka had then (1,350 yen)
Right: Mitarashi Dango (300 yen) and Soba Cake, which Mr. Tezuka had, (400 yen)

The true reason for the establishment of the statue of Astro boy

After leaving the restaurant, Mr. Noguchi took me to another place associated with the statue of Astro boy. That was Hanno-city Kodomo Library which looked like a log house.Mr. Noguchi said “This place actually is the out set of the establishment of the statue of Astro boy”.

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo07)

Mr Tezuka’s house and office might have been built in the place above.Now Kodomo Library is located here instead.

Mr. Noguchi said, “One day in 1980, which was about three years ago of the establishment of the statue, Mr. Tezuka called me about the land for his house. He was looking for about 300 square meters land to build both his house and office.Mr. Tezuka asked me whether there is any good place in Hanno, and I said I would search it for him”.

“I was exited very much.I just imagined what I would like to do if Mr. Tezuka lived in Hanno. How about making Hanno the town of Manga? How about establishing the statue of Astro boy? I was developing expectation like that.And this was the place I finally found the place about a month later I received the call from Mr. Tezuka. At that time, the place was used for a parking lot for the inn”.

“After then I visited Mr. Tezuka at his office to show the site photograh.But Mr. Tezuka said apologetically, ‘I am very sorry but I have already found the place’.At first, Mr. Tezuka planed to build both his house and office in one place, but finally decided to have his house in Higashi-Kurume and his office in Niza, reflecting both his family and staff’s opinions. I was very disappointed because my imanagion got all fired up alone by then.I thought we’d like to have the statue of Astro boy in Hanno at least.Therefore, I proposed the plan to Hanno Junior Chamber”.

I imagined if there were Mr. Tezuka’s house and office here, looking at the library in the trees.I know there is no “if” in the history.But if Mr. Tezuka had lived and worked here, the place filled with rich nature, he might have created different kinds of works in some ways.I wonder how the readers would feel if they visit this place.

The picture of Astro boy made with old tickets.

After saying good bye to Mr. Noguchi, I returned to Hanno station.Then I took the bus from the south exit to SurugadaiUniversity, because I heard there was another Astro boy at the university.

He said, “Unfortunately, I don’t have much memory.Mr. Tezuka suddenly appeared and left busily (laugh). Mr. Tezuka said he would autograph on Shikishi card, if any.We didn’t have any then, so one of our young staff ran out for the card.But he could not come back by the time Mr. Tezuka left. Anyway, I believe Mr. Tezuka must have enjoyed our special Soba.”

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo08)Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo09)

Left: The statue called Muma at the south exit of Hanno station, which is recognized as the biggest rocking horse in the world by Guinness World Record.
Right: I took the school bus to SurugadaiUniversity from Hanno station.

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo10)

Mr. Koji Amano specialized in tourism geographies

Mr. Koji Amano, Associate Professor of Faculty of Contemporary Culture of Surugadai University showed me a panel. It was a big pointillistic picture-like panel (1.8 meter in height x 1.4 meter in width) with Astro boy, Uran and Dr. Ochanomizu.Mr. Amano explained me, “This is not a picture, but the art called “Kippu de Art (ticket art), made with more than 55,000 used tickets”.

Closely watching it, I noticed the picture was certainly made up with the tickets, utilizing their both pink adverse side and back magnetic side.Not only the characters themselves but also tone or shade of the picture were well portrayed with the delicate contrast.

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo11)Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo12)

Left: Approximately 55,000 used tickets were used for the panel
Right: Mr. Amano stood besides the panel to show how big the panel was.

 

I asked Mr. Amano about how the panel became to be made.He said, “This panel was produced by local elementary school students in October, 2008 as part of the social contribution activities called “Anime no Furusato Project” organized by Association of Japanese Animations and Seibu Railway.The purpose of this project is to make children experience eco activities through recycling. The original drawing was prepared by Tezuka Productions. And my students, staff of the project team, and I participated in the production to help children.

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo13)

The picture was portrayed just with layered tickets.None is cut or divided into pieces.

 

The completed panel was opened to public at the event held in Hanno Kawara on October 25.Then the panel was displayed at Hanno station and HannoCity Hall respectively, and now the picture is located on the campus of SurugadaiUniversity.So the panel is not opened to public at this moment.I asked the person in charge of the project at Seibu Railway if there was any plan to display the panel in future.

He said, “There is no practical plan at this moment, but we would like to make a chance to show the panel to people proactively.”We sure have to check the events in Hanno!

 

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo14)Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo15)

The 100th episodes titled “Medaru no Nazo” in Three Eyed One (Shukan Shonen Magazine, July, 1978 issue)
This is the only work in which Mr. Tezuka mentioned the name of Hanno.Mr Noguch taught it to me as extra information.
Unfortunately the episode above is not compiled in Tezuka Osamu Complete Works (Kodansha), but in the last volume “Smash de Sayonara” of Three Eyed One, Convenience Store edition (Kodansha).

 

Again, it has been 26 years since the unveiling ceremony of the statue of Astro boy in Hanno, and people in Hanno welcomed me warmly.Now see you at the next Mushi Walk!

 

Mushi Walk 6: the area around the statue of Astro boy in Hanno-city, Saitama (No. 2) (photo16)

To enlarge, click on the image.

 

(This time it took 3 hours and 45 min, 1637 steps)

Cooperation: Noguchi Seed and Plant Supplier, Kunugian, Seibu Railway, SurugadaiUniversity and Hanno city (INPO)




Kurosawa Tetsuya

Born in 1957 in Tokyo. Freelance writer and manga story writer. The first Tezuka manga he encountered was Astro Boy and since then, for over 40 years, he has collected manga works of the Showa period and toys sold at mom-and-pop candy stores. He has written many Showa-retro related books and articles. Tezuka Osamu Fan Club membership number 364 (inaugural class).





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