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Glasslip - reality

Glasslip is an animé. In common with more and more slice-of-life stories, it is set in an actual place (more or less). Thanks to the marvels of Google's street view, once I had seen enough mentions of "Hinode-hama" and "Fukui" to twig that these were places, I could set about looking for locations. Finding these places took a long time. It might have been quicker to fly to Japan, take a dozen trains to get to Mikuni, and walk around on foot. ☺ Please, at least look at all the photos, m'kay?

Glasslip itself is a strange series. A girl that can see snippets of the future. A newcomer who can hear the future likewise when he is near the girl. A bunch of friends in love with each other, but not in the pairings they would necessarily choose. Here's the series' wiki page. The story is bordering on being, well, boring. What does Tōko's ability to see the future when she looks at sparkly things have to do with... anything? They haven't exactly set up a "Tōko saves XXX" scenario in eleven episodes. About the only thing we stand to learn is "love is complicated", or something like that. The pace is really slow, but a lot faster in how we jump around from character to character. It's like somebody got their direction ideas from watching Twin Peaks.
The only reason I keep watching is for the sumptuous scenery. I've pretty much given up on anything amazing actually happening in this series. Girl has a mystical ability, but she's no mahō shōjo.
Actually, it seems as if most of the action takes place in Mikuni [wiki link], a sweet little coastal town. The girls take the train a lot, so I am guessing that the high school is perhaps in Awara?

All of the "real life" images are from screenshots from Google Streetview. The angles and perspectives don't quite match up as we are constrained by where the Googlemobile was when the closest matching image was taken. I have scaled and cropped to get them as close as possible, but short of actually walking around Minato with my camera (I'm open to offers...), this is the best I can do from the other side of the planet (!).
All of the animé images are captures from various episodes of Glasslip, by P.A.Works.


Wataglass Studio

One of the main locations in the series is the "Wataglass Studio". It is Tōko's home, and her little sister and parents live with her. Trust me when I say that I spent and eternity trying to find this place. Thankfully, because of the opening credits, I could narrow it down to "on a coastal road" which did help. You see in the animated version below, the little sister is just cycling off to school and big sis is walking - to get the train presumably. What they neglect to mention is that this place is an astonishing 18km (11 miles) from town!
Here is the animé:
Here is real life - it is called "Watariglass Studio" and there is no house attached to it but otherwise it is the same, even down to the crow logo.
Well, there is a minor change or two. While animation kept that spooky-scary electric pole at the end of the driveway, they moved everything closer to town. And added a house. Other than that, it's the same. ☺
Go see it for yourself, or visit their website (Japanese, obviously), or a tourism website (in Engrish).


Mikuni Museum

The big green dome building is a fairly prominent landmark, and high up as well (it, as a vantage point to see all around, is used in the series), so what was necessary was to look at the lay of the land to find where the highest places were, then go there and look around. And around. And around... And... found it!
And in real life:
You can go see it for yourself, or visit their website (Japanese, duh ☺).

Also, this lovely shot with a huge distortion of reality to make the important landmark look HUGE:

Here is the same angle in reality:
The animated distortion works as an "establishing shot" but it doesn't do to look at it closely or you'd think the alien mothership had just landed.


Mikuniminato Station

Minato means port, so this is the port of Mikuni. The station is another important location, so important it even has a wiki page (!), and here it is, both in animé:
and reality (shame about the cars):
Go see it for yourself.

Just a little distance to the east of the station is a building with a great big crab stuck to it. So I'm guessing either they sell crab, or Google has caught the beginnings of the invasion of mutant giant (pre-cooked (it is red!)) crab monsters. Pick whichever option pleases you most.


That bridge - below

If you try really hard, you might find that important bridge in the area around the railway station. No pictures, because it isn't a road so Google hasn't been there. That said, don't you think it would be kind of awesome if Google hooked one of their cameras to the front of a train? Trains go through entirely different scenery to roads.
Alas, it's the Echizen Railway on the Mikuni-Awara line.


That bridge - topside

That bridge...probably has a name but I don't know features quite a lot in the series. It is here. Two photo choices:


Other random locations

The restaurant (I think that's what it is) is here.

The river bridge (here).

The park (zoom shot from other side of river as there is no road closer).


I have not found Sacchan's home, nor ... girl with the yellow ribbon (what's her name again?)'s home, the school, the swimming pool overlooking the road, nor the coffee house (Kazemichi, was it? though it probably has a different name in reality).


It would be fairly easy to do "scenery porn" from the animé, here are a few random shots:

While there are some yucky parts of town (and I seem to have a propensity for finding graveyards!), it ain't Bracknell. Here are some of the things I wandered across:

First up, check out this house. I wonder if it is as interesting inside as it is on the outside? Oh, and that tiny little road is something you have to get used to in this place. A lot of roads are like that, and the Googlemobile does go up it. [map link]

Looking along the waterfront. The wall, although you can't quite see it, is painted light blue and has designs of crabs and fishes at intervals. It is little touches like that which can turn an otherwise ordinary place into something special. [map link]

Did someone's house use to be here? It isn't an interesting picture, but what a view they must have had! You can imagine it better if you follow the map link and it'll become clearer to see that down behind the plot you can look out across the port. Your neighbours just down the road, beyond the house that you can see, are lots of corpses. Remember I said I seemed to keep finding graveyards? [map link]

A tree lined road. I was looking for that big tower the appears behind the restaurant and somehow I ended up here instead. [map link]

There is plenty more. The final photo of Japan is up in Mikunicho Shinshuku (1-chome). It probably helps that it was a bright sunny day when these pictures were taken, though it is a little odd that there don't seem to be many people around.


Finally, for those wondering why I am able to get excited about an otherwise unheard of fishing village on the other side of the planet..... I used to live in a place like this:

That is Aldershot, UK. Queen's Road, specifically. But the town more or less looks like that from any angle.

Now I live in a place that looks like this:

This is just south of Mésanger, France. It is not exactly where I live, but it is pretty representative. Everything around here looks like that, punctuated by the occasional town.

I used to like this place when I was a child. We'd go to Cornwall for holidays, but I gather it has changed quite a lot since the '80s. Look at those three guys in the foreground. Beer O'Clock, right? Jeez... Shouldn't they be in Newquay?

Padstow, UK.



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Gavin Wraith, 27th September 2014, 21:26
I confess. Sometimes I use Google Earth to retrace the steps of walks taken in childhood, or to revisit places that were once magical to me. It always ends in nausea. 
It is not that usually the place has changed out of recognition. It might be caused by the incessant flashing in street view mode as my ancient little notebook struggles to download data over the slow broadband line to our village. But the real truth is that those empty landscapes and starry backdrops occasionally, almost guiltily revealed, induce in me a kind of panic. It is like opening your eyes under water and not knowing which direction is up. It is the suggestion that the world around us is only stage scenery, and behind it is the void. From Heraclitus on, we are told over and over that when we leave home in the morning our feet will never cross that threshold again. Not even Google Earth can bring us back again.

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