Wanna see the trip here and the K-On! museum inside the gift shop? Read my previous post.
tl;dr? Check out my video tour here.
I was finished basking in the glory of the K-On! shrine and had purchased some souvenirs, so I was more than ready to go take a close look at the school itself. Outside the school I was surrounded by countless scenes from the anime.
|The statue as shown in the anime.|
The lawn on which they can be seen jumping around in the opening scenes and promoting their club for potential new members.
The corridors where they walk to and from ceremonies in the auditorium, as well as where they sit and ponder a parting gift for Azusa.
I'm pretty sure this fountain was in the anime, but I don't remember any specific scenes.
The statue that was always being decorated/vandalized, especially during the second season, was just to the right of the entrance.
I don't remember seeing shoe lockers in K-On!, but this school doesn't have them in the traditional sense. There were old lockers, but only about 30 of them.
I left my shoes in the genkan and grabbed a pair of the kushy but relatively uncomfortable slippers from a giant box.
Inside The School
I was tempted to head straight up the stairs of the three-story building, right to the "music storage room" from the anime, but I instead opted to save that for later.
|Impressive attention to detail.|
There seemed to be something going on in one of the rooms on the first floor, so I took the path of least resistance and made my way up to the second floor. The iconic tortoise and hare spotted the inside banister, just like in the anime.
This was, without a doubt, the same hallway I had seen the light music club enjoying their high school lives. Around every corner, I felt a sense of déjà vu as all of the backgrounds from the anime appeared. I never really felt like I was exploring a new place. It was all very familiar to me.
There was one classroom with desks setup, although it wasn't anything like the anime. Not only were the desks quite different, but the rooms in the anime appeared much bigger. It is only an elementary school in real life, after all.
Outside the window and across the open dirt ground was the newer school building, which is much bigger and not nearly as cool as the one I was looking at it from. I also took a picture from the stereotypical anime protagonist's seat, all the way in the back, by the window.
Near the ends of the building, there were stairways much like the one in the middle.
Most of the doors had these yellow lines indicating the door's opening path. Some of them were misaligned for some reason.
I felt giddy with anticipation as I climbed the middle staircase to the small third floor. This is where I could find the club room, where Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Mugi, and Azusa enjoyed most of their time sipping tea when they were supposed to be practicing.
The Club Room
That feeling hit me again. It definitely wasn't a disappointing feeling, but it wasn't a surprising feeling either. I was setting foot into a room I had only been able to see through a window before.
The room was significantly larger than its anime counterpart, but everything was there, and then some.
The whiteboard was there, absolutely covered in messages and art from fans who had come before me. They hadn't messed with the message on the center of the board, 目指せ！ 武道館.
These trinkets were all over the place. Everything from the fan that broke and nearly took off somebody's head to the pump organ played by Ui in the later episodes.
In the closet, there was a rack full of cosplay outfits, because their crazy teacher was always trying to get them to wear stuff. There were several tea sets, and framed puzzles. It was amazing to think that most, if not all of this stuff was donated by loyal fans.
The closet was also a passage to the nearby performance room, where the girls held a special meeting for the Mio fan club.
There was another whiteboard in this room, empty except for a small "please don't write on this board."
|The club members went out here in the movie.|
|The cassette recorder.|
I decided to take a picture of myself sitting in one of the desks, with the obligatory peace sign, because it's obligatory.
A glance out the window brought a nice view of the fountain and courtyard I saw when I first arrived.
Much like the time I want to see the real market from Tamako Market, there were several notebooks filled with messages and illustrations from visitors.
I left my mark, too.
There was... something that they were handing out via these folders. Unfortunately, they were all empty. Maybe next time.
|Looks like they were empty for this guy, too.|
|More art, above the handout folders.|
|The wall where they fall asleep|
at the end of the fantastic episode 20.
Upon further inspection, I noticed that there were more hidden gems within the desks.
In Mio's desk, there was a scary face with a piece of tape attached that said "pull." This was a reference to when Ritsu tried to scare her. In Ritsu's desk, there was an unwritten form for requesting time on the stage in the auditorium. Ritsu was the club leader, but was always shirking responsibilities.
I also found Azusa's special tea cup among all the toy food and other cups.
There was even a little "aquarium" for Ton-chan, the club's turtle that they bought for Azusa in the second season.
I took a few last pictures, and even a video (which you can watch here,) then I said goodbye to the clubroom. Until we meet again...
|Sheet music for Fuwa Fuwa Time.|
|They used these cups to let Ton-chan decide where they|
would go for their club vacation in the movie.
And we will meet again. If anybody wants to buy me another plane ticket to go back, I'm all ears.
There was only one part of the school left to explore: the auditorium.
It was an awesome sight, but also a short-lived one. It was just a bunch of seats and a stage, after all.
I put my shoes back on, and headed outside.
|Some tertiary K-On character.|
I guess the tortoise and the hare is a theme in Toyosato, as I saw a couple references outside of the school as well.
The Journey to Tokyo
As I waited for the train, I noticed yet more illustrations across the tracks.
It wasn't long before the train showed up. I spent the time on the train checking out the stuff I bought at the gift shop. I bought a T-Shirt, a small towel, and a keyring, all with my favorite character, Ritsu's visage on them.
When the train arrived back in Maibara, I had some time to kill, so I decided to take my first trip to a Japanese McDonald's.
I bought the Ebi Filet-O (shrimp burger), because I had wanted to try it ever since I first heard of it on the internet years before.
It was pretty damn good.
|They had Pokemon Happy Meal toys.|
I didn't have to wait to long for the Shinkansen to show up. At least, I didn't have to wait nearly as long as last time.
This trip was a little longer than the first leg, so I tried to sleep a little. I managed to snap a picture of Mt. Fuji, although it was shrouded in clouds. This is apparently very common for Mt. Fuji, and I was lucky to have even seen that much.
I watched the scenery roll by for a few hours. It was dark when I finally got to Tokyo.
It wasn't too hard to find the hostel I was staying at, the Khaosan Tokyo Ninja, because I had already scouted it out with Google Maps street view. It was, however, hard not to exit Akihabara station, which was one of a couple stops on trains when I got there. That was an experience for tomorrow.
After lugging my stuff up 5 flights of stairs, I arrived at my new room. That is the whole room.
Somewhere in between a capsule hotel and a normal hostel, the room was basically a big bunk bed that I could lock. There was an outlet, a light, and a "window" inside. Bathrooms and showers were shared with other guests. Luckily, I had a lower bed, so I didn't have to put much effort forth before I crashed for the night.
You'd think that after all of that running around, it would have been easy to fall asleep. Thinking about the fun that awaited me Saturday, however, kept me up for at least an hour.