Fateful Anohana Pilgrimage Encounter Leads to Love & Marriage
posted on by Bamboo Dong
The anime anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is all about loss and love, reunions and forgiveness, so it's fitting that it would eventually bring two people together.
A little over two years ago, 22-year-old Takimi Obayashi (now 24) went to Chichibu, a city in Saitama Prefecture, on a "seichi junrei"—essentially a pilgrimage—to the location where anohana was set. While there, he got separated from his travel partner. Luckily, 25-year-old (now 27) Yumi Akaishi was there to help him find his way back to his friend. At the time, the two parted without exchanging any contact information, but a few months later, Obayashi was able to find her through a social networking site.
Fast forward two years, and the couple is now married. They tied the knot back in June, but just recently returned to Chichibu, to the site of their first meeting, for an official fan event. On August 24, in celebration of the new Anohana movie, which was released in theaters on August 31, the studio hosted an official event in Chichibu. The newlyweds, whose love story made its way through the anohana community, were greeted by cheers and congratulations from the other fans gathered there, as well as personal congratulations from the voice actors at the event.
Since the series' debut in 2011, thousands of fans, both male and female, have flocked to the city in groups to seek out the many locations that are replicated faithfully in anohana. This "anime tourism" has boosted the city's economy, and several key locations around town have since been decorated with characters from the series.
Source: The Saitama Shimbum