Reunion with friends from Gainax

A few days ago, I had a reunion with my old friends from Gainax. Saito-san informed me beforehand that the meeting place would be Sengyo-ya, an izakaya owned and managed by a fishmonger Uohatsu in Kichijoji.

I was excited about this choice, because I passed by Sengyo-ya, everytime when I went to a theater performance held in a tent in Inokashira Park - an example of Kara-gumi - just behind Ghibli Museum. I was curious about Sengyo-ya, because a large opened and dried fish hung in front the entrance - see the picture down left. But, I did not have courage to enter, because Sengyo-ya has a strange construction. We can easily see from the street its kitchen exposing its back side to the street and several seats behind the kitchen counter.

Saito-san had reserved a table on the second floor and I came to discover a place hidden from the street and where we could organize a private party. Sengyo-ya is a tiny cramped bar. However, narrowness or smallness sometimes produces a positive characteristic of Japan, in particular in crowded areas such as Tokyo. If you are accustomed to it, you will surely like it, because a tiny and closed space easily creates intimacy.

I met Yamaga-san and Takeda-san of Gainax several years ago for the first time at Connichi, an annul manga and anime convention in Germany, organized by Animexx the nationwide manga and anime fan club. Connichi moved in that year from Friedrichshaven to Kassel. I was much impressed by Yamaga-san's comment in reply to my request; "Couldn't you create slightly less otaku animes, so as not to provoke hard reactions from conservative adults?". He said; "Peace will prevail in the entire world, if all human beings become otaku!".
Fassade of Sengyo-ya.

The opening is the back side of kitchen. As there is no other entrance, we have to go through the backyard to guest seats!

A large dried fish hangs here left. A small round utensil on its right side is a pig shaped container of mosquito repellent coil.
Thereafter, we had often opportunities to work together and drink together. Akai-san and Mizumori-san joined a few years later in Tokyo and I arranged the visit of Yamaga-san and Sadamoto-san - unfortunately he could not join this time - to J-Popcon in Denmark. Suzawa-san, an office colleague of mine, listened to the lecture by Takeda-san on anime production and joined us in drinking and participated in Gainax's Bonenkai together with my daughter.

I wrote maybe too much about our private relationships. But, I am more than happy that the Gainax people are very eager to communicate with anime fans in foreign countries. They do not hesitate to participate in any occasion to meet anime fans, wherever it takes place. They are also generous about exclusiveness of their copy rights. Copy rights must be respected, but there must be flexibility for fans to play with famous characters and stories. It is true that without parody or imitation, manga and anime cannot gain creativity and popularity. Japanese comic markets, for example, attract nearly one million visitors, and their main attraction is the sales of fan-created manga (doujinshi) based on parodies of popular manga titles. The people of Gainax know this, because they were and are still genuine hard-core otakus.

Therefore, I love the people of Gainax (You can see their cosplays HERE.). They have not lost their original amateur and otaku spirit at all and they enjoy what they are doing. I gain much energy from them every time when I meet them.
The food of Sengyo-ya was delicious and their inventory of sake and shochu was excellent, though I do not remember much about details, because I somehow got drunken after I had consumed a beer mug of shochu on rock ice and did not remember much. But, I want to go to Sengyo-ya again and taste their foods and drinks in soberness.