Arigato, Austria!

Tora-san poster in Tokyo's Shibuya Station

Tora-san poster in Tokyo's Shibuya Station

The main character from Japan’s long-running ‘Otoko was tsurai yo‘ (It’s Tough Being a Man) series, is set to get a park named after him — in Vienna, Austria, of all places. Why the love? Turns out Tora-san, the bumbling and love-struck star of the films 48 installments is a beloved character in the European capital, in part because of similarities shared between Vienna’s Floridsdorf district, and Tokyo’s Katsushika ward, the hometown of the “lovable tramp.” In fact, a 1989 installment of the series, ‘Torajiro Kokoro no Tabiji‘ (“Tora-san goes to Vienna’), was filmed in Austria, and the two sister cities swap exchange students every year. The park features traditional Japanese gardens designed by Japanese artists. The opening ceremony on Sept. 28 will feature a photo exhibition, concert of Japanese music a tea ceremony. 

To see Tora-san’s hometown — and a quaint snapshot of traditional working-class Japanese life — head to Tokyo’s Shibamata Station on the Keisei Kanamachi Line. Get off the train and you’ll be greeted by a statue of the star, ready to head out on his next adventure. Together, the 48 Tora-san films are a bit of a guide to Japan — each film explores a different region, with the exception of his trip to Austria, and another to Arizona.
Thanks to our own Anne Ishii for the tip! Want to find out more about Tora-san, and his Shibamata hangouts? Pick up a copy of Museyon’s guide to Film+Travel, in stores now. 

img: David Z/Flickr

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