Approaching Kansai Airport, you will pass the Akashi Kakyo bridge, the longest central span suspension bridge in the world (1991 metres). Its southern part crosses the strait
between Awaji Island and Shikoku, known as Naruto (roaring swirls) strait. They are dangerous, they have cost many lives, and they gave their name to shōjo manga hero Naruto, a low-ranked ninja, who struggles his way up the hierarchy.
17 July in Kyoto, the day of the Gion Festival with the great float parade in the city. However, incredibly hot and humid. Why not sneak out to the Kyoto International Manga Museum, where you find a splendid collection of old manga editions since the late 1940s and many explanations on manga art, kamishibai, publishers, production methods, and the relationship between manga and animation. (http://www.kyotomm.jp/english/)
Or take the train to Takarazuka, 2 hours, and visit the Tezuka Osamu Museum. The small city is about 2h from Kyoto, and home to the famous all-women musical theatre, founded 100 years ago by a (male) railway tycoon. As a kid, Master Tezuka used to watch the beautiful dancers rehearse … and later promoted transgender dressing in his manga “Princess Knight”. The “Phoenix”, Tezuka’s favorite, welcomes you here. (http://digilander.libero.it/joe.chip/tezuka_e.htm).
If that’s not enough, leave Kansai for the capital Tokyo. In the Science Future Building on the artificial island of Odaiba in the Tokyo Bay, a great exhibition is examining the relationship between science and manga (kagaku manga ten until 15 October). I’ll be there only next week and have no pictures yet. In the meantime, look into manga surgeon Black Jack’s scarface: Tezuka made him perform organ transplants already in the 1970s. Science fiction? No, manga is just ahead of its time (http://www.kagaku-manga-ten.jp/).