A Japanese media pilgrimage to a Tasmanian bakery
by Craig Norris

ABSTRACT: “A small bakery in regional Tasmania, Australia, has been reimagined as a pop culture destination by Japanese tourists who claim it is the inspiration for a key location in the anime Kiki’s Delivery Service. To understand how and why Japanese tourists have located this bakery in the imaginary world of Kiki, two processes are explored: the media pilgrimage, where fans bridge their ordinary reality and enter the special media world, and the media scaffold, where Kiki becomes a way to interpret the world around them.”


[11.4] What makes the fans’ richly contested and celebrated experience of the Ross Bakery significant is that it involves physical places and locations being the catalyst and building blocks for fan fiction–type work. In this case it is expressed not through fan fiction stories or staged photographs but through the genre of visitors’ comments in guest books. What I have analyzed here, then, are the ways in which the manipulation and integration of the Kiki story and characters into the Ross Bakery by fans provide a rich but contested scaffold for the Kiki fan’s media pilgrimage and reveals a creative process where fans transform existing elements of popular culture through their physical surroundings to express changes in culture, geography, and identity.

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