Published by Halfey Halphstein,
It's almost customary to have grilled food when camping because there's a campfire, you have limited number or utensils and you don't have access to a full-fledged kitchen. But I'm not going to talk about grilling food here. We're talking about camping girls!
The camping grills.... er, I mean girls.
So I just finished watching Yuru Camp, an anime featuring school girls who enjoy outdoor activities, specifically camping, either solo or in a group. Between ShimaRin and Nadeshiko I'm not really sure who is the true main character but that's not the point. ShimaRin is voiced by Kongou, I mean Nao Toyama, one of my favorite seiyuu. I didn't realize it at first because she used a different voice than what I've heard before. Well Nao Toyama had no problem voicing the 4 Kongou sisters, even singing in their voices live on stage in one song, so making a completely new voice is probably like a piece of cake for her. Then we also have my other favorite seiyuu, Rie Takahashi (RieRi) voicing Ena, who is a 'smaller role' character than ShimaRin and Nadeshiko but she's still an interesting character nevertheless.
The show is really heartwarming (despite the "wintery" scenes) and it's a comfortable kind of warmth despite the scorching tropical climate in my country. Man I really missed the short cold weather we experienced in January. I wish it lasted for months instead of weeks, even if the temperature was just slightly above 20 degrees Celcius (though in some places it was reported to be lower than 20 degrees). I really envy those girls who get to enjoy camping in various camping sites in Japan without having to worry much about available facilities or being a victim of a crime (theft or even worse getting raped/murdered).
I'd give the anime 10/10. Sounds like full mark? Actually no. I could have given it 11/10 or even 12/10 but one thing I didn't get is how did they manage to have their phone alive overnight with all that picture snappings, social messaging and more without a single sight of a powerbank? I've asked this question for a long time but it seems like powerbanks don't exist in anime. Every now and then I'd still see a character having their phone batteries died on them. And every characters seem to be carrying iPhones, even those who were born in a low-income farmer family. You spent so much money on an iPhone and now you don't have any money left to buy a powerbank?
Come to think of it here in my country it's a pain (mendokusai) to find a campsite, let alone a good one. Chances are the existing ones are lacking of basic facilities like access to freshwater or bathrooms. Not to mention it's almost impossible to enjoy a laid-back camping as depicted in Yuru Camp because chances are other campers are usually very inconsiderate and they'd hold a party all night long drinking and dancing until they pass out. Don't even think of politely asking them to tone down or they'll confront you and believe me it would escalate to something that may compromise your safety. I'm not joking about that.
I am also skeptical about the security of local campsites here. In the anime you could see how the characters were able to go to the bathroom and went back to their tents with everything is still intact, not even a single bit of their belongings were stolen. Here you'd have to have a partner to look after your stuff while you're away for a bathroom break or even taking a shower and you'll need to take turns. The security, or the lack thereof, would not give you the peace of mind. If you're in a company of 3 or more you might want to arrange for at least one person to be on sentry every few hours.
Also it is not really comfortable to have an overnight camping here, when the night temperature may reach 30 degrees Celcius in some parts of the country. Without ventilation in the tent you'll sweat until you're drenched and every square inch of your clothes will feel sticky. You probably won't get a chance to use your sleeping bag (even the summer type) because you wouldn't want to be inside that thing in this heat. Forget campfire and grills. And there's also an army of mosquitoes ready to attack you all year long without any winter break, and some of them are packed with malaria, dengue, chikugunya, elephantiasis, and worse, zika. So you'll have to make a hard decision here, either to ventilate your tent and allow those tiny attackers in, or no ventilation at the cost of flooding your tent with your sweat.
Finally there's also no option for a site with pine trees because those things don't normally grow here in the tropics. I learned from the anime that pine cones (the opened ones) are natural fire starters. OK I don't really need pine cones to start a campfire but I don't really like camping surrounded by dense tropical rainforest. Pine forest is less dense than the tropical and the forest floor is 'cleaner' too.
In the end as long as I am still in this country the best place to camp is in the yard (though that is not really camping to be honest) but another problem is as I am now living in the country's capital, a house with a proper yard is almost non existent as most affordable housing developments now are in the forms of high-rise apartment buildings or condominiums. There's nothing to stop anyone from setting up a tent and doing every camp-like activities in the house. But no campfire inside the house of course.