When people generally think of Austin, the first thing to come to mind probably isn’t anime, manga, or any other Japanese cultural element. No, the things that come to mind are the University of Texas Longhorns, the Hill Country, the Texas State Capitol, 6th Street, Dell, the Silicon Hills, live music … basically anything but anime, manga, or any other Japanese cultural element.
You might be surprised to know that Austin has a fairly large Asian community, along with a large number of sushi bars/restaurants, Japanese speciality shops, community events, and Asian grocery stores.
Some places in Austin to visit include:
- Asahi Imports – a speciality shop on Burnet Road, north of the corner of Burnet Road and Koenig Drive. Various Japanese commodities, including food, snacks, tea, dishes, sake, and personal care items.
- Taniguchi Japanese Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden – Opened in 1969, it is Isamu Taniguchi’s beautiful contribution to Zilker Botanical Garden.
Some groups and organizations to plug into include:
- Japan-America Society of Greater Austin – a nonprofit organization bridging the cultures of Japan and central Texas by promoting friendly US-Japan relations through educational and cultural programs for its members and the Greater Austin community.
- The Anime Club at the University of Texas at Austin – The Anime Club is a volunteer-based, non-profit student organization at the University of Texas at Austin. Our purpose is to provide fans of Japanese animation, or anime, a place to meet and exchange views and information.
- The Austin Japanese Culture and Language Meetup Group – This group is for lovers of Japanese language, food, and culture.
- The Austin Anime Meetup Group – Meet fellow Anime Fans near you! Come to a local Anime Meetup for fun, friends and talk about your favorite Anime/Manga artists, shows,movies, cosplay, & games.
In addition to these local resources, there are plenty of sushi bars and restaurants in the area to satisfy your need for sushi, noodles, or other Japanese cuisine. For an excellent list of restaurants and reviews, go to AustinSushi.com.
Sure, Austin is no San Francisco when it comes to concentrated areas of cultural diversity, large numbers of Japanese speciality shops, etc., but for a city in the heart of Texas, it does okay.