For most otaku it would be a dream come true to be contacted by an anime studio wanting to use their home as a location in a new anime series. For Caron Cooper, it is just the latest unlikely chapter in her incredible life story.Read More
EVERY square foot of Caron Cooper’s home and bed and breakfast has been turned lovingly into a popular Japanese animation, so it comes as no surprise when she was announced as the winner of the AA’s Bed and Breakfast Story of the Year award.
Fosse Farmhouse, just outside Castle Combe, claimed the gong last month after judges were told the story about how the four-star AA Silver B&B with just two guest bedrooms won the hearts of a nation.
Ms Cooper’s story began in 1989 when she met Japanese couple Shozo and Yasuko Mitani while selling antiques in Portobello Road in London.
The Mitanis wanted to create an English-themed B&B in Japan and after visiting the farmhouse, and taking photographs to display back home, word travelled about the B&B and the floodgates for enquiries opened.
In 2012, popular manga comic book Kiniro-Mosaic, also known as Kinmoza was published, basing its story entirely upon the owners’ life at Fosse Farmhouse and a teenager called Alice.
“I have been reinvented in Japan,” she said. “They have made me and my B&B into an animation over there which airs weekly.
“They came over a few years ago to film the house and when they took the footage home, over 400 artists painstakingly drew out each and every frame for the show.
“It is unbelievable how far this story has gone.
“I was unsure about what to say when they approached me as some anime storylines are quite dark, but I had the opportunity to meet the author and get a sense for the story.
“Had I refused, none of this would have happened, so I am delighted to have not only said yes, but also win this award.”
The story behind Kinmoza continues to captivate Japanese audiences, so much so that Ms Cooper regularly receives bookings from guests who fly over specifically to see the house and the surrounding area.
The B&B owner, who has become a Japanese celebrity, also flies out to Tokyo regularly to host cream tea parties and meet some of her fans.
“It has sort of generated a cult following,” she added. “The Japanese come here to stay to embark on a sort of film trail if you like.
“They don’t want to go into Bath, they want to stay in Alice’s room, visit Castle Combe and Kemble Station which are all in the anime and even go to the canal bridge in Bathampton and the Waterstones in Cirencester.
“It’s a crazy story but sometimes reality is stranger than fantasy.”