Friday, April 6, 2012

Tokyo Part 5: Ghibli Museum(and final day!)

Everyone has a favorite Ghibli movie. Not ringing a bell? How about Miyazaki Hayao? My Neighbor Totoro? Seriously, if you haven't seen a Ghibli movie I *highly* encourage you to watch one. And since the only people who read this are my family and boyfriend, I'm talking to you, Andrew!
I think everyone on the trip was waiting for this day especially. The day when all of our childhood memories would come to the form of over-priced gift-store purchases. But no, really, the Ghibli museum was a great time! We were told you have to buy tickets way in advance(like 2 months!), but we bought them from the 7/11 2 weeks before and were fine.
Outside of Museum
Robot on the roof

First of all, the building itself is a whimsical structure in the middle of a small town(Mitaka) situated right next to a park and a tennis court. The interior is like a maze with winding stairs and rooms housing different wonders,and a big plushy cat bus for kids to play on! We even got to see an exclusive short video about a lost dog on an adventure back home. Ok to be honest it was kinda boring, but extremely cute! My favorite sections were the room housing original sketches and inspiration, the animation room(seriously amazing! I can't even describe it!), and the roof which leads to a garden with a really cool robot-statue thing. And I spent way too long in the gift store, but that's to be expected. P.S. my favorite is a toss up between Kiki's Delivery Service and Spirited Away.
The next day was our last and craziest day in Tokyo by far. We all had a list of places we hadn't seen, and we scrambled around trying to visit all of them. On my list were the Pokemon center, Ikebukuro, and Shibuya. The Pokemon center in Tokyo is sooooo much better than the one in Umeda(Osaka)!! I'm not even the biggest Pokemon fan, but they have a lot of merchandise for the original and new Pokemon, and I have to admit I bought a Jigglypuff (called purin/pudding here) phone charm. Hehe, I'm so lame...
Ikebukuro is a trip. Like, it's trippy. At least the place we went to. It's called Namja-town, and it's basically a big amusement center in the middle of a mall with a gyoza-street, ice cream town, and some weird ninja-survival-game-thing. We mainly went for the ice cream, but the creepy cat and naked mermaid statues were an added bonus(seriously, this place gave us the creeps!). They had a bunch of different ice cream flavors, and a Turkish ice cream stand, and crepes, and everything else in your wildest dreams(about ice cream). We all ate soft-serve, and chose from a host of odd flavors, including sea-salt vanilla(which I heard was delicious), wasabi(!), and kinako(soy-bean flour). I chose the kinako. It was rich and creamy, and tasted a lot like kinako.
After Ikebukuro, I rushed to meet up with Tif at Shibuya. We met at the statue of Hachiko, a dog who supposedly met his owner at a station everyday, and continued to do so even after the owner's death. It's a pretty popular meeting spot. We spent our time at Shibuya walking around and window-shopping, especially at the huge multi-storied Forever21 and H&M. Shibuya is HUGE and very similar to Harajuku, but it felt more crowded and expensive.We shopped until we were extremely tired from our busy mornings, and then headed back to get our stuff from our hostel.
Shibuya cross-section
 After picking up a shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe, going to dinner, and getting a bit lost, we left to catch our 11:45 bus at around 10:30. The train ride was about a half an hour, and we had no idea where our bus location was. We rushed around asking every bus driver, but each one gave us a different response. We were short on time and running around frantically with big suitcases, crying out to random people in desperation. Yes, it was pathetic. Finally, our bus driver called Tif, and gave us a few clues as to where it was located. We were about 10 minutes late when we boarded the bus and incredibly thankful they hadn't left us. We spent a long time sleeping until we arrived and Kyoto, where we took another train and were finally greeted with heavy rain and ice-cold temperatures back to Hirakata.


  1. There is an English version of My Neighbor Tottoro which is very good. I mean, the English is very natural. It was translated loosely in parts so as not to wind up with weird literal translations. Great flick. Phil Hartman from Saturday Night Live fame is one of the voices.

  2. "Miyazaki Hayao?" Sounds like some sort of three-diamonds sedan!