Friday, April 10, 2009
Totoro greeted us as he headed off to Mitaka for our first stop of day 13. Today we headed out to the Studio Ghibli Museum, tickets for which we had to reserve well in advance at a JTB travel agency back in the USA, luckily for us just happens to be right down the highway.
The Museum is designed to look like part of the nature around it, to celebrate the films of the greatest Japanese animation studio of all time. Disney:America::Ghibli:Japan, except they still do hand drawn art and haven't gone completely over to CG. In the USA Disney is the company that translates and releases their films.
Inside you will find original works of art from Hayao Miyazaki himself, be treated to one of a handful of exclusive Ghibli animations shown no where else but the museum, get an animation cell on your entrance ticket, and view the process of making animation and their films.
Once again in our story pictures were not allowed inside, so instead please watch this video tour.
Up on the roof, where you can use your camera, sits one of the iron monsters from Castle in the Sky.
We bought a Totoro doll (the girls in Japan ADORE him, carry around a Totoro doll and you'll have them talking to you no matter where you are). We said goodbye and headed back into the city.
Out next stop was Ikebukara where she hunted down her final Closet Child of the trip. We also stopped at a two story Hello Kitty store and an arcade where we found this:
A "casual frozen foods" vending machine. With the push of a button (and a wait of a minute or two) we had vending machine fries in our hand to eat. Brilliant!
As it was two days out from going home I started taking melatonin again to get myself ready for the 12 hours of jet lag I'd be facing. At this point of the day my body was ready to shut down, the pills were in full effect and I could hardly walk. A nap seemed to be in order.
NOPE! Instead we went to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo's oldest shrine.
After passing the large red lantern you'll end up on the ultimate Tokyo tourist trap for cheap souvenirs to take home to people.
Here you'll find t-shirts, magnets, food stuffs, plastic junk made in China, and anything else you'd ever want for a "oh man I forgot to buy my friend something in Japan" shopping trip.
Walking down the street you'll past a housing place for the priests. The sakura were in full bloom on their grounds.
We headed back towards the subway station by taking a few of the side roads.
It was here I bought my other souvenir, a model Nozomi n700 train. The Shinkansen is the best.
We went back to Ueno to hopefully get some sleep.
Before we did that we went back into the park to try some more fair food. It was here we found magical gyoza the size of your head. They were one of the most wonderful things we ate in Japan. All the flavor of a delicious gyoza except in monster size. It was quite possibly the best tasting gyoza I have ever had. We had another one of those gel candy sweets from a few days ago, then a crepe from the main street in Ueno, and then finally back to the hotel to pass out.