Friday, April 11, 2008

Japan Trip: Day 3 - Studio Ghibli Museum!

On the third day of our Japan Trip 2008, we had tickets for the Studio Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Studio Ghibli was co-founded by Hayao Miyazaki, the wonderful director behind the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Totoro, and many other films. I've loved all his films and was excited to see his wonderful museum that he devoted to making it a truly fun experience, where kids can interact and enjoy themselves.

We took the train out to Mitaka (west-side of Tokyo proper), and when we got off and found the Ghibli Museum Bus Stop, it was all smiles for the rest of the day! (^_^) Here we have one of their Ghibli Buses, decorated with the creatures from the end segment of Totoro!

If you look closely, you'll see the outlines of Pazu and Sheeta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky), as well as Jiji the Cat from Kiki's Delivery Service. Seeing the stain-glass designs from the inside was much better, but they don't allow any photography inside the museum! :( So this was the best we could do.

Here's a full 1:1 Scale reproduction of the guardian robot from Laputa: Castle in the Sky!

A Totoro Tent:

This little garden was accessible only through a cute, tiny "forest walkway" (similar to how Mei sneaks around to find where Totoro is), so when we saw these baby plants growing, it immediately reminded us of the scene in Totoro when Mei and Satsuki have planted the seeds and are watching them grow. (^_^)

Here's a recreation of the Laputan technology / block from the floating city of Laputa:

Cool Steampunk Water Fountain:

The ever-kawaii Ghibli Cafe (^_^):

These pictures really don't do the Studio Ghibli Museum justice (since you can't take any photos inside the actual museum). They had amazing stop-motion animation displays; awesome 3D sculptures / recreations of Satsuki, Mei and Totoro doing various actions; an original Short Animated Film (exclusively for the Studio Ghibli Museum) by Studio Ghibli. Today's feature was Koro-chan's Big Walk, a cute little feature about a little girl's dog escaping and going for a "big walk" (getting lost). Their Ghibli Gift Store was out-of-control! So many cute and amazing pieces of merchandise! (^_^)

Lastly, the near life-size Neko Bus (Cat Bus) had to be THE highlight of the day! Imagine a gigantic, near 1:1 Scale Stuffed Animal (in the shape of the Cat Bus from Totoro), with tons of kids joyously jumping up and down, and riding around on it! (^_^) It was too awesome.

After the museum, we had to meet a friend in Nakano (no pics, sorry), and home of the insane 3-Story Tall Mandarake Shop inside Nakano Broadway mall. Later that night, we had the pleasure of experiencing one of the most amazing meals ever at Ryugin...

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