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March 2010

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I'm not too sure myself why but I have fixated upon visiting the Studio Ghibli Museum after watching numerous Hayao Miyazaki animation films which seemed to the epitome of Japanese whimsicality and nostalgia for me. So, as it was, I purchased entrance tickets using a shopping service a few weeks before leaving for Tokyo and was all set to visit the Museum on the 18th of April, 10am!

Anyone remember which film is this character from??

If you guessed "Laputa : Castle in the Sky", bingo! Have a cookie, you smart little thing you. If you didn't guess correctly, go re-watch your Hayao Miyazaki films =P

The weather for Day 3 started pretty okay actually. It was still chilly, overcast and I still needed my coat but it wasn't as cold as the previous two days. That, of course, would change in the late afternoon as it turned out to be the coldest day of my entire trip with the temperature dropping to 8 degrees with rain =X

But fortified by the promising start, I woke up at 8am and was out of the door by 9am as my entrance to Studio Ghibli stated 10am. They have specific times where you're allowed to enter the museum which is 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. Only a specific number of people are also allowed in at those timeslots. I think it's probably to regulate the flow of people into the place as it's not a very large museum.

Because we left so early, ebdaffodil and me finally experienced that most typical of Japanese train syndrome....RUSH HOUR!!!

By 9am, the crowds weren't as bad as it would have been earlier but it was still bad! The Yamanote train from Ikebukuro to Shinjuku was packed so tightly that we could barely move our little pinkies. We weren't plastered to the train door like sucking octopuses so I guess we should be grateful for that, ahem.

As expected, the train vomitted its passengers out at Shinjuku. The museum is located at Mitaka, an outlying suburb and you need to take the JR Chuo line there. Found the Chuo line after asking a train station official who helpfully said 'Platform 15' and after arigatoing her, we made our way there where, thankfully, no one seemed to want to go to Mitaka that early, and the train was relatively empty.

Reached Mitaka in a jiffy and took the special Museum bus. And here was the sight that greeted me when we arrived:

School trips! Eeek =_=" These school trips students were almost everywhere btw during the first few days. They were there when I was at Asakusa, they were there at Tokyo Tower, and Ueno Station.

Luckily the museum opened on time and the queue moved pretty quickly. Much excited chattering between the school students. Don't think they're from Tokyo judging by the girls' skirts which were knee-length modest =p I don't know how Tokyo schoolgirls survive the bracing cold with their short, short skirts and almost laughably thin socks. Hmm.

Totoro! I wuv you!

Unfortunately, you're not allowed to take photos of the museum interior. I'm not sure why but you can't. But the inside was really kawaii! It's a 3 storey building with little doors that led to toilets, a theatre and various little rooms like an ideal animator artist's studio, a room of optical illusions etc.

I did however snuck a pic of the toilet.

The robot again!

An idea of its size here. Me looking wistfully up at the rather sad robot.

I guess I'm just happy to be here!

This quaint little yellow and red building is the museum cafe.

Rather pricey the foodies so I only had a bowl of pumpkin soup and bread at the cafe.

The hotdog and ice-cream shop isn't opened yet! But I peeked in just to be sure.

A little gazebo with a water pump. For all your Studio Ghibli water needs.

And I love taking frower photos so here's a few selections to bore you XD

I really enjoyed the museum visit! It's not as big as I imagined but ah, everything else was just as I thought it would be. Being there made me feel like I was in a Miyazaki film. Or well, close to it, lol. I love visiting whimsical little places like this.

Left the museum around 12.30pm after watching the short animation film at the museum theatre. No subtitles so I had absolutely no idea what the story was about except it's titled "Hoshi wo Katta Hi" and was set in the future and a boy who traded turnips for some seeds that grew into a planet. Very Miyazaki-ish. The museum theatre was also pretty with a mural of a sun and moon on the ceiling. But then, everything's pretty at the museum ;)

Made our way to Shinjuku where I wanted to visit MaruiYoung for some shopping! Yes, SHOPPING at last! Along the way, me and ebdaffodil got a little lost at Shinjuku station. Or rather, more like we wanted to find the place to buy the Hakone Day Pass as we, including ivoryfox, wanted to go on Friday. I know the place was somewhere inside Shinjuku station as I got the Hakone Pass there 4 years ago when I was in Tokyo but somehow, I just couldn't find it again! We went up and down, north, east, south exits in a bewildering maze that is Shinjuku Station and finally gave up. Will try to find it tomorrow again (in the end, the place to buy the Pass is at the West exit =_=).

So along the way to MaruiYoung, I popped into Studio Alta's Volks. The hanami themed storefront is so sweet!!

I went in to browse around and to get shuui's hands. Bought a jacket for Jack Darcy and that was the sum of my doll purchases, lol. Was tempted by their rori outfits but decided to reserve my money for myself this trip round as I wanted to buy pretty, pretty dresses for me, me, me! Sorry, Dru, Amelia and Lucinda~~~~~~~~~~

After Volks, I went to Shinjuku Kinokuniya where, coughs, some books of a dubious nature were purchased for the aforementioned shuui as well............

It started raining again! And I know it was 8 degrees because there's a huge electronic temperature board on the side of Studio Alta and it said 8 degrees. OMG. This is like the coldest I've ever experienced?! Huddled into my coat and went off to MaruiYoung.....only to find it was CLOSED!!! Argh!! They were closed for stocktaking I think. Blast it! Luckily it wasn't my last day or I'll kick myself =X

Although we were both rather tired and freezing but we thought we'll go to Tokyo Tower before heading back to Ikebukuro as ebdaffodil has never been there. Took the Yamanote train to Ebisu and changed to the Hibiya line where we stopped at Kamiyacho station. I have to say, I was rather proud of how successfully I've navigated the trains to different locations as I had usually just followed others on my previous trips, lol.

It's my second time to Tokyo Tower and I'm always rather amazed by its obscure location. You come out of the station and it's a perfectly normal place with offices and restaurants and you turn a corner and suddenly, it's there! Looming up up into the sky!

Nothing much really to say about the Tower except the gaggle of school students were there, running amok. Went up to the observation deck (800yen) and took a few token photos.

Tokyo is really densely populated =X

After a suitable round, we made our journey back to the hotel. It was just so COLD by then! The rain and the wind turned my blood to ice! The two of us didn't talk at all during the trip back to the Kamiyacho station, as we just wanted to get back to the warmth. I've never been so numbed by the wind that particular night. Of course I look fondly upon the cold now that I'm back in humid Singapore but ah, I can't tell you how wonderful it felt to return to the hotel room, take a bath and just sink into the bed while watching incomprehensible Japanese variety programs!

So that concludes Day 3 ^^ Tomorrow I meet ivoryfox for a day of mad shopping at Shinjuku and Harajuku!

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I love all your photos!!! they're all so so so bright and pretty! <3 is tokyo tower worth a trip? I've never gone up the observation deck before and am wondering if I should... XD
Haha! I think they're all so bright and pretty because I'm photographing them at bright and pretty spots! The next few days' batch of photos will be rather dark I'm afraid due to overcast weather =X

As for Tokyo Tower, I would say go if you have time if only for the experience. If you're pressed for time, then you can skip it! Unless you go on a really bright and clear day, the Tokyo views at the observation deck is kinda dismal....
LAPUTAAAAAA!!! : DDD My favourite ghibli movie! ♥
Mine is Spirited Away and Totoro! lol! But I like Laputa a lot too!
whoa the cloudy sky makes the place look really different from my night ride up Tokyo tower..... pretty frickin' awesome.

I remember I had a view like that once.... back in the army OTL
Awesome meh?! I found the views a little depressing since it was raining and everything looked so dark and grey >_>" And couldn't see Fuji-san cause it was so cloudy!

What? The army? 0_o"
yeah I staid in yishun camp for a few weeks, and the view from my corridor's openening was so high up we could see all the way to the CBD in the far off distance (I swear)

we were like "sure anot..." until our sgt's told us that yes, that really was the CBD
I like the flower photos tooo!

Did you went up to the highest deck in tokyo tower?

Flower power!!!

Ah I didn't, only up to the observation deck because I was too stingy and didn't want to waste another 600yen to go up higher! Plus it was raining so I thought no point in going up higher to see more rain, grins.
ohh!!! ghibli~~ when me and lila went last year.. the film was from Totoro.. it was really cute!! the neko bus~~~ XD

more pics? XD of sakura~ XD
Oh your animation short was the one with Mei and the neko-bus! I kinda hoped I would have caught that one when I was at the museum since I like Totoro but never mind, the one I saw was pretty nice as well =)

Haha, but the other sakura pics are more or less the same! Pink blossoms ;D
I have this huge urge to cling onto the gaint robot lol
To its leg, right, right?! Me too!!
So many pretty pictures!
Tokyo is da pretty! XD
I do know! That would be the robot from Laputa! Heh, it seems to be the de rigeur standard shot for all Ghibli visitors. I went last year but I am thankful I didnt got bombarded by school trips though there are tonnes of small kids and their parents. It is a beautiful place and I love it there! Along the way on the train, we passed by Hachijoji, wished that we could drop by there as well but alas, time constraint...
Whee!! You get a cookie for guessing correct! *hands a cookie to Lila* XD

I must have stumbled onto the period for school trips because students were almost everywhere at the popular tourist spots during my first few days in Tokyo =\ Mostly they were okay except at Tokyo Tower where they were really loud and rather rowdy.
yes, i loved the ghibli museum too! it was really literally stepping into the world of ghibli!
Yes! Was so excited when it was my turn to enter the museum and the inside didn't disappoint. Everything was so quaint and sweet =D
Studio Ghibli is love! =D~ (And those flower pics! Lovely!)

I bought a french CD, postcards and a paper merry-go-round (the mini replicate of the exhibition...In the end when I left Japan, I gave it to my Taiwanese dorm mate) at the shop & the cashier gave me 3 extra paper bags ^^';;; It's weird because those items can just fit into 1 single bag. He probably knew I was a foreigner XD

Tokyo is pretty cold from Autumn to Spring, so frankly speaking 9 months I'm in the cold weather. Winter's the worst; snowed more than 3 times when I was there (stupid weather!); and the irritating part to that was my heater in the room kept malfunctioning, stopping whenever the snow gets too heavy (the sound like someone throwing rocks at my window) and I have to wake up every 3-4 hours to off and turn back on the heater again. %$%^&%^%$E!$E$#!
We all love Studio Ghibli, lol!!

Eek! I love the paper bag! Mine is the one of the bushy airman with the word 'Mama Aiuto' (if I remember correctly) on it. Is yours the same? I only got one tho because I only bought a sticker and a notepad from the gift shop, lol. My fren thot of buying some soundtrack CDs but they were too expensive. But just as well she didn't buy it then, because we found cheaper secondhand ones at the Harajuku Book-Off later.

Your room sounds quite..... =X Which part of Tokyo did you stay when you were there??
Book-Off is love too!! ^____^
Why don't we have them in SG? T___T I could save so much more on Japanese books.

I stayed at Komagome (Bunkyo district). It's in the middle of the Yamanote line, between Ikebukuro and Ueno. That place is an old people district, but that's a very homely area.


So divine!! must go to the musuem when I have the chance.... LOL-

eh eh- i read that u have to reserve tickets to go there? Is that true? *bug eye*

Re: whee-!!

Although it's small, it's a really fun and cute museum to visit so yes, do go if you have the chance! =D

Yeah, you can't buy tickets for the day itself at the museum. Have to buy in advance from Lawson's. They only have limited tickets for sale as it's a small museum but you can book tickets one month in advance. But I hear they do sent aside some tickets for foreign tourists at a JTB near the museum. But to be on the safe side, I got mine through a shopping service first ;)