Trip Start Jan 19, 2013
95Trip End Apr 12, 2013
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We took the train to Mitaka which was a pretty easy journey. From there we walked for about 10 minutes admiring the Cherry Blossom before arriving at the museum. It is quite an unusual building from both the outside and inside. You have to see in our photos to understand but it's very quirky.
We first went into a room where they show the different ways animation can be done and also how it has developed through time. There was a cute little area where they were playing a short animation off a reel of a film. It was a little piece showing the evolution of humans. From there we moved on upstairs to the room dedicated to Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibili's most famous director. The rooms there recreate what his work room looked like and are covered in paintings of his from various films. The drawings are so amazing and precise and it is really impressive to see. It's also fascinating to see how some of the locations and characters looked originally than in the final film. Beyond that there was a cool little machine which showed how they actually did the animation. It had little cogs which you could turn and each one was assigned a different task to a piece of art. One for the characters and one for the background which also raised or lowered the camera so you could move into the image whilst seeing the characters move across the scenery in a little balloon.
We then headed down after exploring some more to see their unique short film which they play only in the museum. The one we saw was about a dog who accidentally escaped from his owner's house because he really wanted the young girl to take him for a walk but she had to go to school. He explored the world and naturally when he didn't return that evening, the girl and family got upset and worried. The film ended happily and was really cute but definitely not their strongest film. We wondered around a bit more and visited to gift shop where I bought a few souvenirs.
We then headed back to the station where we had Subway for lunch. This was a bit of a struggle because of the language barrier but we got what we wanted and interestingly they serve chips or chicken with your subway instead of crisps or a cookie.
Since we still had half the day left or so, we went to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo which wasn't that exciting so we ended up people watching. Some of the people we observed was a huge group of westerners on a package tour who included a guy with his camera and tripod going around the area and trying to get the best photo. He did seem to be struggling a bit though bless him. Also in the group was a very posh looking guy who seemed to be trying to chat up another posh looking girl in the group. There was also a guy with really awful oversized sunglasses. We do have a photo! Finally, separate from the group was a Western guy on what looked like an awkward first date with an Asian girl.
Whilst on the train I had remembered where I had left the Japan by Rail book! We went back to Shimbashi and a bank we had stopped in the other evening because I remembered I had left the book on top of an ATM. Amazingly the book was still there when we went back! I was so happy to see it there as it really is half a lifeline in trying to get us around Japan.
Back in Otsuka we had lunch in an Italian place and treated ourselves to a cocktail before having a pasta and pizza. A good day overall!