I love Japan. I love their quiet and safe streets, beautiful places, temples, Zen gardens, food and more. I’ve visited Japan three times now, but I don’t mind going back if it means having another great time with my boyfriend. Sometimes if you’re lucky enough, you’ll find a boyfriend, a best friend and travel buddy rolled into one.
Guess where you are going today, milady?
After he said those magical words to me, my brain started to accommodate Studio Ghibli-related things. It was now preoccupied with possible things awaiting us.
Before this trip, we rewatched all the films made by Studio Ghibli. Yet, I still don’t have any idea that we are going to the Studio Ghibli Museum. Maybe because I assumed that it’s quite difficult to get a ticket reservation. They said that the museum can only accommodate 100 people. One of the reasons why a lot of people queue up to get reservations. And as a fan for quite a long time, I still can’t believe it’s really happening. He did “fucking” get us the tickets to Studio Ghibli! I was so happy I almost cried.
We joined a tour group. We have buffet food, a comfortable bus, not having difficulty finding our way to the Ghibli Museum, and a friendly, professional tour guide. Our tour guide is awesome. You get the sense that she knows what she’s talking about. That she’s also a passionate fan. On top of my overwhelming excitement, I can also feel her excitement in her voice. And the moment she smiles, you immediately see why she was perfect for this job. She’s got this bright smile when she says, “Welcome everyone, my name is Miki” not Kiki from Delivery Service 🙂 Too bad I didn’t have her photo to show. I’m afraid and too shy to take a photo of her.
She brilliantly explained our itinerary that day and provided some trivia about Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki’s favorites and what-not. How important the food is for Hayao in creating a story. Indeed, judging from his works, he always incorporates how important food is in his story. This is one of the reasons why there were food replicas from the movies on display on the 2nd floor of the museum. She also mentioned a few beautiful spots to hang out inside the museum since she will not be joining us inside. It was a fun trip on the coach. Complete with interactive games provided by our tour guide where she will show a photo of food, then get to answer which film that food belongs to. I recognized some. Yay! She showed a photo of a chicken pot pie, no one seems to know that it’s from Kiki so I just said it out loud. So proud of myself. LOL
Photo by: Ghibli Museum Review Blog
BUFFET at Hotel Gajoen
Our first stop is at Spirited Away’s bathhouse-inspired Hotel Gajoen, where we had our buffet lunch.
While having the fanciest lunch you could ever imagine, a couple next to us asked me who is my favorite Doctor. The girl had noticed my Doctor Who Tshirt that I’m wearing that day. I’m not one for big conversations with people I do not know, but I’m not rude either so I replied “I liked “Nine”. What’s yours?” She said she likes “Eleven”. I smile and replied back, “Eleven is really awesome as well”. We were like exchanging what’s our favourite number, but only Doctor Who fans would definitely get it.
Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan is one of the top tourist spots in Tokyo. Inside and out of the museum was designed by Hayao Miyazaki. You can see the guard robot from the Castle in Sky movie on the terrace garden. I kind of hate it that they don’t allow taking photos inside. Be sure to take as many photos as you can outside. I don’t why it is important to have a physical visual of something beautiful we saw. Probably we want to provide evidence that such beautiful stuff exists.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how avid of a fan am I? I’ve seen all Studio Ghibli’s films — from their very first film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984) to the most recent When Marnie Was There (2014). So I dare count myself among the elite of Ghibli otaku. Inside you can witness the creative process of animation. From the storyboard to overwhelming sketches and illustrations from Miyazaki-Studio Ghibli films. You can enjoy your meal, snacks, and drinks with Totoro, Ponyo and all other Studio Ghibli characters you can think of at the Straw Hat Cafe.
Since we’re still full from the buffet lunch, we just had ice creams and this rare beer/ale which can only be bought at the museum (suggested by our lovely tour guide).
We spent a lot of time at the gift shop called “Mamma Aiuto!”, a term used by one of the pilot pirates from Porco Rosso, which means “Mama gonna help”.
I found this little ohmu from Nausicaa so cute, but relatively expensive >_<
We get to see an original Studio Ghibli short film named A Sumo Wrestler’s Tail. Yes, inside the museum there’s a theater where you can recognize some of the paintings on the wall that were inspired by the room of the big baby from Spirited Away. It was a strange and funny film. According to our guide, they are showing a few short films (by random), although I’m not sure if they change it monthly or by seasons.
The tour was meant to end at another place, but it was closed on that day so our tour guide decided to stroll us around her favorite temple. So our next and last stop is at Jindaiji Temple. Jindaiji in Chofu is Tokyo’s second oldest temple. We experienced an oh-so-peaceful surrounding going to the temple. Now, we know why she made it her favourite. This place is also known for its annual soba noodle festival.
After that, we looked at the lights and sounds of nighttime Shinjuku. When we passed along a familiar street, I noticed a huge portion of it is now occupied by the Roboto Restaurant. Only shows how successful this kind of business is in Shinjuku.
And do you know how to end a perfect day? Munch on this. ^_^