I couldn’t read a word, but it didn’t matter

More on this guy later

It is funny how things turn out when you are travelling sometimes.

Last night I left the blog post about to head out to watch the Japan v Paraguay game. Taka, my gracious host here in Shinagawa, said he was heading out to watch the game and that the couple of us at the hostel who were keen should come along. Me and the other guy were under the impression we were heading to some nearby bar, but we got confused when Taka suggested we pick up anything we needed from the nearby supermarket. OK we thought. So arming ourselves with some beers and snacks we wandered down the street a little further.

Lo and behold it wasn’t a bar we turned up at, but what seemed like the store/office of some local folk, set up with a massive TV and food galore. We were being welcomed by some locals to their event. Immediately we had food and drink forced upon us and were made very welcomed.

You probably know the result of the game by now. Even though Japan lost on penalties, the vibe was still OK. There was too much food and drink to break the mood too much. So while it wasn’t the bar I was expecting, it was better… local hospitality.

And thanks to that hospitality I did wake up with just a small hangover. More like just being tired really, but that happens when you go to extra time and penalties. But no matter. For the most part here in Tokyo I am not on the clock. Although today did have one important thing on the agenda. Ghibli.

My gracious hosts

So I bid adieu to my hosts and hit the train.

I still think the Pakenham line is worse

I have to say I don’t think I have experienced the true train crush yet. I did peak time last night and the crush in the train was no different to me coming home from Caulfield. What is different though is that the huge numbers of people are EVERYWHERE.

I got my way from Shinagawa to Mitaka (via Shinjuku) easy enough, and started the pleasant wander to the Ghibli Museum. It is hard to get lost really…

300m to happiness

It really was quite a magic day. Humid yes, but the sun was out and it was a glorious walk. And so I arrived at the museum.

I am not sure those of you who haven’t soaked up the animation work of Studio Ghibli will fully appreciate how special the museum is. I will readily admit that for each Ghibli film I love (Totoro, Nausicca), is another I am a little ambivalent about (Mononoke), so I won’t pretend I am a die hard Ghibli devotee. But this museum makes you appreciate every single frame of these films.

The first thing it is important to point out is that it is a museum, not some kind of Disney fun park. Hayao Miyazaki was adamant apparently that the museum be designed to just allow people to wander and soak  it up. That is what you do alright. Even the english language leaflet urges us to “lose our way together”.

There are gorgeous details everywhere. Unfortunately there is no photography inside, but actually it is a good thing. The last thing the museum would need would be everyone trying to get photos of everything. But this tap outside shows the level of detail.

It's all too cool

The museum is full of gorgeous things. A zoetrope of Totoro. Several rooms made out like Miyazaki’s work rooms, complete with drawing desks and what must be hundreds and hundreds of hand drawn storyboards. A theatre showing museum-only shorts (I got “The Whale Hunt”… bummer I didn’t get “Mei and the Kittenbus”).

There was only one disappointing room really. And I knew in advance it would be disappointing. My question to Miyazaki is… why can’t adults climb on the Catbus? I swear everyone, not just kids would be loving climbing all over that thing. But it is fun to watch the kids.

The main photo op in the museum is the rooftop where the robot from Laputa awaits. The sun was out, I was in a magical place. No wonder I am smiling a lot in this photo…

Smile Mr Robot!

None of the writing in the museum was in English, but it didn’t matter. I am not sure what any of the explanations could have added. It was just charming to let it all wash over.

With a stop by the giftshop on my way out (Ella and Jake, you will be introduced to Totoro soon), I realised I had spent longer than I thought in there. No matter though. What to do? Since I had to swap trains at Shinjuku, why not pop my head out there?

Welcome to Shinjuku

Holy crap. I now feel a little embarrassed I got lost in Kyoto train station. Shinjuku seems the mother of all stations (no I haven’t done Tokyo Station yet). It is freakin’ huge. And there seemed to be dozens of exits. I thought I wanted East Side, so found an exit and popped out.

Like landscapes, photos never do neon justice

What I got was just like Shibuya last night, but I don’t know… there seemed to be a slightly different vibe. Wandering around you can tell there is definitely more “entertainment” to be had.

I think it is that crazy metal marble gambling game. I think.

As a consequence I seemed to dig Shibuya a little more, so envisage that I would lob back there from time to time more than pop out at Shinjuku… plus Shibuya train station scares me less 🙂

So some dinner and wandering brings me back to Shinagawa, all sleepy like. Not sure about tomorrow, maybe it is time for Akihabara. Best get some rest then.


  1. AyakoGlen
    July 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Go to Akihabira… You will never leave..

  2. July 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Shibuya. Where I finally found a place to buy used panties. Good times, good times.


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