Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tokyo: Studio Ghibli

My primary reason for going to Tokyo, other than to see the damage from 40 years of Godzilla rampages, was to see the Studio Ghibli museum. Studio Ghibli is the company home of the works of master animator, Hirao Miyazaki. Indeed, his most famous works are portrayed here in exhibits, most obviously My Neighbor Totoro and Castle in the Sky. I probably should have disobeyed all the "Please don't photograph" signs, but it's actually a rather difficult museum to shoot. Lots of fun hidden passageways, stained glass windows, spiral staircases, atriums, patios, grottos, rooms filled with artwork samples & classic literature recreating the sort Miyazaki would have worked in, a giant soft "cat bus" for kids to jump on... Photos of the inside would not do it justice.

When you arrive via Studio Ghibli bus from the Mataka train station & hand in your ticket voucher, they give you a ticket which is actually 3 animation film frames from a Studio Ghibli film. Neat! Use this ticket to watch the film screening, which in my case was a new episode of Totoro. Brilliant!

Here's the unassuming main gate (Look closely, you can see Totoro and his friends):


One of the many caged spiral staircases. This one is the only way up to see the giant robot from Castle in the Sky:


I almost left the museum prematurely looking for this guy. From the photos, it seemed like he'd be out in the park surrounding the museum. But no -- he's part of the rooftop garden! Luckily, the museum guard took pity on me and let me back in for photos. Here he is in a rare moment alone:


And here he is with me, to show scale and my enthusiasm for having made it to one of the meccas of Geekdom:


If you intend to go, make certain you get your ticket before you leave for Japan! There's no way in otherwise. If you live in the United States, you can buy them here for a specific date.

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posted by Brian at 5:04 AM

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