Got to our destination and, after some slight confusion about where to get our bus tickets, we got onto the bus bound for the Ghibli museum. It's called the Neko Bus but it lacked fur or whiskers so I was disappointed. The drive over was pretty quick and we found ourselves with about 30 minutes to spare so we walked around the outside and through part of a nearby park. Took some photos of the exterior and after a while we were let inside.
The museum overall was very interesting. One of the rooms was dedicated to the development of animation over the years. One display had actual figures arranged and would spin rapidly. A strobe light would flash and it gave the figures the appearence of movement. Another one had one of the robots from Laputa reaching towards the sky and animated birds flying around it. Also had this beautiful piano music playing, something I wasn't really able to listen to until the end of the day when almost everyone had gone home. Asked one of the staff which movie the piano piece was from but he said it wasn't in any movies but made especially for the museum. Also had lots of animation goodies like various reference sheets and pictures, along with inbetweens and some keyframes. We also got to see a short film that was made specifically for the museum. We chose the film about a little puppy who escaped from his house and his adventure. It was cute but had some strange moments that made Athena and I both kinda wonder. In one scene this tiny puppy jumps out the window of a truck onto the ground, a fall of almost five feet. Pretty high for a puppy but it seemed that Athena and I were the only ones put off by that. Sadly, adults are not allowed into the Nekobus room where kids can climb all over a giant replica of the Nekobus. No photography was allowed inside the museum and they had the staff to enforce it pretty much everywhere. Photos were allowed on the roof where they had a full side replica of the robot from Laputa. Very neat. The gift shop had all kinds of neat (but very expensive) goodies. After getting a few items we went down to the cafe to get something to eat.
This was one of the funniest parts of the day. They gave us an English menu and some of the translations were very funny. One said something like "the glow of the sky during the sunset Cream Soda" or something similar. Another item was "Fruit Sandwich of your dreams" but alas, when Athena tried to order it they were sold out. DREAMS WILL BE DENIED. While we waited for our food we looked at the Japanese menu to figure out if the translations were valid. The cream soda was a little bit hard to figure out but the fruit sandwich could be literally translated into "Fruit Sandwich you've yearned for". Our food was good (I got some Katsu Curry and Athena got a fish sandwich) but it seemed to take forever for our desserts to come out. I got Custard Cream, which basically means into Flan. Athena got a massive slice of choclate cake, by far the largest piece of dessert I've seen served in Japan.
We finished our meal and headed back into the museum which was getting close to closing. The place had been pretty busy earlier but now was almost empty. It was nice to see things up close and without all the racket. Still had the ringing in my ears but I could actually hear the aformentioned background music this time. We also spotted some neat features we couldn't when all the people were around, like how the waiting area for the movies is painted to look like an Onsen. Walked around for a while and looked at some things again before hitting the gift store one last time and left. Got onto the bus and took the long route back to the station. When we finally got to the station we didn't realize it so it took the bus driver repeatedly saying we were there for us to realize that we needed to get out. Took the train back to Shinjuku.
Athena needed to get some batteries for her camera so we stopped into a store and got some before walking around Shinjuku for a while. Didn't really know what to see or do but I came up with the idea of showing her the pet store that I'd found before. Needless to say, that was a fun but depressing little trip. All the animals seemed to be dead tired and just wanted to nap. One puppy was out of his cage, lying in a little fenced area on a hot water bag. His eyes were rolled back up into his head and he didn't move much so I couldn't tell if he was sick or just sound asleep. He didn't move much when I pet him but that doesn't mean anything. Athena got stuck looking at the kittens (who can blame her) and wanted very badly to play with some of them. Too bad they're so expensive.
We walked back towards the station, stopping at a strange looking shrine that I'd never noticed before. We went our seperate ways shortly after and I headed towards one of the arcades to play for a while before getting some delicious ramen for dinner. Went back to the arcade but started feeling tired so I headed home to finish up some writing and get to sleep at a halfway decent hour.
Photos for March 1st, 2007