Well this has taken a bit of time to get thrown up as we have been keeping ourselves reasonably busy if not at least distracted. So from where I left off last time we spent our time shopping in Harajuku, Shinjuku, Akihabara and Shibuya for clothing and other things. The end result for me is quite a few new figurines, an awesome Star Wars t shirt from A Bathing Ape and a new pair of Converse with which I’m quite happy.
So I might as well go on to describe how it all was then. Firstly the day we hit Harajuku on it seemed to be a special day for the Shinto Religion (we guessed new years prayers) as the entrance to Yoyogi Park, right next to the exit of the train station was absolutely packed with police guiding people to where they wanted to go. Once we got through the sea of people we ran into the next sea of people scrounging around through the back streets of Harajuku in search of the last new years specials. Our wandering group though only had one shop in mind though, the Neon Genesis Evangelion store that’s hidden away in the back streets (we still looked in others just didn’t chase a specific store). Unfortunately for us the shop was closed for that day only so we had to come back at another time (which we did the day after). After that it was a case of finding some lunch while we wandered in direction of Shibuya to catch our train out to the Studio Ghibli Museum.
For those not familiar with the name of Studio Ghibli I suggest reading their wikipedia page. Basically they are the number one anime film makers in Japan with every film bar one or two being a smash hit. Some names you might possibly recognize are Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbour Totoro and the only foreign film to ever win the Oscar for best animated feature, Spirited Away.
Basically they have a huge museum which needs to be booked in advanced as it is very very popular so we got our tickets well before hand and headed on in to enjoy it. Inside the museum it is incredible (no pictures allowed of it though) showing how early animations were done using characters from the various movies. It also shows room after room and storyboarding and the initial drawing, inking and colouring and the process involved through each step. Also within the museum is a cinema which shows a Studio Ghibli production that can only be seen in the museum which changes on a yearly basis. The one we got to see was a sumo competition between mice and how an old couple helps the mice (really hard to explain in this short space).
To sum it up it was a fantastic experience and well worth it in every way. Other then that its been mostly shopping so far with plans still to go to the Tokyo Museum and the Government Building lookout before we head off to Mt Fuji on the 8th and Kyoto on the 9th. In the mean time here’s a bunch more pictures.