Japan – Tokyo, Studio Ghibli, Harajuku, Robot Cafe

24/04/16

I had booked my tickets to studio Ghibli before I headed out to Japan, through a JTB company online. It appears it’s the only way to get tickets as thy can thn control how many people enter per day. To get there I took the JR Chuo line to Mitaka it cost 440Y return, and only took 20mins. Once out I followed the signs and started walking there which is roughly 1km away, there was a cute little sign to tell me I was in the right direction.

When I arrived I met a fellow Ghibli fan who was also travelling alone, so we teamed up and went inside. There are unfortunately no pictures allowed inside bur you can take some outside, and even though I would have liked to get some momentos I really glad that this museum is special to the visitors only. Inside it’s like a cute house, and the first room we entered was a background in cell animation, through my work I understood how it worked and was happy to explain it to my new friend, I was seriousy geeking out. I think my favourite room was seeing the workspace of the Ghibli team, and see how the production works. I couldn’t believe that there were 4 thick books which made up the storyboard of one film, but each page had 5 sketches with details about movement and camera movement. It showed us the reference books they used to create the intricate backgrounds, the different facial expressions they created, and also how they coloured each cell up. I was surprised to learn that they coded each cell before it was coloured, which makes so much sense if team are working on it and need to keep continuity. I loved seeing it all come together, the style is just so beautiful.

There was a short film that we could watch which was exclusive to ticket holders only, I feel this was definitely a highlight and even though it was all in Japanese the storyline was beautifully shown within the animation. Spoiler alert, it was about an old Japanese couple who find out their mice that live in their house are competing and failing at sumo wrestling. They end up cooking the mice a power meal who then go on to defeat the other mice. The movement of the fight was incredible and I loved every second.

There was an exhibition but it was all in Japanese, and the catbus is purely for children. I enjoyed the museum thoroughly and if you enjoy even just one of their films it’s a definite must see.

I headed back to Shinjuku with Julia to eat some lunch, we came across this ramen place called Ichiran which Julia had heard about. We did have to find another branch as the first one had a 50 minute wait, but it was so worth it. We had to order everything on a ticket machine beforehand and fill out a preference sheet on how we’d like our ramen. Once in we were taken to a booth, one booth each! We were able to fold back the divider so it wasn’t so lonely, and then we gave the chef our tickets and he closed the blind. It’s a great place if you want some privacy! The ramen was delicious and I had a matcha tofu dessert which was also really tasty, it cost me in total 1500Y as I added in a lot of extras but the ramen alone is only 790Y.

After lunch we headed to Harajuku again to see how it was at the weekend as I had heard it’s when all the lolita girls are out, I was a bit dissapointed not to see any! I did have another walk down Takeshime st and checked out the Daiso which was ok and really busy. I got a fancy candyfloss from this shop where there were 3 stalls inside to create 3 different colour combinations, and they all had a ton of candyfloss in their hair. It was so delicious and similar to the one I ate in Seoul. The main place I wanted to go was the La Foret department shop, so we took a walk inside. Here there was some more crazy styles of clothing and many items were hand made. It was very trendy and had many floors to wander! On the basement level there is all the lolita clothing, and I was so happy to have found it as this was the main reason why I wanted to visit. Julia and I decided to try on some lolita dresses, they were so expensive as they were so detailed and they felt so heavy. Unfortunately they wouldn’t allow us to take pictures, but I took a couple sneaky ones on my phone. The dresses are really well made and very intricate, but they are pretty crazy and my mum thought it looked horrible, ha! I actually thought I looked really cute.

For the evening’s entertainment I had booked us in to see the robot show in Kabuchiko, I had no idea what to expect and I’m still not sure if I was pleasantly surprised… The decor of the entire place is mental and so much fun, and in the main arena we sat in three long rows either side of the floor. I’m really happy we were not on the front row as they kept having to lean back to avoid all the props. There were lots of dancing girls and big props, the robots weren’t so spectacular as they only really moved around and didn’t actually ‘move’ any more than around the floor. I found a lot of the robots were outdated, some weren’t working and some looked really grubby. Don’t get me wrong it was a crazy Japanese enthused night out and extremely entertaining, but it is something that you could miss and not be too sad about it!

 

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