Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Studio Ghibli Tour - Hayao Miyazaki

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I've always been a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki's animated films since I was introduced to Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind way back when. My friend Pete lent me the manga, I hunted down a bootleg VHS of the movie with fan subs on usenet, and I was hooked. I'm still very happy that some of his films make it over here to the mainstream thanks to John Lassiter of Pixar and his newfound power at Disney. Princess Mononoke is probably the most famous and the Disney re-dub is very watchable.
The bus to Studio Ghibli

So, when Pete went to Japan to teach English to schoolchildren, I went to visit and had to make a pilgrimage to Studio Ghibli, where Miyazaki and friends make their films. Tours are available daily. I visited Disney's classic animation studio years ago at Disney World, and there you mostly get to see artists drawing away. Ghibli is more of a hands-on museum for kids. Photography is not allowed inside, because original art plasters many of the walls, including a mock studio that mimics Miyazaki's work desk, covered with production sketches and storyboards.
The patio gardens

There's a plush playground model of the Cat Bus from My Neighbor Totoro for the kids to crawl into, and they have a theater that they show animated shorts on every hour. And every visitor gets a piece of filmstrip. Walking around outside there are large patios. They have a small cafe serving hot dogs, of all things, but a Japanese variety. The frank had snap but little spice, was on a round roll, and covered in alfalfa sprouts! But it was tasty enough. They have statues of the robots from Laputa and there's a life size Totoro, but he was inside due to the light rain that day.
Totoro's neighbor Salami-san

The museum is a short train ride from Tokyo and is worth visiting if you have any interest in their films.
Even the dog poop signs are cute in Japan.

4 comments:

  1. Did you get the film strip entrance ticket? The Ghibli Studio museum is really nice. The actual studio, two stops further out on Chuo line is also worth the pilgrimage if you can wing a tour appointment out of someone working there. It is every bit as cosy as suggested by the museum mockups. A modest facility, you'll easily miss the studio sign recessed into a flowerbed.

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  2. You sir have outnerded me! khaan!!

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  3. i oso wanna go....can tell whr is it?
    go to my blog leave comment....
    http://shinningseason.blogspot.com..
    but all chinese de..><...
    sry ya...
    im trying to translate it..hahas

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  4. All the info on how to get there is here:
    http://www.ghibli-museum.jp/

    it is in Mitaka outside Tokyo

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