Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mitaka: Ghibli and all it's glory; Suburban Tokyo and it's calm.

(FYI this is the bones for my power point for a class. I also added some personal notes and observations about the Museum at the bottom. Enjoy.)

Mitaka: Ghibli and all it's glory; Suburban Tokyo and it's calm.

Mitaka-General Information:
estimated pop of 175,995
Mitaka City officially founded Nov, 3 1950, but history dates back to 1590.
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan location
Mitaka City has a total area is 16.50 km²

In planning:
The Ghibli Museum website is very helpful.
Comes in English.
Brochure given to you at the Museum is written in many different languages.
Tells you how and where to buy tickets.
In Japan you can buy the tickets at the Loppi machines in Lawson.
(Hint for English speaking students: The Loppi machines don't really work the way they say they do on the website, but the lovely people at the Lawsons can help.)
Tickets are 1000 yen for adults.

Mitaka- How to get there and where it is:
From Shinjuku you can take the Chuo Rapid Line all the way to Mitaka.
It takes about 15-20 minutes.
Take about 30-40minutes on regular line.
210 yen from Shinjuku

From station, to Ghibli:
South Exit of Station.
Take Bus #9
Can't miss it, no really it's large and yellow and have a bunch of Miyazaki creatures on it...
bus is 200 yen one way and 300 yen round trip.
You can also easily walk from the station to Ghibli and back by following the "waterworks" (little river) that runs from one corner of the station to Ghibli.

Entrance to museum:
Museum opens at 10 am
Tickets are time, you must arrive at museum at the appointed time on your tickets or you will not get in.
Make sure you order tickets ahead of time!
Once in you can stay until the museum closes
Museum is rather small so you probably won't need much time.
Get there early to get in front of the little kids >.>

The museum its self is very small,
About 7 rooms, including the book store and gift shop.
Saturn Theater: what your ticket money really goes to.
Interactive exhibits.
Cafe is expensive, but there is smaller food stand that is reasonable.
Pack a lunch, or have a big breakfast and go eat somewhere in town.

Museum Part Two:
The architecture is amazing.
Be sure to pay attention to the small details around the building.
Teaches you a lot about animation and film in general
Saturn Theater performances change every few weeks.
It is worth it to go just to see a miyazaki short.

Mitaka Park: Inokashira Park
Park next to Ghibli
Very nice place, very big. Popular during Cherry blossom season.
Lake in the park.
Land was given to Tokyo in 113 and park opened in 1918. Considered a gift from the Emperor to the people.

Mitaka Park: Inokashira Park Part 2
5 min walk from Kichijōji (JR Chūō line),
1 min walk from Inokashira Kōen (Keiō Inokashira Line)
The Park contains a small temple dedicated to Benzaiten
petting zoo and a small aquarium, vendors, musicians, artists and street performers gather

Mitaka City: The area around the station and what I found there.
There is a small foreign food market down the street from station.
Lots of nice food vendors in train station.
Good selection of fast food and traditional Japanese fare.
Cute boutiques.
Not really that much in the town, but I didn't look around that much.

Random writing time----------

The first room on entrance besides the Main Hall which the whole museum centers around is a room that shows how animation works. It actually took me a while to figure out that this was the actual purpose of the room. I assume it would have been more obvious if I could have read the descriptions on everything, but I at first thought it was just a cool place displaying Miyazakis work in interesting ways. There are many examples of Miyazaki's art, of basic sketches and figurines put to action. Its really cool to watch the giant spinning tree of Miyazaki characters put to motion the same way in a movie reel. With strobe lights and pillars. It actually looks a little like claymation or a Tim Burtain/Miyazaki compilation.

How it works: In old movie boxes a succession ofpictures would be spun in a cilindar with slots cut in the side. As it spun (fast) the pictures would blur together, with the added help of the slots, and look like they were one moving image. Movies do the same thing with the frames of movie film acting as the slots and light shinning from behind it to illuminate the pictures properly.

With the figure tree in Ghibli, they flash strobe lights on it (there is actually a warning about getting siezres from looking at it.) Resulting in the slatted effect caused by the frames in film and the slots in picture cylindars. The characters on the tree spin fast enough that it looks like an endless number of Totoros and Neko-bus running around the tree.

The Museum is small but has a lot of information on the art processes behind animation, and gives you a good look at just how hard it is. It realistically replicates a supporting animators work station, ciggarettes, tea, broken pencils and all. It gives wonderful insight to the art process, from some of Miyazakis original concept sketches that can be found in the Permanent Work Room exhibit on the second floor. Takes you through panneling, background and background layering, coloring, and to actual projection of the finished product.

The replicas of Miyazakis work spaces are amazing! The building it's self is a joy to explore. It's very clean and neat, despite the many children running around it is a nice place to sit and contemplate. Especially after visiting the interactive work space replications. You will want to try and draw a bit. The architecture and art making the museum are amazing them selves. You must be certain to always keep your eyes open for art and Miyazaki styles and strucktures hidden about.

The "cafe" is more like a restaurant and a slightly over priced one.I am happy I packed a lunch and picked up some extra snaks at Mitaka Station. There is however a little side booth next to the cafe that sells beer, hot-dogs, ice cream and other carnival like snacks and sandwiches. Again, a little over priced, but mich more reasonable. Packing a picknick to eat after exploring the museum in the park, or to eat on the patio of the museum for a break is highly recomended (also there is always a very long wait to get into the "cafe".

The gift store is also a bit over priced, and with not a great selection. But for cell phone charms and pins it's okay. There is actually a much better Ghibli paraphenalia shop in Asakusa next to the first gate into the main street. I suggest going there if you want Ghibli merchandise.

The place is very green and not in an over kept way. The plants are free to range around. The whole complex looks like a building out of a Miyazaki film. The inside looks a bit like the post-Sophie version of Howl's Castle, and the outside looks like something out of Nausica. Also, the Roof has a garden you can get a good view from. You can also take a picture with the Raputain on the roof and the little info cube from Raputa. It's very cool. The stained glass windows are also all worth a second look.

I hope you get a chance to go here and enjoy touring Ghibli as much as I did.

Travel on!
~Eve <3

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