We followed the themed roadsigns to the museum, through the streaming rain. My raincoat is pretty good, but when it gets really wet, it starts to leak through slightly... When we arrived, my shirt was pretty damp. Coupled with the high temperature (23 Celcius) and the high humidity, it was hard for me to cool off, so I spent most of the day smelling like wet dog... Luckily klik had a perfume spray with her, so I could mask the worst of it...
We exchanged our JTB exchange order for the actual tickets -- three film frames of a Ghibli movie, I can recognise one as frames from Spirited Away, while the other may be from Nasicaä -- and we put our umbrellas, bags and coats away.
The Studio Ghbili museum ("Musee d'Arte Ghibli") is the result of a rigorous attention to detail. Everything is themed, from the water fountain to the stained glass windows. It's pretty small, but packs a lot of stuff. One room shows how animations are made. Centrepiece is a large display with a rotating set of puppets (of Mei, Totoro, the Nekobus and others) in different poses. It rotates and is flashed with a stroboscope, and suddenly you see these puppets move very smoothly! There's a few displays about (perceived) depth, and two displays about loops in animation -- there is one unending reel, that is illuminated in several different places, so you can all watch the same movie in different stadia at the same time.
Upstairs from there is a replica of Miyazaki's working rooms, with lots of (original?) production sketches and character studies. Lots of reference works too, like anatomy books and a reel of a galopping horse. There are also books with storyboards, and stacks of cells from Porco Rosso, and an exhibit on coloration, which also shows you the backside of a cell...
There's an exhibit about the Louvre (why that is, is anybody's guess), there's a gallery showing the Ponyo trailer, there's the playroom with the "giant" Nekobus (along with some plush sootballs), and there is the queue to put yourself on the photo with the Laputa robot on the roof. There's the library containing books that inspired some of the works of Miyazaki, and there is the indispensable museum shop.
There's also a café -- we had to wait for close to 45 minutes before we could get a seat. I think it could be done more efficiently, but that's just me... Meanwhile the hotdog counter was doing brisk business.
And, there's the "Cinema Saturn", which shows one of six short films that are shown exclusively in the museum. This month, it was Kujiratori, which featured a good-natured whale with huge teeth. Great fun, though I didn't understand everything the kids were saying, as the movie lacked English subtitles (but it did feature subtitles in Japanese!).
And then it was time to get back. By the time we got to the station (though, once again, the rain) the afternoon rush hour was starting to pick up steam, so we decided to go directly back to the hotel to freshen up (read: get out of the stale-smelling clothes) before heading out again to eat. Apparently tomorrow the weather will be better. I sure hope so, because the rain isn't really helping with the enjoyment. Luckily today we spent most of the time indoors, but tomorrow we want to check out the Ginza, which will be a bit of a hassle with an umbrella.
Memorable moments of today:
- Getting separate paper bags for all our purchases at the "Mamma Aiuto" museum shop, so that we can make presents of everything we purchased. Don't get your hopes up: we'll be keeping all of it to ourselves!
- People completely failing to see (or completely ignoring) the queue and stepping into the Straw Hat Café, only to be directed to the end of the queue by a waitress who would immediately plot an intercept course;
- Me completely failing to take a snapshot with a mobile phone (of the two people who photographed us in front of the robot on the roof). Luckily, the Japanese guy behind me knew what to do, and he took the picture(s).