Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pilgrimage to Japan

When I was 17 years old I discovered the wonderful world of Anime and Manga. Let me say that I was an obsessed fan till the age of 24. I am still a great fan but not as obsessed with it.

During my time as a fan I made it a point to not just watch and read this stuff but understand the culture from which it came from. For me Anime was the gateway for my whole-hearted interest in Asia. I think for most Americans or other Western folk, especially those who live in rural areas, Anime is a way for us to see that there is a bigger world out there.

I think every Anime fan dreams of going to Japan, as if it were some kind of pilgrimage.

So it is with much anticipated excitement that I tell you that I am going to Japan next week!

Sure I could have gone to the sunny relaxing beaches of Thailand, but as I was thinking this in the back of my mind I couldn't help but feel I was missing out on going to Japan.

Anyways here for you is my itinerary and trip goals:

  • Travel dates are 1/20-1/24 (4 nights and 5 days)
  • Staying in Tokyo
  • Flying there

We really have to thank BK here because he helped me so much with getting a plane and hotel deal. And the total price was below 1 million won or $1,000 USD.

The hotel he booked is the Comfort Hotel Tokyo Higashi Nihombashi. For more detailed pictures of the interior check out this Korean website version.

Not too fancy but not too dirt cheap love-motel like.

Trip Goal / Studio Ghibli Museum:
If you have not seen the movie Princess Mononoke or any other Miyazaki film, then you need to wake up out of your cave and rent, download, buy, steal or otherwise just see one of them.

With that said I may no longer follow the Anime movement but I will always be a devoted Miyazaki fan. And therefore I must make a pilgrimage over to his Studio Ghibli Museum.

Since this place is one-of-a-kind that means that it is very popular. So the museum only sells tickets in advance and from places outside the museum.
  • Purchased inside your country. (I tried to get one through a Korean company here but apparently they are only sold to Korean nationals.)
  • Purchased via a kiosk inside a LAWSON convenient store in Japan.
I am going to have to go with the second option. After I arrive in Japan I am going to hunt down one of these convenient stores and try my best to get a ticket out of them. I am hoping that the store clerk will have enough courtesy to help a devoted crazed fan like me.

If I fail to get a ticket or they are all sold out, I think I will still just go to the museum and take a look at its exterior.

Wow! I have less than a week to get ready to fly over to Japan. What the heck do I need? Yep, here is the list:
  • Re-entry permit from Korean immigration. I need this in order to leave Korea and come back without any hitches.
  • Printing... maps, Studio Ghibli ticket info and other internet website info. I will go to a PC Bang to print this stuff or BK will print it.
  • Pay for the flight and hotel...transfer money to another bank account.
  • Pack!....of course not till later
  • Check out other places to go in Tokyo and surrounding area.
  • Get accustomed to Japan's subway system.
  • Exchange Won for the Japanese Yen. (Time to empty the bank account!)
  • Calm down from being so excited.
  • Thank BK a lot.
To help me on my journey I stopped by Kyobo bookstore (large bookstore here, has a big English language section. The Gangnam location is better.) yesterday evening and picked up some travel books.Okay well that is all I can think of mentioning about this new development in my life. I have to say I am overwhelmed with glee!

I should also mention that BK is taking me to a spa this weekend so I get to relax a bit before I head off traveling.

Thank you so much baby!!


  1. You're American. Did they quit giving Americans the multi-entry visa automatically? Look at the visa stick. Does it say M?

  2. OOoooo it does say M under entry ...

    A little detail yet so important. haha

  3. You're going to have such a blast! I'm envious! Write all about the museum I love Miyazai and have been trying to find an english subtitled ponyo in seoul. no luck.

    safe travels!

  4. Thanks Pheoenix Storm. I too want to see the newest film..even feeling willing to go and watch it without subtitles haha.

    I am going to bring my labtop and hopefully not be tired enough to type something.

  5. Oh, there's LOTS of subtitled Ponyo showings. They're just all subtitled in Korean ^^ CGV had dedicated English-subtitle showings at their Yongsan location, but only for Korean films. You're better off getting a street dvd for subtitles.
    Even if you don't have an multiple-entry visa, it only takes about twenty minutes to get one at the airport. Sounds like you don't need it though.
    I'm so envious of your trip . . .

  6. Hi,
    Ah yes I think I don't have to worry about the multi-entry thing now.

    Maybe there is a bootleg Ponyo to download..hmm

    You went to America so I am envious of that haha!


  7. Hi Joy,

    This is Kim, Garrett's wife. I know we have not met but I wanted to reassure you that you will probably get into the Ghibli Museum. We were there at the height of cherry blossom season and we got our tickets the day we visited the museum with no problem. And if I am not mistaken there is a Lawson convenience store within walking distance of the museum. The museum was crowded but not unbearable.

    Also, if you plan on taking Japan Rail anywhere outside of Tokyo do yourself a big favor and buy a Japan Rail Pass before you go. You can only buy these outside of Japan. They seem expensive (we paid $300 for a week of travel) but it paid for itself the first round trip from Tokyo to Kyoto. The subways are not expensive, but JR Rail is very costly. I am not sure where you can buy the pass in Korea because we were still in the States when we got ours. Maybe your boyfriend can help you.

    I probably have a ton more advice for you but this comment is getting pretty long. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  8. OOO Thank you for the reassurance Kim~

    I am going to stay inside Tokyo and see what I can in the amount of time I have. Hopefully I will come back to Japan to see the other places.

    Sure if you have any advice spit it out!!! I am going completely blind, except for what I read in my book, online and basic knowledge of how metropolitan life operates.

  9. GO JOY!
    Be careful w/your valuables on this adventure, that includes YOU.......ok!!
    Hey, whatz a Momz for anyway?!!

    I wouldn't say that you're "socially dysfunctional"...that statement is too, way too severe!
    Maybe just a brave hearted artistic adventurer soul who needs some work in that area!

    ps. Please don't worry about souvenirs for me, unless the Macbook Pro is on sale there!


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