Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tokyo Diary (Day 2) Ghibli Museum Part

First and foremost get yourself in the mood:

Today's journey was more than ordinary, for it was magical. I am going to share with you everything I saw and felt while at the museum, whether you want to read about it or not. During some of my darkest hours in life Miyazaki films were there to lift my spirits and give me hope. So I present to you my journey to one of the most special places on this planet.

Mitaka: Walking to the Museum
I decided that I wouldn't take the special museum bus and instead follow the signs. The walk to the museum certainly gets you in the mood for what is to come. You first walk down a street which has a creek running in the middle. Every now and then there are small bridges that cross it. And on the residential side were some very lovely homes with luscious gardens out front.

This area reminded me of San Francisco and Berkeley, due to the quaintness of the neighborhood and gardens.

A sign along the way, I am assuming it means don't let your pets do their business here.
A look down the street with the creek.
I turned right and went down a street to find this sign.

Tada! I made it to the museum. Bright and exuberant, I couldn't help put be entranced by seeing the museum in person.

Oh and if you still don't have a feel yet for what this is all is another video: (sorry language is German)

Before Entering:

Looking around I knew I was in for a treat. I got there early so there wasn't a huge crowd. I took a seat outside to eat a snack before going in and while I was sitting near the museum I couldn't help but feel lucky. But then I thought that my luck was not spontaneous, it was something I earned. To sum it up I felt like all the hardships I endured several years ago in America and surviving had helped me come to Japan.

Although, alone I celebrated inside myself and knew that it will be a great story to share with my family. I do wish I had someone there with me to giggle in excitement with...maybe next time.

Enter the Museum:
After you get through the door and down a flight of stairs you instantly feel the museum's charm all around you. There sun was shining into the lobby via a skylight above. The center area of the lobby was aglow with warm colors from the sunlight. I did my best to sneak in photos of areas I thought I could get away with.

Lobby area seen from the 3rd floor.

Lobby area and bridge as seen from the 2nd floor.

My favorite view, seeing the fan under the skylight.

Different Rooms...
The museum has housed in it differing rooms filled with stuff. I will go through each room from bottom to top, for that is the route I took. If you are not interested in the details then by all means just skip through. But I am going to blab about it anyways.

Bottom Floor: The Animation and Film Room
You walk into a room that is darkly lit and has ambient Ghibli type music playing overhead. Then your eye catches onto some moving light, and as you get closer you see set up an large oval glass display. Inside it is the robot from Laputa Castle in the Sky and animating all around our white doves. It looks so real you end up staring in awe. You want to know how it is possible and at the same time you wish you could take a picture.
(not my picture)
The eye moves away and is captured by other animated displays. These ones our boxes with animation cells positioned inside giving them a 3-D effect. You take a closer look and appreciate the brushwork.

But then you move along looking up and down as you walk. You begin to notice that this room has a particular feel, and it is that of nostalgia. It becomes apparent the Miyazaki has a love for old film reels and traditional animation. Do you remember the flip-book? Or that horse that spins in a wheel. A zoetrope. (picture found here)

(not my picture)
You end up feeling like a child as you watch all the characters bounce up and down, twirl and crawl. Mystifying, you feel as if the characters are alive. But one must move on, for there is more to see.

The animation room had other features, such as old film reels spinning and displays that you could spin yourself and watch the animation come to life on a little screen.

Second Floor: The "Piccola S.P.A" Room
Leaving the bottom floor I took a flight of stairs up to the second floor. I entered the Piccola room and my attention immediately became fixated on the walls. For they were covered in drawings, watercolors, and photos. As my attention changed to that of the room I realized that this place was set up like one of those old musty study rooms. There was an old desk with books, paper and watercolors on it. Along the walls near the desk were bookshelves lined with books. Here and there were tables with objects, books and more drawings.

The room gave off a feeling of a place for creativity and illumination. I was skeptic whether it was meant to replicate Miyazaki's real workroom or what he dreamed his workroom really looked like.
(not my picture)

So there I was feeling again mystified, but this time very impressed. As you know I have an artistic background and most recently have been trying to do watercolors. Seeing Miyazaki's real watercolor studies for the characters in his film was like being able to get an uncut first look at a master's work.

I took notice that he the images, backgrounds and scenery in his animations don't only come from his mind. Throughout this area were books full of his collections of photographs, some with pictures of shores, castles, differing landscapes and so on. Also there were specimens here and there such as, acorns and pine cones.

All the time I was taking notes, making sure not to miss out on what made this guy tick. All in all, this room was very inspirational.

Third Floor: Synopsis of the rooms
The rooms on the third floor were more functional than just for display.

Cat Bus Room:
A museum for animation would not be complete without a bunch of children running amok. And so there was the Cat Bus Room. In the middle is a large scale plush Cat Bus. Only little tykes were allowed to "ride" the cat bus. So there was a long line of excited and anxious little kids waiting to get their turn to jump inside the Cat Bus. It was a really cute site!

Special Exhibit Room:
There was a special exhibit called "Mini Louvre". And so they showcased small paintings from Rembrandt and similar genres. I didn't really care much for it considering that I have seen it before.

Interestingly, there was a small library on this floor. Books were a variety of actual Miyazaki compilation books. Yet I noticed that other books were novels that I guess Miyazaki considers important to his work. For example there were Japanese copies of "The Lord of the Rings" and "Animal Farm".

Ah, the gift shop. This place was a frenzy of museum goers trying to figure out what token to take home with them. I joined right in and found something for everyone even myself.

My favorite part was a large dresser like box that had small drawers with stickers and pins inside.

But I had to get myself out of there before I spent all the Yen I brought with me for this trip.

The museum is set up so that you don't really have an exact path to follow. Their intention is that you find your own way, making discoveries as you go along. So it is that you end up finding pathways leading to areas outside.

Here are the pictures from my walk about outside.

I found a kodama on the door within the stain glassed window.

A look around...

A gazebo with a pumping well within in it, and it was functional too. Kids would come and pump the well lever and water would come out.

Cafe with a watering hole to wash up.

Visiting the Robot Statue on the Roof:

Of course this was another special moment. If you have seen Laputa Castle in the Sky then you know exactly what this scene means. Ah...sentimental.

And this thing here below, was in the same was a kind of Rosetta Stone.
The staircase one has to climb to get to the roof to see the robot:

Looking around:
Goodbye...till next time

Although tired and weary, I didn't want to leave but knew I needed to get on with the rest of my journey. At this point, the museum was starting to get more and more visitors so the place wasn't as quiet as before.

On my way out I caught site of one window with a lovely shadow:

And another window with those lively dust bunnies from Spirited Away, tucked inside.Inspired and mystified I left the museum satisfied and whole. Thank you Miyazaki for all the magic you have given the world. And thank you to myself for bringing me here.

*The rest of my journey today took me around Kichijoji streets. I stepped inside a specialty cat cafe and had a delicious dinner. There is of course a blog coming about all that, but it is to sleep land that I must go.

*If there were excessive typos or grammar errors please excuse them, I was really tired writing this but tried hard to just get it all out.

Bonus~!: Video that details the ENTIRE museum:


  1. Are you going to credit the place that you got the "not your" pictures from? I'd like to know where you got them from.

    I'll keep my thoughts about sneaking photos when it's been posted not to to myself...

  2. Thankyou oh mighty blogger policewoman Amanda.

    I have gone in and added links to the pictures which are not mine.

  3. It's not a policewoman thing, Joy. Speaking from experience, it royally sucks when someone steals/borrows content without attribution.

  4. The place is amazing! Looks like you had a great time! I can't wait to go there!

  5. PhoenixStorm...oh God you have to go! It wasn't hard to get the ticket just do so the day before. And definitely take a look around the area.


  6. Amanda.. I understand your concern and I apologize for sounding snotty. Just sometimes your comments tend to always point out the mistakes in posts. So it gets to me. But I still think it is good to be fact-checked now and then, so not to give off erroneous information. >.<

  7. I know you've fixed it now, but I have to say, I'm also bothered by posts written by teachers in Korea (I know you're in Japan right now, but still) that steal content without attribution and break obvious rules (like trying to "sneak" photos at the museum).

    What are students learning when we set such poor examples?

  8. Diana I can see now that this is a concern amongst many. Although I have no desire to stop my habit of taking pictures where it is not allowed, I will try my best to give credit to photos I post which are not mine.

    I made a little boo-boo...can I be forgiven?

    (I was really tired last night and didn't do all the checking up on the post before publishing it.)

    As for "What are students learning.." In my mind I am thinking how will my students know I am doing this. I also think that out of all the types of foreigners out there in Korea and elsewhere I would consider myself to not be much of a threat. I mean that my behavior in the classroom is probably cleaner than some.


    When did blogging get to be so difficult?

  9. Honestly, I get that people should give credit when photos aren't theirs but she said she will credit and that really should be the end of it. I also don't get how the students would even know about our blogs. To solve things, if you don't like the blog then why visit it?

  10. Great post, Joy!

    I don't think Joy's students are learning anything from her sneaking photos of things that make her happy in museums, unless she does it in front of them, or teaches them to disobey signs. Bringing her students into this topic seems like a bit of a red herring, doncha think?

    I can't imagine why my camera has a "museum" setting on it if the odd museum photo is not allowed on blogs. It's not like she's selling pirated DVDs on the corner of Jongno Street and Insadong. If Joy's put in the credits where they belong, I hope we can all get back to wishing her an AWESOME vacation in Japan!

    Have a good one!


  11. Whew....I'm relieved that I only try to correct Joy's english in her posts, which in fact DOES impact her students!
    I haven't heard anyone other than moi respond to that in these posts??
    AND, I would be grateful if others would pick up on that cause, as Joy has always had a unique way of putting her English words together (not grammatically correct) in her native tongue!
    I definitley have a parental theory as to why & will spare the details here, unless someone requests that I spill these beans!

    Never-the-less as an Instructional Technology/Distance Ed. doctoral candidate/student and video/print media producer I am v. keen on proper references & citings in "scholarly" documentation or material for "formal" public broadcasting or print. question whose answer is vert important for the work I am doing is: Do we now consider "blogging" as "formal" public broadcasting with the same rules that apply to other media or referencing/citing sources w/in blogging as simply a "courtesy" or "unspoken RULE" ??

    So good folks....that is my question! And your replies much appreciated.
    Othewise....I'm in awe of Joy's adventure and must confess that I'm guilty of shooting in forbidden places also, however, I'm not as out front about announcing it!
    And acknowledge that in itself doesn't make it honorable!

  12. Hey, Thanks Rob ;) I don't know why things got so serious on here.

    Mom, I have always agreed with you that my grammar style needs help. In fact it has always been this way.

    I think that is more serious than citations.

    Anyways I am just going to enjoy the rest of my trip and try to forget this drama~

  13. Ahhhh...don't take this "drama" too too seriously!
    It seems everyone is really "caring" deeply about their "thing"!
    Which is to be applauded, as well as your adventurous spirit!
    Can't wait for the next installment!

  14. Personally I think the importance of citation and style in blogging depends on what kind of a blog one wants to have. I can think of some scholarly blogs that would lose some credibility if I spotted a lot of usage errors, and would lose all credibility if they didn't cite sources.

    On the other hand, personal blogs are more like a more elaborate form of writing home, or texting friends... in that case, I think anything goes.

    For anyone who wants to take writing seriously and improve their craft, I can't recommend any book more emphatically than "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk jr. and EB White. It's the book which not only explains, but at the same time demonstrates excellent, simple, clear, accurate but lively writing.

    On the other hand, I have a friend who's dyslexic, and boy, he's sure not TRYING to spell those words wrong, but... readers just gotta give him a break, you know?

    It can be found at most major bookstores, even in Seoul.

  15. First, Joy, I'm so sorry you think I'm so critical of you. All I asked was if you were going to tell us where you got them from. It was one question, perhaps read with a harsh tone.

    Second, I know MANY English-teacher bloggers who have been discovered by their students, ranging from elementary school to college. It's not that surprising and if you think you're completely anonymous, you're kidding yourself.

    Third, to answer your mother's question, I think you look unprofessional at best to borrow content without attribution on an academic blog, and rude at best to steal something on a personal one. Embedded YouTube videos have a link at the end, which makes those easy. But for everything else, a quick link isn't hard. Plus, when you link to another blog, they often find you in their stats and then link back to you, thus getting you both more readers and...ahhh, good blog karma all around.

    Fourth, as for photos in museums, the museum usually has better photos of whatever you want to take a picture of and the proceeds from selling those books, postcards, and prints helps run the museum. Of course many cameras have a museum setting...for museums that allow them.

    Fifth, I completely get what Diana is saying about teachers setting poor examples. But perhaps it's because we both come from US public settings, where this is drilled into our heads in teacher education problems, through the state licensing board, and in the district itself.

  16. Roboseyo --

    On the subject of museum photos, the contention wasn't that museum photos aren't allowed on a blog, but rather that they shouldn't be taken when signs prohibit photography. For anyone who wants to use the museum setting on their camera, there are plenty of museums (here in Korea) that do allow photos. For example, the National Museum near Yongsan in Seoul, the Natural History Museum in Mokpo, and the Gyeongju National Museum in - where else - Gyeongju all offer this ability to patrons. If a museum doesn't have signs posted I can understand taking liberties, but ignoring that request when signs are posted in every room of the museum seems a little rude to me.

    For mrziriz --

    Pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes on another person's blog might be helpful to the author but it can also be taken in the wrong spirit. I catch mistakes in my own writing often enough where I'm not going to fault anyone else for something similar. Unless it seriously impairs readability on what might otherwise be an intelligent post I would rather just shrug my shoulders and keep reading.

    For Joy --

    I also agree with Amanda and Diana that it would be nice to see links to the photos you've used from other sources. There are plenty of sites that have no problem with reprinting images elsewhere - and thus this doesn't necessarily have to be about "stealing" - but if I find a photo interesting it's always nice to know where to go to look at more material from the same photographer.

    On the matter of students finding your blog, it is a definite possibility. I once had a supervisor come across my blog by chance, and there's also the story of Almond Tease to serve as a warning, although admittedly her site was found through unconventional means. Just because something is unlikely doesn't mean it's impossible. It also seems like a slippery slope to say it's okay to do something if your students aren't aware, but that you wouldn't want to have them know about or do themselves. Just to put that out there for consideration.

  17. Wow I am home and look at all the comments.

    From all this I have gathered that as publisher of words and media content it is my duty to make sure everything is given credit where credit is due. Certainly when I create future posts I will try to citate works or words that are not mine.

    I must say that I think I was too sensitive in my reaction to your initial comment. I took going to the Ghibli museum as something precious, and so when the only comment I got was yours...saying I did something wrong.. I took offense. But really you were probably just giving me a tip so that I can go back and correct it.



    I will consider now whether my elementary students can find my blog. I should not take for granted the tech savy skills of my students. But I think I would be more concerned if my coteachers found my blog.


    OK I am back Home and very tired... Thanks everyone for giving your 2 cents. ;) Enjoy the Lunar Calendar holiday

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Joy --

    It can't hurt to be keep in mind who might accidentally stumble across your blog when you write. :)

    My understanding is that - in the United States, anyway - high school and university students tend to use Facebook a lot, while middle school and high school students go for MySpace. To the best of my knowledge there isn't really a massively popular social-networking site geared toward anyone lower than middle school at the moment.

    However, when I ask my 5th and 6th grade students here if they have a CyWorld account several of them say that they do. (I think I've also had a couple 4th graders say that as well.) As such, they may be more likely to search for a teacher's name to see what comes up in the way of an online 'presence'. True, there are probably a lot of results that come up for "Joy", but you never know!

    (Comment reposted in order to use the same online identity as my earlier comment.)

  20. WOW!! It's v. nice that we're all communicating/interacting with one another here on Joy's blog!
    I'm really happy to get to know you folks around the world in this v. 21st Century way!
    I truly appreciate all your savvy comments & interest.
    Glad to hear that you made it "home" safe n sound Joy. And looking fwd to hearing/seeing more of your adventure in Tokyo!
    And before I forget - - - I don't think "citate" is a word in any language I English we use "cite"!
    AND that leads to the subject of
    YES indeed....STRUNK is the man!
    And I hope Joy does get a copy of his seminal work.
    I've often commented to Joy that as an instructor & role model of the English language in Korea she really needs to stay on top of her game in this regard!
    But this is coming from Mom....(more on that in a bit)!
    However, the only way correcting Joy's English will have any impact as with any type of instruction is if the learner wants to learn & practice the learning.
    In general I've reached the conclusion that my correction of Joy's English is best saved for our private emailing & not put out on this blog, for the same reasons that have been posted.
    HOWEVER, maybe it would work better if we all "got on her" about this, as I think between Joy & me this is just another one of those "Mom & Daughter" issues that is often met w/resistance simply because it's coming from me!
    OK....enough of our family stuff!
    Re: Joy's students finding this blog.
    I clearly recall a way back in the history of Joy's blogging she "privatized" a previous blog for various reasons. So I know Joy get's "it"!

    So sometimes I wonder why you've been so candid Joy about many of things you've discussed on this blog re: your employment & personal relationships??
    It's incredibly naive to think that one's tech savvy students, co-workers & bosses wouldn't be looking for you online! ????
    AND with that said I surely hope you don't cut me off immediately!

    Yes....let's give credit where it's due for all reasons mentioned & continue to enJOY Foreign/er!

    Cheerio from Ft. Myers, Florida where its a sunny & 73 beautiful degree afternoon!
    If any of you ever travels to this region of SW Florida I'd love to meet you ftf!


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