Following the fish market, it took several attempts at two Lawson convenience stores in Tsukiji and Higashi-Ginza to purchase the tickets for the Ghibli Museum. Advance off-site purchase is required and the kiosks you purchase them from aren't bilingual. So if you plan on buying tickets, better print out this tutorial on how to navigate 'Loppi'.

The Ghibli Museum site directs you to Mitaka Station which is fine if you are afraid of getting lost. While the walk along the "Waterworks" to the museum is scenic (enough to make me rate the neighborhood my favorite outside Tokyo), a better stop to disembark from may be Kichijoji Station on the Keio Inokashira or JR Chuo lines. Getting off here gives you the opportunity to walk through the beautiful Inokashira Park. The town that surrounds the park is also worth a look, it incorporates the best aspects of a small town, like Millburn, NJ and injects it with some Japanese sensibility. It's beautiful, serene, the type of town you'll want to raise your kids in.

Architecturally, the museum is 'fun' reflecting the magical worlds in Miyazaki's films. There are recreations of the actual studio and work areas, tons of manuscripts and storyboards for the various Ghibli films are available for your perusal, characters models, props, random sketches, and watercolor backdrops, they are all here. On the ground floor, one of the most impressive displays was the 3D zoetrope that inspired Pixar's very own version for the MoMA exhibit a few years ago. To give you an idea of how one looks like, see this small LEGO 3D zoetrope by Gary Aden.

Visitors are also treated to a short film shown only at the museum. At the time of our visit, the film was Koro's Big Day Out, a film about a little girl and her puppy. Each visitor is only allowed one viewing which is controlled by a nifty movie ticket that incorporates three frames of a film.

Unfortunately, they did not allow photography in the interior, we took most of our photos on the roof where a huge giant casting of a robot soldier from Laputa: Castle in the Sky resided. The casting is huge, most individuals only reached the robot's knee. At the end of a path behind the soldier, was a cube from the same movie.

Suginami Animation Museum
After we left Ghibli, we decided to stop by the town of Suginami which hosts the Suginami Animation Museum. I'm sorry I dragged Terry to this museum. It was totally not worth the trip, the only thing that was semi-good there were the Doraemon cutouts and a huge elevated Doraemon model.

Mongolian Dinner Party
That evening we went to a Mongolian restaurant nearby Shinjuku Station (I think). The interior was a little ghetto, but it was impressive how they got it to look like the interior of a tent using very little materials. The owner / host made up for the decor, creating a lively atmosphere for the entire dinner. Everyone got to wear Mongolian robes and head gear, unfortunately I was stripped down to my undies within 5 minutes and made to compete in some lame arm wrestling competitions. Kevin and Terry somehow escaped the embarrassment. Won't bother posting the photos here.

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