Monday, July 4, 2011

Tokyo part 1!

Tokyo ni ikimashita Part 1

Ahhh, I am back from Tokyo. Part of me is glad because Tokyo was a lot of work for me, though I had an
outstanding time, I can get back to cuddling with Hercules. He is rather happy I am back and being very
demanding of my attention. Now, it is also time to go back to school, awww. I decided to break my trip
up in to 3 parts, for the 3 full days I spent there. I will be sharing photos that I will not be posting
on facebook right away so make sure to check them out, though they are just alternative shots of the
same places ha ha.

Touchdown in Tokyo.

I arrived in Tokyo around 7:30 at the Haneda airport. Haneda is more for local travel though international flights stop through. From Haneda it was on me to head down past baggage and hop on the train. Since the taxi is around 7500 yen ($90) I opted for the train system. I wrote down long before I left that I needed to go to Shinagawa and from Shinagawa, I would take a taxi to my hotel. Of course I had no clue how much I needed to pay so I went to the information booth and took care of my fare this way. (I soon found out that when in doubt, INFORMATION BOOTH!) The ticket buying system has an English option, but without knowing where my destination was on the map, I had no clue how much to actually pay. (Though this is also not a problem if you don't pay enough, as I found out, they won't let you out if you don't pay enough.) Easy enough, now to hop on the train. I had no clue which train to take, 1 or 2, I believe either would have taken me where I needed to go but in my mind, it is now freak out time. Train 1 or train 2, well train 1 was the only one there and so I got on 1. Well, shortly after, because I am an over thinker and because a stranger kept bumping against me in a disturbing manner, I got off the train. I then realized there was no need for this and had to wait for the next train to come. Luckily, I wasn't waiting long and by looking on the local map I saw I was indeed on the right train. I made it to Shinagawa, out of the station and quickly realized unless you are actually IN the taxi line, the taxi will not pick you up. I made it to my hotel, the New Sanno, without too much trouble and felt VERY accomplished, very. I am a very smart traveler, but with a whole lot of "I'm a spaz" that traveler in me gets lost in translation.

The New Sanno is beautiful. If you are military, you must stay there. The services they offer are
worth the money, I paid $56 a night!! They make up for it though, if you eat there, you soon find out
why everything else is so cheap! (I found out my last night there, they have a food map of places to
eat at the hotel front desk.) The hotel is clean, the staff is friendly and fluent in English as well as other languages. They have service desks open during the day to help you find your way around Tokyo and I employed them every day. They really have everything you need at the New Sanno and again the service and the room made me feel like I was staying in a 5 star hotel. In my mind, it beats the Hilton hands down, though I have only stayed in Hiltons state side, not in Japan. I am sure anything accomendations in Japan trump much state side. Regardless, I truly felt the New Sanno was my home away from home. I quickly settled in, for tomorrow, I was going to the Ghibli Museum.

I was 1st introduced to Princess Mononoke and Grave of the Fireflies in high school by my then good friend, Heather Grice. This was the 1st time I was introduced to Studio Ghibli, and had no clue. I had been in love with Anime since middle school but these 2 movies were not at all my cup of tea. One was just weird and the other extremely depressing. A few years later, I saw a movie that would capture me in a way no anime had ever before, the movie was, Spirited Away. After that, if I saw that a movie was made by Studio Ghibli, I'd give it a watch, Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle, and I even gave Princess Mononoke another watch. I found that more often than not, I LOVED Miyazaki-San's work. I now collect his movies and I always new that if I ever had a chance to visit Tokyo, I would visit his musuem, the Ghibli Museum. So I did.

This place had me truly smiling from ear to ear, I felt like a kid, or rather, the adult that can still get lost in a world created just for that purpose, to get lost, to see someone's imagination spark your's. My photos are limited and makes the Ghibli Museum even that much more special, because you are not allowed to take photos of inside the museum, so I keep the images I saw that day close to my heart and mind. I saw people from many places there, Europe, North America, Asia (duh) and the sights were amazing. There is even a mini theatre to see shorts created for the Ghibli Museum by Studio Ghibli. The movie playing that day was a short about a little boy who went to play after a good rain, while playing he finds a cane and goes to pick it up, but a little bunny boy had the same idea. After failing to find a clear winner in a couple feets of boy strength, the boys deside to go see the bunny boy's grandmother and find out it is in fact, her cane and the boys are rewarded with hugs for finding it. Each ticket to the musuem (That much be purchased at Lawson, if you are in Japan) gets you a little slide from one of Hayao Miyazaki's film. I received one from the movie Princess Mononoke. I left at 9:30 am just to make sure I got there for my 2:00 pm entrance time. Good thing too, because I arrived at 12:00 pm, and of course, there was a "Misadventure of Talya Hood-Scott", I arrived ALL that way, from the New Sanno to Mitaka, a good hour and a half away and saw I left my ticket to the museum at the hotel. Of course I freaked, but after talking and waiting and with the help of an awesome staff (aka my knight in blue armor)
 I was able to get in the museum. Luckily, I know what my name looks like in kanji as well as knowing my 11 digit Japanese telephone number. The musuem was packed and shopping for things to bring home was almost too much to handle. I did score a very special music "box" if you will. Modeled after the character, Baron Humbert von Gikkingen, he is a magical, dashing cat figurine that comes to life in, "The Cat Returns". Played by Cary Elwes in the American movies staring the Baron, (Also in "Whisper of the Heart.), the Baron is one of my favorite characters, so I had to have this special item, no matter what. Another highlight of my trip to the museum was being able to sit in THE cat bus. If you ever have seen "My Neighbor Totoro" you don't even need to ask. For those who don't know, the cat bus is the magical transportation called upon by Totoro to take Satsuki to find her lost sister, Mei. The cat bus was
amazing, with scenes from the movie outside his "windows". He was soft and inviting, exactly what I would imagine him to be if he were in fact real.
       I didn't bother eating there, I just waited to get back to the hotel. I did have a snack, Japanese pear ice cream, more like sorbet. While I waited for my time to enter, after all I did get there 2 hours early, I walked around the park the Ghibli Museum is nestled in, got ate up my some hungry mosquitos, and had a friendly, or angry Japanese man come talk to me. He spoke only Japanese and asked if I was American. I understood this much only, after telling him "Hai, so desu" (Yes, that's right), he then asked me where in America, I only understood the "Doko" and "Amerika". I told him "Tennessee" and he seemed to understand this and either wished me well or told me to a kite...I'd like to think he wished me well as he biked off on to the trails. I ate a rice ball at Lawson, was called "kawaii" by some chreepy old man, and I attempted to buy another ticket, but they were sold out, and it turns out, there was no need anyways, as they found my reserved spot. I did not walk to the museum from the Mitaka station, as I figured I would get lost, so I bought a special ticket for the Ghibli Museum bus.

 My trip was over after I saw EVERYTHING in the museum and I decided to head back around 4:30 pm.
Believe by the time I got back to the hotel at about 6:30, I was so tired.

I was told by another American in my class that the Japanese will help you, they love to help foreign
people, and I found this to be slightly true. My classmate made it seem that they would be very curious
about me, talking to me, but only 3 people spoke to me, that I didn't know, the whole time I was there,
and it was only the one day I was completely by myself. I am okay with this, though I did stick out as
I was rather tall, I didn't want to attract too much attention, as they teach us not to in the military.
I did receive glances, but of course, I was looking too, and I felt very safe. My 1st thought was that
Tokyo was cleaner than Okinawa, though Tokyo had some smells that I was none too pleased with and I learned very quickly Okinawa is nothing like the mainland when it comes to being Japan, but of course, Okinawa is not Japan, only by law, so I can understand the differences. I would totally go back to Tokyo by myself, though like any big city, there are dangers too.

Next up, my day at Asakusa with my good friend Mari and her mother, but for now, Sayonara from the Scott!

A side story about the Baron in his first movie, "Whisper of the Heart": A grandfather onces traveled
to Germany to attend college and there met a beautiful woman and they fell in love. One day while
shopping, the couple stopped at a cafe where the Baron and the Baroness had caught their eyes. The 2 cat figurine's eyes were made out of stunning jewels that glittered in the light. The, at the time, young grandfather, decided to purchase the Baron one day, but the cafe owner could not sell the Baron. You see, the Baroness was in another shop receiving repairs and the cafe owner would never split them up, they were only to be sold as a pair. The beautiful woman, Louise, told her Japanese boyfriend, who was to leave Germany very soon, that she would buy the Baroness once she returned and keep her until he returned to Germany to be with her once again and both her love and the shop keeper were fine with this option. The grandfather promised, that once he returned, they would be togehter. After the man left with the Baron, and made it back to Japan, war soon broke out, he made good on his promise and returned to Germany years later, after the war, but the cafe was gone, and Louise was no where to be found.

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