In the summer of 2011, my fellow instructors and I decided to make a trip to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. We all enjoy Miyazaki’s films, so it seemed like it would be worth a trip.
[Myself, near the front gate of the Studio Ghibli Museum]
Getting tickets, however, was something of a challenge, and not for the faint of heart. Tickets can ONLY be purchased in advance, for a specific time slot, from an evil technological contraption called a Loppi machine, which can ONLY be found in Lawson’s convenience stores. Japanese people have difficulty with Loppi machines, and there are no foreign language options available. You are so screwed.
[Heheheh...Megan with the Loppi machine...j/k]
Once you manage to get to the point of choosing the tickets, however, you’re hardly any better off. Tickets tend to sell out at least a month in advance (at least for weekend days), so you need to plan your trip far in advance. We struggled to find an available slot when all three of us could go.
[Myself with the dust bunnies]
Speaking of tickets, even the tickets for the bus ride from the train station need to be purchased from a small, archaic contraption near the bus stop. We missed the bus because we were stuck waiting in line for the machine (but the buses are, mercifully, fairly frequent). Of course, it’s really not far. You could walk, too.
[Megan at the water pump]
But all the hassel was effort well spent. Pictures are not allowed inside the museum, so everything you see here is from on the grounds outside, but suffice to say that the museum is nothing short of magical. My only regret is that, being over the age of 12, I was not allowed to play of the giant, plush Neko Bus (Cat Bus). There was a large, walk-in Neko Bus that mature adults could walk in and have a seat in…but it’s really not quite the same, is it?
I’m also not allowed in bouncy castles.
[Left to right, Megan, Arthur, and myself... looking thoughtful.... intelligent... like reflective practicioners, perhaps]
We screened a short clip that’s not been released to the public; we stopped in the cafe to rest and enjoy some delightful desserts that were made right in front of us by some friendly chefs; and we hit up the souvenir store and each made our purchases (just a Neko Bus pin for me, as I was hell bent on saving money that summer). Overall, it was an excellent day.
The Studio Ghibli Museum is highly recommended for any Miyazaki fan. And as for getting tickets, if you can, ask a Lawson’s employee for help. There’re among the few people in all of Japan that know how to use the accursed Loppi machines.