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August 8, 2007

Toei?and Suginami animation museums

Filed under: Uncategorized — espeed @ 8:11 pm — Tags:

As per my schedule, today I explored two animation museums. It’s still hard navigating the city. I still get turned around in Boston from time to time, so I’m having to stay on my toes in order to get anywhere. This is a great spot to take a step back and talk about the Tokyo subway system.

To provide a bit of background, Boston has a fairly standard subway system, 3 or 4 lines which run to the various parts of the city.
It’s a good system so it’s not surprising that Tokyo follows it. However, in Tokyo there are two different subway companies, each requiring a different ticket in order to use their trains. So, I have to coordinate the different lines to the different companies which meet at various stations throughout Tokyo. Added to all of this are the non subway trains which permeate the city. These are essentially like amtrak trains, but there are like 10 different companies and it’s fairly choatic.

Another exciting thing is even if you find the right train, they don’t all go to the same place. I’m not sure of the difference of all of them, but some go to all the stations, some only go to the big ones, and some only go to super bigs ones.

Seriously, I tried to take a train to a destination. I take the “Special rapid” line instead of the normal “rapid” line. The special line ends up skipping my destination (Ogikubo) even though it’s a fairly big station bolded on my map. It just wasn’t big enough. There’s no real way of knowing this (not even in Japanese) until you get on the train, and then sometimes (the worse times) it’s only in Japanese. Place names are the worse kind of Japanese in my opinion as the only way to learn it is by learning each place by itself.

I start my day off a little late, but that’s okay because I budgeted a lot of time for the things I had to do today. I arrive at the station which is the launching point for my trip to the Toei animation museum (Toei is a large producer of anime in japan, fyi) but my directions are grim at best. They optimistically tell me to walk 15 minutes to the museum. Which is great, if I had known which direction to walk, or if there were turns, or if a magic word was needed or anything.

I figured it must be straight from the station exit, so headed off in my adventurous manner. I wasn’t feeling very good about that, since I’d walked more than 15 min, and no Animation Studio was to be found. I returned to my station of origin and worked up the nerve to ask a police officer (in my happy japanglish) where this place was. He gave me helpful directions in Japanese I mostly understood (the parts I didn’t seem, in retrospect, not to have been important), and I found the museum, which was essentially back the way I had tried the first time excepting for a left turn which I would have never figured out without help.

The museum itself wasn’t incredibly interesting. The best part about it was the air conditioning it offered. I picked up some cool stuff however so I can’t complain. It was all in Japanese so I didn’t obtain any deep insights but it was a fun trip none the less.

After that I grabbed some lunch at a McDonalds and headed for the Suginami animation museum with out much trouble.

The little access map made it seem the museum was close to the station, but it turns out it used a crazy scale that meant 20 -30 minute walk. Sure, it reccomended taking the bus, but I thought I shouldn’t take a bus when it was so close on my map.

The Suginami museum is truly a mecca for animation. They have booths explaining animation in general and the actually process for producing an anime.

They even have a workshop room where you can practice being an animator yourself, or being a voice actor and dubbing over a scene.

They had a library and a showing theater all of which were pretty awesome.

After I was done there I explored a department store (second biggest in the world) in Ikebukuro and watched some kids place basebal at Ueno park. Fairly good over all. Mad tired though.


  1. HI !
    Sounds like that second museum was a winner and worth all the trouble to get there. I am sure it will get easier to move around as you get more practice. I remember when you wouldn’t go anywhere in Boston because it was too much hassle ! and now you zip around there pretty good. Guess you don’t have 2 years to practice in Japan !! I know you can do it !! Stay safe and have fun, Love, grandma

    Comment by grandma — August 8, 2007 @ 11:28 pm

  2. That’s McDonald’s twice in a row!
    Japanese food can’t be that bad, you know.
    So try something new!
    But not fugu.

    Man, that’s some crazy navigation if it can even throw off your sense of direction. P’rhaps you should’ve taken your easy button with you. XD

    Hope you’re feeling better. 🙂

    Comment by Stephie — August 9, 2007 @ 3:14 am

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