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September 2, 2007

Tokyo National Museum and the Ghibli Museum (Two sides of Tokyo)

Filed under: Uncategorized — espeed @ 4:41 am — Tags:

Over the last few days I’ve visited the titular museums, and I must say they certainly do depict different sides of Tokyo.

The first museum I visited was the TNM, using my nifty MIT ID to get a discount. Ironically, enough, I wonder how the guard knew it was legit. Maybe he just believed me, maybe he was familiar with the school, but I was sorta worried about them saying, “what the hell is this shit, I can’t read this, what are you trying to pull!!?” Moments later I would be carted off by the police never to heard from again. That would probably have been much more exciting than the museum itself.

I’m sure many people visit this place and exclaim over the history and everything and I’ll admit I learned a lot of cool things. However, I found it repetitive and a bit contrived. My negative review could have been the result of not feeling that good, but it’s not the kinda of place I’d recommend unless you had some specific interest in old Japanese things.

The coolest things they had were samurai swords but they didn’t have any really cool stories behind them. I wanted to hear about how this sword was used to kill some really important guy in the battle of really important. One of the biggest disappointments was the lack of Ainu stuff. They had a section devoted to it and some Okinawan culture but there was 1 thing from Hokkaido, and the rest was from Okinawa, which, while a good place to vacation, is not very interesting as far as things they used to make a long time ago.

I don’t regret the trip, because I learned a lot of little trivia which I might be able to reuse again in some sort of quiz game or something, but when the best part is the museum shop, you know a place isn’t really top tier.

Regardless of the quality of the museum, it without a doubt showcases the classic old side of tokyo, a place with a deep, rich, ancient history remnants of which can still be seen today.

Fewer and fewer remnants, The japanese don’t really care about their past either, this is evident in their continue destruction of it as they modernize everything for the future. All is not lost though, I saw several students who seemed to be completing some sort of assignment for school. Long live that age old tradition of forcing kids to care.

The Ghibli museum however, is pretty much the opposite. It’s only a few years old, and built in a great, fantastic (relating to fantasy) manner. It also showcases modern animation (mostly the stuff Studio Ghibli produces) as opposed to ancient sacred artifacts.

Unsurprisingly, the place was a lot more crowded. I had to buy a ticket 3 weeks in advance for a Friday afternoon. Not only are the tickets for a specific day, but they also restrict what time you can come. I had to show up between 12 and 12: 30 or I was shit out of luck. (You can read about my adventures buying the ticket in an earlier post.) A bus from Mitaka station would get filled with about 35 people (it held 12) and make the short trip to the museum.

If Tokyo National Museum was smart they’d do something similar, they could keep all their old stuff, but they should also open an exhibit on some really popular modern technology or anime, then all the kids would come to see that and maybe they’d stay around to check out the historically significant things as well.

In any case, the Museum was awesome, I got to screen a Studio Ghibli short animation, as well as check out examples of every part of how animation works.  The best part was all the examples were from the awesome films Studio Ghibli makes so it was even more interesting.

No pictures were allowed inside the museum, so I don’t have photos of some of the really awesome things, but I have pictures of the outside which were pretty awesome as well.

After that I went to Nakano, which has a shopping complex called Nakano Broadway, which has lots of stuff including a huge amount of anime and manga related items.

It was interesting finding it, I had to ask like 3 different people before I narrowed down the random place where it was located.  Fun times indeed.  They also had antique stores which sold the most random junk.  I was like man, little old Macdonald’s toys must be a really hot item in japan for them to be selling them as antiques at premium prices.

Just one of the mysteries of Japan I suppose.

1 Comment »

  1. I heart studio ghibli. or more specifically, Miyazaki. or most specifically, Princess Mononoke. lol. pretty cool place I imagine.

    Comment by Jessica — September 3, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

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