Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Japan 2016: Mitaka

We got up at 6:15am, got everything packed and left the hotel, making the 7:04 Kintetsu Express to Kyoto. At Kyoto station, we bought brunch and boarded the 8:24 Tokyo bound Shinkansen. Then we got into Tokyo station and boarded the local express to Mitaka, where we got off at the wrong station exit so we could use the rest room, and then went back to find the Studio Ghibli museum bus.
Ever since he saw My Neighbor Totoro and accumulated a posse of stuffed Totoros, Bowen's been a big fan of Totoro. The museum, unfortunately, did not let you take pictures inside!
From Japan 2016
From Japan 2016
From Japan 2016
From Japan 2016
Though small, the museum was very well done, including a cat bus play area (which you needed to line up for), a maze, a movie theater (which your entrance ticket doubled as an entry stub), displays and examples of animation, including a stroboscope display that was just amazing. It's well worth the visit, though you probably should have planned better than I did and not pay scalper prices for tickets.
After that, we visited Ryu's AirBnB which were an hour away. Ryu had his house keeper waiting for us so we moved in. Xiaoqin was tasked with buying some items for her friend, so we went to the closest tax-free department store. Wow, women's cosmetics, it turns out are just like cars and houses --- the profit margins are so high that it's worth while for companies to pay commissioned sales people to sell them to you. I did have one last item to get from Japan, which was 64GB Vita memory cards. Those cost $100 in the US, but $75 tax free in Japan, but you have to buy 2 to get the tax deduction, so I bought 2 knowing that I could flip one if necessary.

On our last day, Ryu picked us up from our AirBnB and drove us to the train station where he showed us how to take the SkyTrain to Narita airport. It's a fast 45 minute trip via express train and got us well-rested for the hyper-stressful 9 hour trip back to the USA.

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