Sunday, December 24, 2006

- tokyo chapter: mitaka & kichijouji -

currently listening to - hitoiro (nakashima mika)
mood - bored

20 dec. wednesday. we booked one of our todai seniors for dinner that night. actually none of us have met him before.. he was more like a "legend" thats being mentioned in the other seniors' conversations from time to time. found out his contacts from someone recently.. and since my friend and i came all the way to tokyo (from an unexplored region called oh-sah-kah) why not meet him in person for at least once? .. was our common intention. by then we still had our wednesday afternoon free, so we thought of going to the ghibli museum in mitaka (which, our senior said, was quite near the todai dorms).

the problem is, we didnt know which train station exactly should we get off. since the ghibli website said it's in mitaka, we took a train to mitakadai, which has the word "mitaka" in it (so it shouldnt be too far away from where we're supposed to go).. but it turned out that we were supposed to get off at JR's mitaka station (we were taking some other line...). and that it would take us ages to go to the museum from mitakadai. no wonder it (mitakadai) looked a little too inaka and lack of mood for a place for museums..

enough said. 1st we headed to the nearest Lawson at mitakadai to purchase entrance tickets for ghibli (dont aks me why, but the website said we can only get the tickets from Lawson), and rushed for mitaka.. yeah, there are 4 entrance hours for ghibli museum in a day: 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. it was already in the afternoon, so the only choice left for us was the 4pm one, and when we left mitakadai it was almost 4pm..

it's been a while since i last ran.. maybe for more than a year. i know ever since napfa ended i havent been marathon-ing or doing anything of that sort. that day (at long last?), i was offered the golden opportunity to display my athletic power by fast-jogging to the museum from mitaka station (approximately 1km). given time limit: 5 minutes (by the way the latest entrance time was 4.30pm). thinking back now, i wonder why could we still take our own sweet time buying onigiri from the convenience store during our race against time. hey, we're hungry okay... ate our tuna-mayo onigiri in the cold while half-running towards ghibli. just like marathon athletes drinking off water bottles, you know.. thank goodness there were many helpful signboards along the way. managed to reach the goal right before times up.
stage clear!! tetetete-tette-tettete--- (final fantasy's level up music)...
good job, folks.
as expected, the museum was a very oshare place. it stood silently amidst the dark woods, illuminated by the orange lights coming from a few antique lamp posts scattered around the place. it looked as though it was closed (shit, did we miss it?!?!) but the main gate was left open. so we ventured into this mysterious piece of land. we were greeted by an actual-sized totoro at the fake reception booth (where there's a sign saying "the real reception booth, this way"), and saw more antique-looking lamp posts inside.
too bad we're not allowed to take pictures of anything in the building (yeah we made it somehow..). basically we learned about how a ghibli movie is made, from phototaking (of nature and scneneries), sketching, colouring.. to techniques used to make motion pictures. saw a lot of drawings of howl's moving castle and gedo senki and stuff. extremely impressive works (by that i meant the paintings of sceneries. but of course, the others were very impressive too..). plus, there was a room for the making of wallace and gromit. and also a merchandise shop (i bought a makkurokurosuke doll and a laputa diary) and a cafe. on the rooftop, there was a huge Laputa robot, which we took pictures of it and with it.
another attractive spot was the restrooms (eh?).. no, really. they were very stylish too. look at the pictures and you'll know. the one with a bench looks like a cozy corner in a lounge but it's actually part of the restroom (there were urinals right opposite the bench). everything was, just like the outside, illuminated by orange lights.
when it turned 6, we left ghibli and headed for kichijouji station to wait for our senior(s). ghibli museum was sort of like the midpoint between mitaka and kichijouji station, so we could afford to go there by foot. we met 2 of my seniors, and ate in a restaurant in kichijouji. they were very nice people, more cheerful and friendly than some of the people of the same batch as us, i think.. we discussed and bitched about many things during our dinner: math tests in osaka gaidai, how did the seniors manage to enter todai, human relations, gossips...
later at night, we were escorted to the todai dorm. from kichijouji, we took as bus to shinkawa, and walked for some 10 minutes, before a few blocks of old (or not so new) buildings came into view. it wasnt as bad as it seemed. at least for me, their rooms are more spacious than the one that im living in currently. equipped with air-conditioner, bed, study desk and cupboard, and also bathroom, just like mine. but they have a tiny personal kitchen and internet connection, which i dont have. one thing about having a personal kitchen in the room is that it attracts pests, but it's definitely more convenient and you dont have to worry about booking a place for cooking when your stomach starts rumbling. quiet place. conducive studying environment, i suppose.
met a few other seniors from various countries who are currently studying in todai, and we had a small feast to celebrate (for the 2nd time) my senior's (the one whom we made an appoinment with) belated birthday. there, we continued our gossips and discussions about university life. it seems like many among the seniors dont really like tokyo, due to several reasons. if it wasnt for todai, i wouldnt have chosen tokyo, said one of them. oh well, like it or not, we juniors have already handed in our university application forms. no turning back.
we talked till half past midnight, and decided we should leave. the senios suggested that we have a one-night stay in the todai dorm, but we insisted on going back. so one of my seniors walked us back from the dorm. and it took us about an hour. man, it was freaking chilly. i was lucky for not falling sick after that. anyways we were very grateful for the senior who sent us back voluntarily. and the other seniors as well. for being so nice to us. if only we had more time we would arrange another outing with the seniors...

*****

1) inaka - rural. countryside. a perfect malay translation for "too inaka" = too kampung.
2) napfa - shortened form of National Physical Fitness Award (singapore). it's like a national-levelled PE test la...
3) oshare - stylish.
4) totoro - a grey forest spirit which is at least 3m tall (according to wikipedia) which appeared in one of ghibli's most famous works, My Neighbour Totoro (Tonari no Totoro). the word "totoro" is actually a mispronunciation of the japanes pronunciation of the english word "troll" (which sounds like "toro~ru").
5) makkurokurosuke - black round hairy bugs that appear in totoro.

2 Comments:

Blogger yukichi said...

hi ^^
my name is Vivian im from Brasil, i've been granted with a Monbusho Scholarship and i've been also allocated in the Osaka Gaidai for the first year ^^ but im really dont know anything about japanese so i think we are in diferent situations XD

there is something i would ask: how is the english level of the people studying there? im very worried about that~ people here say that the english level is pretty advanced but as i always thought i could survive with my english i hadnt worried when i applied for the scholarship exam xD and how is the study rhythm?

GAH!! im so sorry for bothering you i just dont wanna mess up everything~

by the way, a http://www.crisscross.com member who found out your blog ^^ its a international comunity, i dont know if you are already member of it~

THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! ;3

Monday, January 08, 2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger shiroyuu said...

helloo!!! wow you actually managed to find my blog in some place that ive never been to (i think).. i feel honoured. :D

so youre coming to osaka gaidai... haha good luck to you. i think the english standard here.. is above average? there are people who come from english-speaking countries, but most of the people here know english as 2nd or 3rd language.

by the way are you science or arts student? =)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007 6:11:00 PM  

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