Japan Day 6

Today, we went to see the animation exhibit at Museum of Contempary Art Tokyo (MOT). It was a good exhibit but our translator was using a quiet voice while there were animated bits blasting out their music and voices, making her hard to hear. The exhibit covered Japanese animation from it’s very beginnings1 to the present day. Again for the most part, cameras were forbidden but towards the end of the exhibit they had a mock up of Lupin’s car from Castle of Cagliostro which they did allow you to take pictures of (but no flash allowed). In that same area, they also had some of the pre-production art and key-frame art from Porco Rosso, which was so damn cool! 😀

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see any of the rest of the museum. *sad* On the bright side, they did have a wonderful gift shop where I picked up a small hand towel to use as a sweat wipe with Totoro embroidered on it — plus a couple of items for Ariesna.

After the MOT, we went to Mandrake which is a massive anime/manga/toy store in a large shopping area. It was kind of cool and I picked up a great gift for Ariesna2 but didn’t see anything that I wanted and could afford — there was a cell of Porco Rosso flying his plane, close-up on the cockpit area as he started to make a sweeping turn; but it was ¥60,000, making it more than just a little bit out of my budget. The shopping area was very crowded and very warm. When it was getting near the time we needed to meet back up at the train station; I started making my way back (we’d all split up by this time and I was alone). Fortunately, I ran into AWelkin and Bryon and we stopped for a drink. Bryon and I had frozen mango slush/shake thingees that were amazingly good, particularly after the long/hot day we’d had. Then we headed to the station where most of group was but D was missing. While he was missing we found out that Jikei had been able to arrange a trip to a different animation studio as the original animation studio canceled because our contact’s plane was delayed 10 hours due to possible terrorist threat on or to his plane. We had a thought we would end up going to an art supply store.

The studio we got to go see is called MadHouse. Lucky accident as they have made many, many, many anime that we’ve seen and enjoyed (Cardcaptura Sakura, Trigun, Paranoia Agent, Monster, etc…). They gave us free CDs with some artwork and info about the studio and these CDs have never been for sale; so this is the only way to get them. That was very, very damn cool. While my group (they split us up so as not to disturb the animators) was walking around; I saw one artist doing some computer coloring work on an image of Cardcaputra Sakura, another person appeared to be working on a character for Paranioa agent and in another part of the studio they were working on an unreleased episode of Monster and an episode of Tengu Tenchi (sp?). After that the group split up and some wimps went back to the hotel while L, SE and myself went with AWelkin & Bryon to enjoy some kiten-shusi (conveor belt sushi). T3. P and Keki-san also came along and ate at a ton-katsu (sp?) place with Bryon (he doesn’t do sushi). L hadn’t had enough fluids during the day, so his one Sapparo knocked him out of the karaoke group and Keki-san took him & P back to the hotel.

The rest of us headed off to sing our lungs out. I felt a bit self-concious about doing this because I sing very poorly and the others all sang fairly well. However, even though my singing sounds like a dog gargagling with rocks; it was a great time and an experience not to be missed. Mind you, this is very different from American karaoke; as you get a private room for you and your friends to sing in, vs. singing in front a bar full of strangers.

After a couple of hours, we went back to the hotel and I pakced my stuff up to get ready for the homestay. It took L a long time to get packed and about 2 AM we finally went to sleep. Now, I’m just hanging out in the hotel lobby waiting for that experience to begin. Since I don’t know if my homestay family will have a computer that I can use; this might be my last entry for a couple of days. That’s all for now, but I hope to write again soon.

1 Our lecturer said that the beginnings were pre-WWII, but even most Japanese people don’t realize that.
2 Nope, I’m not telling what any of the gifts are at this point because I want her to be surprised!
3 AWelkin’s old Japanese conversation partner.

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