A Visit to Ghibli StudioNagoya, Academic Year 2009-2010
After our program’s graduation on the 22nd there was the school’s farewell party, where I watched my friends perform the dance to the sound of a very famous Korean boyband, and then my dorm’s farewell party as well. I feel like if I see anyone it must be to say goodbye, even though I’ve outstayed almost all of the exchange students. Went to a popular club after the dorm’s farewell party with two roommates and two other friends. My Japanese roommate and I had our first look at club life, and although I had never been to one in America I would compare it to a more tame, far more official, five-story version of a frat party. A lot of foreigners too, to whose English I would reply to with Japanese. I’m sure that was be an interesting sight to see from a Japanese person’s perspective.
Ate out Turkish for the first time ever. The meat was the kind you can see roasting in smaller restaurants in the Osu shopping district. Another friend wanted to hold a yami-nabe going-away party for me on Monday. Yami nabe means the guests can put anything they want into the nabe stew. But the meaning of yami is darkness, so when we were making our final batches we turned off all the lights in the room so no one would know what they were eating. I made my friend Momoka try several strange things, but I think everyone could agree they tasted good up until the last one, mostly because of the sweet powder mixed in that one usually uses on deserts. The nabe was mostly vegetables, noodles, meat, and some flavoring aside from the normal nabe soup (such as spicy Korean kimuchi). The most startling discovery was how well spam and banana go together.
After nearly nine months of being in Japan I finally made it to Tokyo. I almost didn’t make it back. I had stood by wondering why everyone still hadn’t boarded the bus up until it pulled away. It didn’t occur to me they were waiting for the next bus, so I took on the chase while dragging my luggage, shouting my disbelief in Japanese, and trying not to hit too many people as I bounded down the walkway and round the corner. My friend was at a calmer pace behind me either zoned out or struck confused at the sight. I didn’t see people getting shoved into the trains like I had heard of, though they were crowded. The sidewalks in the afternoon and evening felt like a stream of people going up the hills in the distance. I was short on time, and still am, but the most impressionable part of my visit would have to be the amazing building that was the Ghibli Museum. The main building was like a several story house with a built in movie theater, the history of animation, an an amazing room that seemed like a tour through the studio of Miyazaki, walls covered in art, some painted right on the walls, bookshelves and desks stacked with so many random treasures. It really motivated me to start working more with watercolors or at least to just start sketching. There was grass growing on all the roofs, there were stairways like silos and small bridges and small and narrow pathways, making the building feel like a house and a maze. As we just came out of one of the smaller rooms on the second floor walked over to the banister and looked up at the revolving fan hanging below the stained glass dome of the main room, with the small spots of stained glass in its panes, and the piano part from the Death Cab For Cutie song “What Sarah Said” distinctly began to play in my mind. I feel like that moment will play in the montage of my life.
I didn’t get to see a lot of Tokyo since I was only there for one day but I definately enjoyed Ghibli Studio. I leave Japan in two days. Definately anxious about that. Seems like I’ve been here so long that all I know is this way of living. Seeing all of Nagoya outside my window every morning. Riding the trains and subways while navigating through the crowd like a phantom.
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