My summer was a kaleidoscope of KCP learning and adventures.
I won a lottery to attend a curry cooking class with other Japanese students. (See Learning lots of ways.) It was a lot of fun, and the curry was extremly delicious. While eating the curry, we were able to see fireworks going off in the distance.
Harajuku Park was fun, one Sunday. Another KCP student, Savi, posed with this crazy person. [wikipedia: Every Sunday, young people dressed in a variety of styles including gothic lolita, visual kei, and decora, as well as cosplayers spend the day in Harajuku socializing.]
I went to Ginza with my friends Branisha and Tomo. The Sony Building was a dream . We were able to mess with their really expensive 3D TVs and cameras! They had an unnderwater one for 20,000 yen, but sadly after much shopping I did not have the money. Oh, well. One camcorder was perfect for documentaries. You could actually zoom the sound in and out. In film class I was told this is impossible, but there it was! When you zoom into the camera, the sound “scope” condenses, and when you zoom out more sound is let in.
We went on a field trip to the Aizu Samurai Palace. The palace itself was unexpectedly closed for renovations. I was amazed to see our lead sensei talking to the staff, looking like she simultaneously wanted to cry and kill someone! But there were other opportunities to take things in.
Aizu is pretty far from Tokyo, so we had 2 rest stops along the way. The food rest stops here are very different. Instead of McDonald’s lining every mile of the highway, there are little stops with restaurants, mini-markets selling made-to-order noodle soups, and food stands: ice cream, pastry hot dogs (delicious but different–it was cold!), and a curry bun. I also had a wonderful melon soda, my favorite this summer.
We did make it to the Samurai Mansion, which was a good cheer-up after the castle. We had more time than usual to take it in, so I tried on a kimono.
We stayed in a hotel that had an onsen (Japanese bath)–a natural hot spring in a giant tub. It was weird at first, because you go in naked with others–not co-ed, though, ha ha. It quickly became so relaxing. Cameron and I went to 2 of them — one on our side of the hotel, and another that was outside on an upper floor where we could look out on the mountains while relaxing.
On the bus ride home, we watched Finding Nemo. Reading the Japanese subtitles was just as amusing as the movie.
Cameron and I saw the new Studio Ghibli movie by Miyazaki, The Borrowers. It was pretty cute. I was excited that I understood a lot of the dialogue!
The Ghibli Museum was gorgeous. The building’s outside was beautifully designed, hidden in a forest of the greenest trees. The windows were all stained-glass Miyazaki characters, and inside were tiny, secret doors. It was like it came from the mind of a genius, which it in fact did. The first floor had interesting art pieces–one of strobe light blinking on clay figures. They seemed to be moving around–a sort of demo of claymation. There were moving wooden scenes and 3D art work, film reels of mini shorts.
The 2nd floor was concept art, storyboards, and cells. I was breathless, seeing original drawings by Miyazaki: Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away . . . so much greatness hanging on those walls.
The 3rd floor led to a porch, a spiral staircase, and the roof, where there was a giant robot statue.
me and Totoro
It was then that I convinced myself to try for an iternship at Pixar. Yes, Pixar. I will stop at nothing. This will happen.
I saved a giant blue butterfly from being trapped inside the museum forever. It landed on my finger, and I took it out to the porch and let it free.
[Read more of Jenny's impressions at http://tokyosummernights.blogspot.com/.]
The Imperial Palace has a spectacular garden too. Here’s me, there, one Saturday.