The Last EPIC Journey Part 5: Ghibli Museum, Stubborn Ramen,
Monday, February 8th
Chris and I had booked ticket to visit the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. I honestly think that anyone who is remotely interested, enjoys, or works in animation should go there. It is SUPERAMAZING! The Ghibli Museum is a really magical place! Hayao Miyazaki's works, inspirations and models are housed here. Miyazaki did the movies, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro and many other classics (that Disney has latched on to).
The exhibits really show the hard work and dedication put into animation and I was blown away. There was one machine that had a robot in the centre with birds flying around it going upward and it was spinning. I have no idea what kind of animation that was, but it was so beautiful I almost cried. Seriously...I was almost moved to tears. There was also a machine that had various characters in different positions and when it would spin, lights would flash on it and you'd see each piece moving - two girls skipping, totoro bouncing around, bats flying around, bunnies(?) walking around.
We really took our time looking around. We also saw a short film about an old couple that live in the mountains. They farm each day and at night 6-7 mice leave the couple's home. The grandpa follows them and watches them sumo wrestle with these big white mice and they all lose. The next day the couple is farming and doing their usual daily tasks when all of a sudden, they rush around preparing food. the mice scurry around in order to not be caught, but the couple doesn't pay attention to them. They cut fish and wrap them in dough and make other goodies. The grandma also makes these red cloths and when they have finished making everything they go into their room and say something as they semi close the door. the mice scurry down and see that a meal has been prepared for each of them and the sumo gear is laid down by their food. They eat all their food and head out to the match. The couple quietly follows them. As each round passes, the mice tackle their opponents and the couple keeps tally and gets anxious watching them. During the very last match, the white mouse eats something to gain strenghth and suddenly the grandpa throws a dumpling to his mouse. He gobbles it down and is full of energy. I won't tell you the rest, but it was so good. We were laughing and sitting forward in anticipation of each scene. I really enjoyed it!
Afterwards I dragged Chris to the Straw Hat Cafe. We had to wait 20-30 minutes to get in, but I really wanted to go. I had a ginger lime cider and we shared a strawberry shortcake slice. It was so good and the cafe has a nice ambiance. We contacted Mellers and headed off to meet her for ramen.
Gankou "Stubborn" Ramen
I had read an article about a ramen shop that was covered in black tarp and had a giant bone hanging on the door. It is owned by a man who is so into the art of ramen making that somedays he puts a sign on the door that says something along the lines of "the shop is closed because the soup was not good today". This guy is hardcore but his ramen is supposed to be delicious.
Turns out this place is really close to where Mellers lives, so we met up with her and searched for it. We finally found it and Chris didn't even notice it. It is exactly what it was described as...barely any signage, black tarp, big bone hanging by a chain. What the heck?!?! We took photos with it and then we went in. There were five chairs and we sat down and Mellers ordered. He initially had the radio on, but while he cooked he turned it off. He didn't speak and was totally focused on making our three bowls of shoyu ramen. HOLY MOLY this guy was serious about his craft. He was so focused and worked around his tiny kitchen like he'd been doing it for centuries. We were all dragged into his mood. We stopped talking and watched him like this ramen shop was the only thing that existed at that moment. It was mindblowing. He cut the meat, worked on the soup, prepared the noodles and painstakingly prepared it to perfection. At the very end, he put green onions on the top and then poured something on top of it, which made it sizzle and then he gave us crispy fried onion and green chilli pepper mix.
Just watching him prepare it made our mouths water and anticipate the masterpiece. This guy is no joke. The ramen was SUPERAMAZING! I will definitely go back here next time I visit. Mellers was just blown away that such a superawesome place was so close to her and she didn't know about it but her foreigner "gaijin" friend Sam found it hahahahaha.
We shopped like crazy here. Surprise surprise! Pretty much any shop we went into we bought something. Mellers wasn't surprised. She knows how we roll ahahhaha. Chris bought shoes and boots together for $30! What the heck! I wanted them too, but they wouldn't fit my big feet :( I bought one two tops and a barrage of winter hats. We convinced her to buy stuff too. If only I had more time and more money to blow, I would have bought a lot more. We ended our sprees with crepes. I ordered something with marron in it...I thought that meant melon..but it was more like sweet potato or something?
We hit the karaoke place near Mellers place as we had decided to take her up on her offer of another free luggage. We karaoked for 2 hours and sang in various languages. Of course I ended up only singing in English and semi-helping with the Korean ones. I haven't mastered the languages yet and don't like singing them incorrectly.
We headed home on the last train and got ready for tomorrow's onsen trip. We would meet Mellers the next morning at her station, which was on our way to Asakusa. AHHHHHHHHHHH hot springs = bathing nude with other women we don't know!!! We don't know how we feel about it yet, but it's an experience I've been putting off.
hmmm...I wonder if I should even do an entry for that...kekeke