Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Karaoke, Taifun and Earthquakes

First of all, I have to start yet another post with the assurance that I am alright despite being near the center of natural disasters. There was a Taifun that hit Japan, and it wasn't really that bad (it was nothing compared to the Tornado) up here in Gunma. Then, the next day there was a major 6.7 earthquake about 80 miles from where I live. It was a 4 in my town and my house shook like crazy for about 20 seconds, but there was no damage.

My story begins with my trip to the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo the weekend before last.
Ghibli, if you are not aware, is the movie studio responsible for Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and my personal favorite: Naussica of the Valley of the Wind. As such, I was rather excited to go. There was a problem, though. Another famous animation studio also has a place that you can visit, and that place is called Disneyland. Now, I knew not to expect Disneyland, but even when you don't expect Disneyland, Disneyland already raised the bar. And it raised it high. I don't have any real complaints about the Ghibli Museum except the fact that that is all it is: a museum. And, it isn't really a museum about Ghibli, it is a museum BY Ghibli. About half of the exhibits are not Ghibli, although they are still interesting. But the salsa dogs were fantastic!
I guess this epitomized my disappointment. I expected Ghibli to pay the same attention to detail in their museum as they did in their movies. But in the end it was just a building, and at the end of the day I could help but look at this plug and think back to the custom made, medieval style wooden doors that housed fire extinguishers.
By all means, go to the Ghibli museum, but you don't need to spend more than an hour.
After Ghibli, Yuri, Eri, Waka, Honda-san and I went to Shibuya (one of the largest nightlife areas in the world, if not the largest) for dinner. It was there that I saw this sign.
We ate at a restaurant which had a "Prison ER/Torture Chamber" theme. An interesting experience, but the food was not that good.
But then we went to Karaoke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love Karaoke!!!!!!!
I made up a dance for "Macho Man" by the Village People. This is everybody dancing a dance I made up to another song.
After doing Karaoke till 1 am, we had no choice but to sleep at a net cafe (a really good deal, by the way). Then I got up a 5 am and went and got in line for Krispy Kreme. "So what, Krispy Kreme." you might say. But here is the catch. There is only one Krispy Kreme in all of Japan, and people line up for 4 to 8 hours to get a batch of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Even though I got to Krispy Kreme around 5 am, I still had to wait an hour once it opened. I got 24 doughnuts. 12 I shared with Yuri and her crew, and the other 12 got taken to the ALT meeting on Monday. By the way, the Shibukawa chief of police came to our meeting, had a doughnut, and looked like the happiest man on earth. I guess police are the same everywhere.
After doughnuts I went to the TEPCO museum. TEPCO means Tokyo Electric Power Company, the largest power company in Japan. I went wanting to learn more about alternative fuels and renewable energy, but as it turned out, TEPCO was using the museum to make a big sales pitch for nuclear power as the green energy of the future. Here I am in front of a giant turbine.
And here is Yellowcake. Wow.
I have to say, TEPCO made some good points. Indeed I agree that nuclear power could be a good environmental alternative if it could be trusted to be safe. TEPCO's museum said it could. But then, during our earthquake this week, TEPCO's Nigata plant (the largest group of reactors in the world) had a fire which they couldn't put out, and suffered a radioactive leak, which they took a really long time to tell anyone about. Naughty, naughty TEPCO.

Good museum, though.


Greg said...

Yellowcake? You were standing in front of yellowcake? Doesn't sound like Mr. Safety to me.
Love you

Olivia said...

Yeah, there really isn't much to the Ghibli museum. It's interesting for what it is, and then you move on. I guess I'd rather have them devoting their energy on the films anyway.
The bit about the Krispy Kreme shop was interesting. The things we take for granted in California...
Hope you're well!