Final Day – Studio Ghibli And Maid Cafe’s

Ok so one full week late in posting this entry which will probably be the last one, until I start planning my next holiday but hey better late than never!

After the series of day trips I slept in a bit, and started the day off with a long relaxing soak in the bath, apart from my mussels loving me for it as they were still screaming from all the walking I’d done, I really like waking up to a bath as it is a nice gentle start to any day.

The other reason for not speeding to get up and about was that I was staying in the Tokyo area for the day so didn’t have any real distance to travel.

The day out of the hotel however started with me waiting outside the post office local to my hotel so I could send my box of stuff home, after taking a guess of 5-6kg in weight I was expecting a 12.000 yen shipping bill, however when it came to it the box was over 10kg in weight and cost me 17.000 to ship though but that was still going to be cheaper than me paying excess baggage and the Japanese postal service is great, though I do wish I could say the same for the UK postal service and Parcel Farce who currently can’t decide if the parcel is at the Leicester delivery depot, at the east midlands customs office or as at present not even in the UK.

After sending my box a quick trip back to the hotel was made to pick up my day’s spending money and check where the English speaking maids for @home were for the day, before heading out to meet Zen to go to the Ghibli studio.

Now I got very lucky and I have a fantastic acquaintance in Zen who was willing to take me to the Ghibli studio and potentially meet some of the staff there, it is something that I didn’t ask to be shown but he offered when he found out I was an anime fan first and modeller second – after being there I understand why he’d never take anyone who asked to go.

Firstly the studio’s in the middle of a residential area in Koganei so isn’t suited to having a lot of tourists visit, secondly even if there were groups of tourists there isn’t really a lot to see from the outside and people aren’t generally going to be allowed into the studio’s – that’s what the museum is for.

I however got lucky and got a bit of a tour and by pure fluke met a certain Miyazaki-sama and got to say hello to him! something of a highlight for the trip and also something that a lot of people will never do even if they go and find the studios in the hope to do just the same.

I got a couple of photo’s there though nothing massive, just Miyazaki-sama’s personal studio entrance, the Ghibli Studio plaque and the rear end of the Ghibli cat sleeping on the bonnet of a Mini parked outside.

After that visit where I was still very much in shock from meeting Miyazaki-sama we headed to Musashino to get on the Keio Inokashira Line at Kichijoji so I could see some of the less touristy areas of Tokyo starting at Takaido which was a very pleasant experience, where many shops were wondered into and out of again, thankfully without any bags because some of the isles got very narrow.

After walking around those shops and not buying anything as I knew I was already pushing my hold luggage weight limit dispite sending a lot of stuff home we headed to Yodobashi in Kichijoji for me to stock up on stuff that the European Union in their infinite wisdom has decided to ban, so I stocked up on the primer for my model kits as well as a lot of Tamiya metallic paints which are all banned because of their lead content.

I also got a second airbrush for the trip a Tamiya single action gravity feed for me to do my model priming with. That was in addition to the one Wave Advance that Zen got me for my birthday. Both are made in the same factory as the Iwata’s but are about half the cost and use the same spares.

After that shopping trip we crossed the road to get a drink and in my case ice-cream before parting ways for the last time on this trip so I could get back to the hotel, clean up and head out to Akiba for the maid cafe experience that I’d missed earlier in the holiday.

Now I know I was recommended by Andy and Kate to go to the Mai-dreamin cafe, but I kinda got disappointed by the queue there when I arrived thinking that I got there fairly late so most of the queues would have gone so I made for the @home Hana location and had a great time.

Though the listed English speaking maid was present I didn’t have only her serve me, though she was always around for translation if needed be me or the other maids. Which meant that I did get to practice my Japanese and the other maids their English, a very fulfilling experience for all concerned.

I really splashed out there and eat properly rather than just have a drink and cake and the food was good, very good actually and the whole putting love into it to make it taste better was highly amusing and got applause from all of the maids when I took part as the other 5 people in there at the time didn’t really take part when they were served, so mission fulfilled I did make a bit of a fool of myself while there.

I chose not to play any games this trip, for two reasons, first the hour that your allowed in there went by so fast that I hadn’t realised that I had been in there so long and the second I was enjoying just talking to the maids without the need to spend more money, however I did get my photo with a maid and brought 2 cd’s of the @home maids singing, both are very good and upbeat and I’m currently listening to one of them.

Total cost of that trip was more than I’d like to think about but was defiantly worth it and I will be doing it again, just going to have to remember to take my masters card with me.

After leaving the cafe I walked around the shops that were still open in Akiba, stopping by Volks and some of those dolls are amazing – not that I’d own one myself I can think of better ways of spending that much money but wow is the only way I can describe them.

I also tried to find the Fate//Stay PSP game to pick up but didn’t have any luck, but that was more on the off chance for a purchase anyway as the game I’m really looking for at the moment is the Nanoha one.

Upon getting back to the hotel after my walk around Akiba I put the TV on for the first time in the trip only to find Mononoke-hime on, which I watched while packing my bag as I had an early N’EX to the airport for my flight.

Been able to watch one of my favourite Ghibli movies on my final night in Japan and on the day I visited the studio was probably the best send off I could imagine.

Overall the holiday was one that I desperately needed as its cheered me up no end and also given me time to reflect on my life, now I just need to go back out there in the next 349 days and I’ll have been out there within the year as per my wish.

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