Whatever you may say about Tokyo, whether you like it or not, it’s a great place to shop. For selection not bargains; there is lots of stuff you just won’t find anywhere else.

I thought I should pick up something for my kids, so I went to Kiddy Land near Omotesando; it’s pretty amazing. When you walk in it seems kind of cramped, but then you realize that it’s five or six stories tall. There’s some really original stuff, but most toys these days are related to a movie or a TV show or whatever. I got the boy a couple of cool T-shirts which I suppose are related to something but I had no idea what it was; he liked them. For the baby girl, I got a stuffed Totoro the size of her head; it’s adorable, another success.

Kiddy Land was good but that part of Tokyo is boring; luxury designer stores you can find in any prosperous city. Later that day we visited Asakusa (it’s already appeared in this illustrated series). Here are a couple of shots from the temple complex.

Asakusa temple roof
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Statue robed in red in Asakusa

Just outside the covered market, we found a store that was essentially a Studio Ghibli specialist. I feel a little hypocritical because I run screaming in the other direction when I see a Disney store in a mall; how can this be different?

Well, it was in a nothing location, not a mall. It was a hole-in-the-wall, not spacious or gleaming. And they had the cutest stuff; lots of variations on Totoro, but other stuff too, my favorite were the little black fuzzy things with eyes, the coal-carriers from Spirited Away.



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From: David Magda (Jun 21 2007, at 05:01)

> how can this be different?

Studio Ghibli isn't a media empire that's a commercializing 'harlot' trying to make a buck off of every single aspect of a movie. There's trying to make a profit, and then there's flooding the system everytime a new movie comes out.

The other thing is that Studio Ghibli actually makes good movies. The only good animation to come out of Disney in the last decade or so has been via Pixar.

Ghibli also isn't pushing legislators to extend copyright to forever plus a day.

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From: Dan Steingart (Jun 21 2007, at 09:43)

Ha! I know exactly the store you're talking about in Asakusa. I've bought at least two Totoro handkerchiefs from there. Just around the corner is IMHO the best kaiten sushi in Tokyo, Maguro Bito. Yum!

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From: Steven Citron-Pousty (Jun 21 2007, at 12:50)

My family loves the miyazaki films (well the little ones are not allowed to watch princess manoke... yet).

Their movies are the antithesis of most Disney films, strong female characters, in general anti-violence, and freeing animation.

I would love to have a totoro for each of my kids. I can not tell you how many times we have tried to grow trees with our umbrellas...

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