Soba tempura

Simple joys found through traveling

Travel is one of many things parents can do to help their kids grow into well-rounded adults with perspective that extends beyond their own neighborhood. For starters, it has made Benjamin realize flowers and thick bushes exist.

Ben and flowers

Seriously. You should see him stop at every flower in pot or otherwise or chase every insect and butterflies in the meadows.

ben skip hop

Traveling with (small) children is no walk in the park but we do it anyway. We do it so they can see the ‘other world’ beyond where they are everyday. We believe that traveling with kids is never a waste. I love how their eyes sparkle when they see new place, people or hear a different language. I would like to show them how others live.

Like, in most parts of the world (technically in Northern Hemisphere), children go out and play outside in summer (especially when school is out) and the weather is finally warming up after cold spring and winter. They sweat after playing outside in July – that doesn’t happen while living in Dubai because first, you don’t play OUTSIDE in July in Dubai!

Drinking tea

While our holiday to Japan wasn’t really a “holiday” as per dictionary terms, it was a terrific time to reconnect with our children’s roots, culture and language.

Most of all, it was the best way to connect with nature and enjoy it.

Pristine at grandpa's rice field

Most importantly, our simple vacation was a great way for them to reconnect with…US.

One of the best things about this vacation is the time we gave to our children: 100% undivided attention. There was no work to do, no deadlines to beat, no work-related errands. It was just us and them.

Playtime with Papa

This? This doesn’t happen often because of his crazy work schedule

We did a lot of  first-time activities that made our trip not only vividly memorable, but they also instill in kids a sense of adventure and a feeling of accomplishment that will last long after the trip is over. No, we did not get to see exotic jungles or animals in the wild. Or visit remote villages.

Our experience were are simple as finding joy in walking on grass.

Ben walking on grass

And then jumping for joy.

Jumping for joy

…being fascinated with vending machines.

digital vending machine

It’s still the same wonderful Japanese vending machine selling hot or cold beverages from teas to sodas, coffees and energy drinks, only with flat screen in front.

We did not go see the Eiffel Tower or walk the Great Wall of China so the exciting moments were as simple as finding and holding a dandelion for the first time.

Holding a dandelion for the first time

and then blowing the dandelions,

make a wish

…hoping and wishing this kind of vacation will come again. Soon.

It’s amazing how Pristine sees everything with fresh eyes. She was born in Japan but we left when she was three. The last time we were there, she was 5. It seems she has forgotten most of our travel four years ago – made us happy we made this trip all the more.

Our trip was nothing fancy, it’s like a staycation but in a different country. We didn’t go out much like tourists, we only met a few friends around town and saw temples and shrines nearby.

P and B in Japan

And of course ate as much authentic Japanese food as we can!

Soba tempura

So how did our simple trip turn out?

As I was tossing things and folding clothes on our last morning there, my daughter said quietly, “I don’t want to leave.”

“That’s the sign of a good vacation,” I replied. “Let’s come back some day.”

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

Water fun at the park!

Pristine in 2004

This was Pristine in 2004 at Yoshikawa Park, a park near where we lived in Japan. We love this park – it’s huge, with lots of play space for children. It also has a very beautiful view of the mountains.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

This is Pristine in 2013, at the same park (different side). How fast time flies, eh?

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

We went back to the park on our vacation to Japan, this time, tagging along Ben. The park has a ankle deep shallow flowing “river” the children absolutely love to wade in…except that Ben sometimes prefer to wade his butt as well.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

The temps in Dubai before we left ( late June) and until end of October won’t allow us any outdoor life, this is heaven for them.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

I have not seen a child who doesn’t love water play!

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

There’s another water play at the park, right ahead of the shallow river. Hand in hand, they went to look for it.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

Water will be sprouting from the floor, but on intervals so when they arrived, there was no water…yet.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

And when the water came out, Pristine was so delighted! It was so hot that day even for Japan (at 35C), anyone would love to be splashed with cold water…except for Benjamin – he has this strange hatred for water in his face.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

“C’mon, it’s fun!” shouted the big sister but I only heard screams of objection. Cute screams of objection.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

So she went on to enjoy the water splash by herself.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

And Benjamin changed into dry clothes and went climbing.

Yoshikawa Park in Matsumoto

Both slept so soundly that night!

* As I’m writing this, we are already back to Dubai. When Ben saw these set of photos, he makes those baby sounds pointing at the PC screen as if saying, “take me back there! Now! Now!”

Pristine at Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen: Oasis in the middle of the big city

Shinjuku Gyoen

Just outside the bustling station of Shinjuku is Shinjuku Gyoen – an imperial garden once a residence to a feudal family in the Edo period. According to some website and guidebooks, it is a 10 minute* walk from Shinjuku’s South Exit.

And worth checking out.

*10 minutes here means the “Japanese walk” which could mean more than 10 minutes if you’re a non-Japanese!

I wanted to keep my promise to the kids, to take them to green places, something we lack in Dubai. Sure there are parks in Dubai but they aren’t as natural and as vast.

Pristine and Ben at Shinjuku Gyoen

It had been raining the day before so we had to check the weather before we left. This is Japan, the land of hourly weather forecasts! Fortunately, the day promised full sunshine and heat. I used to laugh at my friend whom I asked what is the weather like in Japan right now and she replied with, “it’s hot at 28C!”

When we were walking from Shinjuku station to the park at midday, I wanted to apologize to her. It was searing hot to be walking outside with high humidity. And I realized that is the difference between living in Japan and Dubai: living in Japan requires a lot of walking while in Dubai, we hardly roam outside when summer sets in.

Pristine was already complaining and said if we could buy shaved ice cream called Kakigori.


Couldn’t blame her, I, myself was already sweating and wanted something really cold! But instead of stopping by for a cold treat, we thought it would be better to just walk fast and seek shade.

Here’s what Kakigori looks like for those who are curious. Yep, Pristine gave me a face why we have to skip it!


Kakigori is a Japanese type of shaved ice dessert. The simple version is flavored with syrup and sometimes condensed milk and more creative varieties include adding ice cream, slices of fruits and green tea with red beans. The ice in Kakigori is fluffier and smoother, much like newly-fallen snow, and is best enjoyed eaten with a spoon.

We arrived at the entrance of the park so sweaty with a cold bottle of tea, ready to find our respite from the heat. The outside looks nondescript with a simple sign board only.

Shinjuku Gyoen entrance

The gardens were originally meant for royalty and completed in 1906, and destroyed during World War II.  On May 21, 1949 the gardens became open to the public as, “National Park Shinjuku Imperial Gardens”, on May 21 1949.  Later they came under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Environment in January 2001 and named, “Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.”

You can see why this is called an urban oasis – it is located in the middle of metropolitan Tokyo. Outside of the park walls is a forest of buildings, the most distinct is the NTT building, as seen from inside the park.

NTT building

The gardens are 58.3 hectares in area with a circumference of 3.5 km, and have three distinct styles: French Formal, English Landscape and Japanese traditional.  A traditional Japanese tea house is also within the gardens.

Shinjuku Gyoen

We walked to the Japanese garden first because it seems everyone was going there…I didn’t want to get lost with the kids (shameless confession: I am bad at directions, even with a map!), at this midday heat!

Shinjuku Gyoen

I think it was a good decision as beautiful landscape appeared before us with ample amount of trees to escape the heat. We found “our” tree.

Shinjuku Gyoen

The park was almost empty with only a few people spending their lunch breaks there with a bento box for lunch. We had our lunch along the way to the park, right outside the station so the kids weren’t hungry. I wish they’d stay put for a while but no, they were very eager to run around immediately, like saying, “what heat?”.

Pristine and Benjamin at Shinjuku Gyoen

Benjamin was unstoppable, like a horse who just got out of the stable for the first time. Big sister Pristine had a hard time chasing him around, as he keeps on going to that direction of the pond!

Pristine and Benjamin at Shinjuku Gyoen

What to do? Boys do not have the word “danger” in their vocabularies!

Pristine and Benjamin at Shinjuku Gyoen

Pristine and I had to take turns watching him. When he finally sat down, he wanted the tea and the iPad. He’s probably checking the weather too!

Ben and iPad

It was Pristine’s turn to explore the park grounds, with an umbrella!

Pristine at Shinjuku Gyoen

She has been a bit obsessed with the UV-cut umbrella since we arrived!

Pristine at Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen was a wonderful oasis that provided us with a break from the intensity of Tokyo. A perfect interlude in the middle of the day…until we packed our things and took a deep breath as we entered the maze that is Shinjuku station, not your child friendliest places in Japan (but that is another story for another day).

Admission times and costs

Shinjuku Gyoen is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm (with last admission at 4 pm).  It is closed on Monday except during the cherry blossom season (usually March 25 to April 24) and during the Chrysantheum exhibition (November 1st to 15th).  Admission is 200 yen for adults and 50 yen for children.

Click the link to view the way From Shinjuku Station (South Exit) to Shinjuku Gyoen in a larger map.

heat stroke

Believe it or not, summer in Dubai is better

summer in Japan

It’s summer in Japan. I’m watching the news on TV about temperatures rising to as high as 39 degrees celsius and that many people are taken to the hospitals due to heat stroke. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It is a tough season.


Wait. I see raised eyebrows, “But is Dubai (from where you are), hotter?” or “Oh shush, what is summer here compared to the summer in the desert?”

Well, yes Dubai and the whole of Middle East is way hotter you could bake a cookie in your car dashboard but we won’t  drop dead of heat stroke inside our homes or outside (we know we need to get away from the heat during peak hours – even construction workers are required to take a break from 1:00-4:00 pm as per law).

Dubai is equipped to handle the meanest summer with temperature controlled buildings. We don’t break a sweat when we sleep. Here in Japan, my children has been bathing in their own sweat especially when they nap in the afternoon and I? I just get really cranky when it’s hot.

And more so if I am told, “but would you be the best to handle 35C because in Dubai you get as high as 45C?”

houses by the rice field

But the problem here in Japan is the lack of airconditioning system or more precisely, the presence of strange pride, the mentality that “bearing the unbearable is kinda cool (gaman suru hou ga kakkoii)” so most houses do not have cooling systems installed. If there is an ac unit, it would be only in one of the rooms and it’s like a crime to turn it on. It’s like a game ‘you turn it in and you lose!’. You are a sissy with regards to the heat.

The people constantly talk about the weather here (it is after all, the number one conversation ice breaker). “Kyou mo atsui desu ne!” (It’s hot today, isn’t it!)

Ben and me

Ben and mama at the train platform, without wind, it would be very hot as the train platform is al fresco (open type)

And the news is round the clock with how hot it is here and there and how many people suffered from heat stroke. Some are students who are doing sports in the school field at mid day. Why would schools allow outside activities on a very hot summer day?

heat stroke

Also, there’ s a campaign called Cool Biz – requiring establishments to FIX aircon temp of 28C…so don’t expect a cool breeze of aircondition air to greet you at restaurants or offices while you wipe off your sweat from all the walk you had outside!

It’s ridiculous.


We are surviving with an electric fan and popsicles. Lots and lots of popsicles!


And cold drinks.

We have a week to go before we go back to Dubai. Don’t get me wrong, I love being surrounded by all these greneries and nature and the fresh mountain air but getting weak everyday because of the heat is not fun. Outside temp = inside temp is unhealthy.


It is reported that temperatures in Japan during summer is rising every year – when I was a student here more than 10 years ago, I don’t remember temps going as high as 35C.

So what if it gets as hot as in the Middle East, like 40C and up? Would they still refuse to install/turn on the coolers? Continue activities outside like normal and drop dead like flies?!


We’re not really “on holiday”


Hi there. I apologize for the lack of blog updates. If you’re following me on this blog and on the verge of giving up on me, please follow me on Facebook as I am updating snippets and photos of our Japan “vacation/holiday” there. The only internet I have is on my phone and it is much easier for me to update in Facebook than sitting down and write a full blog post, except when we are in a WiFi spot and only if Benjamin is asleep, like now!

Moving on to today’s post…

A friend of mine exclaimed, Wow, a holiday in Japan! I’m jealous!

Well, please erase the jealousy because actually we’re not really on “holiday” if you stick to the definition of holiday in the dictionary. We came here for two reasons:

(1) To renew my Japanese driving license which has expired 2 years ago.

Another 6 months and I will lose it. I don’t want to lose this precious license I worked hard for – paying (getting a driving license in Japan is expensive) and the tests are difficult to pass. I got it way back in 2001 and it’s because I have this that I am not required to
enrol in a driving school in Dubai. Japan is one of the countries eligible for automatic driving license transfer. This saved me a lot of money and time…and possibly trauma! Remember that colleague of mine who failed the driving license test 5 times?

Due to certain rules, we have to process my license renewal in my husband’s home town. It’s far from Tokyo but it was a nice side trip to see the countryside.

Rice field in Niigata

Can you tell one of them is really excited to see all the greens?

small town at dusk

We left when it started to get dark and started the 3 hour drive home to our house in another Prefecture.

(2) To put our eldest daughter in Japanese school so she can immerse not only in the language, culture and customs but also (re)connect with her roots.

We’re staying in the house we left seven years ago. And this is where the “not holiday” part of our vacation starts…

We own the house and we had it rented out all the time we were in Dubai. The tenant left last May so the house is empty. It’s perfect because we have place to stay while here – however, the house is empty as empty can be: we don’t have anything, anything at all!

Like a camping trip

Our kind neighbor friend have lent us beddings, a set of (picnic) table and chairs, some cutleries, a portable gas stove, a bicycle (we don’t want to spend too much to rent a car plus a bike in Japan would make our stay more…Japanese LOL), a bucket. We have no TV, no internet (except on my cellphone), no microwave or fridge and get this: the shower needs plumbing job! We could go to a sento (public bath) but it’s far so we boil water using the portable gas cooker, put it in the bucket and take a bath with as little water as possible. To be honest, I’m a little, ok, hugely frustrated that the bathroom tub is not working. There’s nothing like a Japanese ofuro soak to take away the day’s fatigue.

* Actually we’re in a public bath facility right now and had a very nice full bath and soaked in different types of hot spring. They have WiFi so it’s great!

So with the above situation we are really not on a holiday. In fact, we’re like on a big camping trip, only with a toilet that flushes! But I am used to make-do of things, I can handle this! The kids are so far enjoying the time they have both of their parents all to themselves! No work!

The June weather in Japan


When in Japan: Check the weather report. FREQUENTLY.

Unlike in Dubai where the sun shines 330 days  year (don’t ask me but I’m guessing 5 days would be random rain days and another 30 would be cloudy with a chance of sunshine later), the weather in Japan especially in June changes every couple of hours or so. Basically, it’s the rainy and storm season in June but even that doesn’t bother me. I miss rain, after all.

But when the rain messes up with your limited travel time, it…gets to you. Especially if you have two young children constantly looking out the window, tugging your clothes and demanding outdoor time.

We planned to go to the park but it was already raining when we woke up. Pristine never want to give it up and played with the umbrella outside. My friend and I decided we’ll walk to the park – a good 30 minutes walk…maybe the rain will stop. Boo hoo – it’s like she didn’t live in Japan for 18 years already or was just kidding herself. Of course the June rain didn’t stop just for us.

Pristine in hydrangea garden

The hydrangeas in the park are in full bloom. Benjamin didn’t care that it was raining or that he had no umbrella with him, running around like a horse out of the stable and into the wild!

Hydrangea garden

Regardless of the non-stop rain and the constant whining of Pristine that her slippers are already wet and muddy (duh, that never happens in Dubai so she is freaking out!), we walked around the park to see more of the hydrangeas.


I wish I could’ve taken more pictures but another major realization: you can’t really be busy with your camera while holding a squirmy toddler with your other hand!

Hydrangeas in the rain

After staying in the park for a good one hour and seeing that the rain has no plan of stopping, we headed home but decided to take the bus! I am not going to walk in the rain carrying Benjamin for more than 30 minutes! He was already tired and got cranky at the bus stop, demanding boob time. OMG. There was no other way to appease him so I sat there, took out my breastfeeding cover and you know, got on with the motherly duty!

Meanwhile, Pristine is constantly saying she needs wellies. What is a ‘wellie’?!

Pristine in the rain

“It’s boots mom, in the English you are used to!” Oh, okay then.

Japan after four years

Japan 2013

After I felt I almost broke my tail bone from continuously sitting down for more than 10 hours in our flight from Qatar to Japan (we took the Dubai – Doha, Doha – Narita flight), we arrived here Monday night. Instead of using the awesome service available at the airport to send our heavy luggages (72 kilos in total!) to our hotel in Tokyo with a cost of course, we decided to carry it all ourselves.

Result after dragging the heavy stuff around? I broke my back, like what stiff neck feels like as soon as we arrived at the hotel in central Tokyo. It was more than two hours from Narita airport. I hate how Narita is so far from Tokyo. The international airport in Dubai is just 15 minutes from our apartment!

The last time I was here was four years ago so I’m having a bit of what!? seriously?! you’ve got to be kidding me! moments every now and then.

Starting off with – Do Japanese trains shake this bad while moving?! It’s crazy because I never thought about this when I lived here before but I guess I got too used to the super smooth rail in Dubai. When you get on these trains here in Japan, be sure to hold on to something or else dance the Macarena!

Realization #2: You really need to walk, walk and walk a lot when in Japan.

There’s a pretty good reason why the people here can eat ramen (noodles), gyoza (dumplings) and drink a huge mug of beer at 10pm and stay slim. And most of them don’t just walk but run to catch trains, even if the trains come every 2 minutes or so.

There’s a lot more I want to share as soon as I can have my next bit of ‘free time’! I wish I can write as much as would want to. It stresses me out that I can’t!

Bare house in tatami

Off to Japan tonight

Tokyo Tower

We’re leaving Dubai (temporarily) tonight.

The flight is long, an hour from Dubai to Doha, then three hours of layover at Doha Airport and then onwards to Narita (Japan) for 11+ hours. Fifteen hours after leaving our apartment in Dubai you’d think it would be great to hit the bed, no? No. We have to take a train from Narita Airport to our accommodation in Tokyo, give or take 2-3 hours more.

Sounds exhausting no doubt but never mind, it’s been four years since Pristine and I have been back to Japan (the husband has been traveling there frequently so he might not be missing anything) and first time for Benjamin so I’ll endure everything.

I’ve mentioned about my ‘worries’ about this travel. I can assure you they’re real.

The fears and worries and anxieties range from small, petty things like “how many diapers would I bring on the plane?” or “what happens when he poops?” to big things like how am I going to go through the subways in Tokyo with two kids in tow, alone? And the crowd – this is not a child friendly city at all – for example, I have not seen a lot of escalators in Shinjuku (Tokyo’s main thoroughfare station) for moms with strollers. Elevators are almost non-existent. It’s like the city is not built for those with small children. No wonder Japan is having trouble with its declining population.

And the crowd. People who are literally scampering around, running like it’s the last day of the world.You don’t want to mess up with that crowd, not when you’re carrying a small child with you!

For the first week of our stay in Japan, my husband will be on an official business trip so it’s only me and the kids. No biggie, really as I know the way + I have Google maps. But there’s a little boy involved and I may just faint in exhaustion while carrying him, the diaper bag and most probably the folded stroller when I reach the train platforms if I can’t find an elevator.

We could play it safe and just stay at the hotel but I am bent on taking these kids to Tokyo’s beautiful parks. There are huge green patches in the middle of the big city.

Meiji jingu and Tokyo on the background

Photo credit

Let them bask in the summer sun that is not hot enough to burn them (hello Dubai, I’m looking at you!) and release them barefoot to feel the green grass on the earth. Typhoon and rainy season is not yet over in Japan right now but peculiarly, I am also looking forward to that!

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Photo credit

I have been waiting for this moment to come, for years.

After Tokyo, we will be going to Niigata to renew my Japanese driver’s license and visit Kono bachan‘s resting place. Then to Matsumoto where we lived before we relocated in the UAE.

Another worry comes to life: we will be staying in our previous house – the one we left and rented out. The tenant left a couple of months ago so we decided to stay in that house.

There is nothing on there. NOTHING. No curtains, no beddings. Nothing but the roof, floor and walls.

Bare house in tatami

Photo credit

Great former neighbor friends have offered to lend us beddings, a small table and some cutlery. Other than that, we will be living minimally. No TV, no microwave, no chairs (thankfully, we can sit on the wooden floor and tatami mats in Japan).  Other necessities we have to buy. We will be living as basic as we can {that strikes a bit of fear chord in me}. We don’t have a car as well – so plan on renting/borrowing bicycles!

Thankfully, there will be internet on my phone. That is important.

Because we can’t stay at my in-law’s house due to personal reasons. Logistically, it would be better there but my in-law is not feeling well and asked for privacy. Moving on…

Pristine will be attending Japanese elementary school (taiken nyuugaku) as a visitor for three weeks. It’s a great chance for her to immerse in the culture, language and general feel of being with other Japanese kids at school. I am so excited for her. Japanese schools boasts of the best school lunches called “kyuushoku” – yummy and very homely Japanese food for children. Kyuushoku is also very healthy – it is very rare to find an obese child in Japan!

Top photo credit

That part of Japan in mid-March

From today, April 29, Japan will be enjoying a week-long holiday called “Golden Week”. The Golden Week is a collection of four national holidays within seven days. In combination with well placed weekends, the Golden Week becomes one of Japan’s three busiest holiday seasons.

So speaking of Japan, I wanted to post some photos of my husband’s trip there last month (the one where I decided not to tag along) because it’s been quite a while since I posted anything about Japan.

I missed this:


There were so many food photos my husband came home with and I certainly do not want to risk any one of you salivating over it (like I did) so let’s all refrain from posting food, shall we?

Most of all, I miss my grandmother in-law who’s 95 now but still as sharp as ever.

Nita bachan

Here she is, looking at Pristine’s poses from a Babyshop catalog. She is mighty proud of her great-grand daughter. I remember when she told me before how it was rare to have photos taken during her time, how her precious  few pieces of photographs were destroyed during World War II – she must be so amazed how easy it is to take photos today and so easy to land in print. When Pristine was a baby, her great grandma told me Pristine would grow up to be a beautiful lady. I think she is right. (of course we are biased!)

Nostalgia aside, I am glad I did not have to deal with this:

Tokamachi in mid-March

That, my friends is my husband’s hometown. This is where my father in-law’s rice farm is, just covered in snow for now.

And then this is right outside their house:

Kawanishi machi in mid-March

This was taken in mid-March people! Where is spring? Where are the famous cherry blossoms? When will it arrive? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that my husband hails from snow country.

I miss Japan so much; the last time I was there was in October 2009 but with a small baby and that bunch of snow (and indoor temperature in my in-law’s house only at about 3C), it was best I did not go.


The Pacific side of Japan is already bright and sunny in March. Cherry blossoms bloom in late March in Tokyo and Yokohama but in the side facing the Sea of Japan, it’s still gray and snowing. Until around late May, it’s impossible to wear just a shirt.

A trip to Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, Japan


While living in Japan, I fell in love with animes by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki since my then Japanese boyfriend (promoted to husband a few years later) M, introduced me to the movie Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

When the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan opened in 2001, I was antsy. I’ve seen all the animes so it was just natural reaction. But I was working on my graduation thesis, got a new job right after graduation and relocated away, away from Tokyo, got married, had kid, blah,blah, blah.

I can’t believe it took me seven long years before going. Oh, well.

We were in Tokyo summer of last year and so we went. Tokyo’s hot and humid in the summer by the way, not that I am complaining, having lived in a more hotter place like Dubai but I guess no one can go through any hot weather without whining a bit about it. But what I love there is that there are plenty of greens, natural ones, unlike here in Dubai.

Anyway, it rained in the afternoon when we got to Mitaka so I wasn’t able to take out my camera to take a photo of the museum’s entrance. Our first stop was this robot soldier in the roof top from the movie Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Tenkou no Shiro, Laputa).

Ghibli laputa

It was a popular spot and people were taking turns posing for a photograph.


Pristine hasn’t seen the movie yet and I can’t wait to let her see it, soon. Here we are in front of the robot soldier.


There are several Ghibli-oriented exhibitions inside the museum, Pristine transformed into a little witch riding in her broom stick, taking cue from Kiki’s Delivery Service (Majou no Takkyubin) in this photo.


I think this well is from one of the scenes in the movie My Neighbor Totoro

(Totoro). It was her first time seeing a water pump and of course, she’s got to hold it.


So excited to pump it.


And silly mom of hers wasn’t able to capture the photos with the water gushing out of the pump!


Near the exit, the Totoro sits like a movie ticket attendant.


We had an amazing trip there. It was a small museum but packed with lots of eye candy if you are a Ghibli movie fan.


Pristine was smiling all the way home. I can’t wait to buy the Miyazaki Anime DVD Bundle to show to her all the wonderful animes one by one.

By the way, it was not allowed to take photos inside the museum building with a sign in Japanese, translated as: “Please refrain from taking photos or videos inside the museum building. The Ghibli museum serves as an entrance to the story world. To become the main actors of the story, don’t use the camera but instead see the world with your own eyes and physically experience the atmosphere (exhibits). It is our desire that you keep all the memories (you have here) dearly in your hearts. “