From Travel

A Trip Down Memory Lane – Studio Ghibli & Miyazaki Hayao

The studio Ghibli is known for its dynamic films that portray three dimensional characters that all overcome an essential problem in their life. The films themselves are timeless portrayals of courageousness, loss, and love. Miyazaki’s films are at once, fascinating and dynamic.

The Ghibli exhibit is located in Inokashira Park in Mitaka, which is a western city of Tokyo. You can’t purchase tickets onsite – all tickets must be purchased before you get to the museum. According to the Ghibli website, you can purchase online from the JTB Group and online Lawson tickets. If you’re in Japan, any Lawson convenience store should have tickets available for purchase.

Entering the Exhibit

Your foot crosses the threshold with ease, but you pause anyway in an attempt to capture the magic all at once. The exhibit has been around since 2001, but you never got the chance to see it. Fast-forward some decades later, there you are, standing just inside the exhibit with a ton of Miyazaki movies under your belt. You can’t believe it. You’re finally here. There’s an inviting life-sized Totoro behind a bar filled with yummy looking pastries. As you enter even further, you’re wowed by the dozens of film posters covering the wall.

Because taking pictures at this point is not allowed, you are forced to live in the moment. The size of the museum is quite small, so you’re constantly aware of other visitors. Even though crowds are usually a hassle, this crowd isn’t. As a matter of fact, you surmise, this sort of experience reinforces everyone else’s positive feelings about the exhibit. In this place, everyone is a fan of Miyazaki, his films, and studio Ghibli.

Additional Information

In addition to features already mentioned, there are the floating ships, the music, and the cat bus. The ships hanging from the ceiling are a wonderful sight. The giant ship made the biggest impression on me. With faint music in the background, the presence of this ship is powerfully evocative. It looks as if it was taken right out of Laputa. The existence of this animated ship and the cat bus further excites a fan’s nostalgia.

Overall, the Ghibli exhibit is a place where all types of people get together and share in the experience of reliving old memories and admiring Miyazaki’s animation and directing skills. From my observations, pleasure is derived from the commonality found among visitors, the many pictures on the walls, and the interactive features, such as the cat bus and the giant ship. These features are an intricate part of the exhibit, as they create lasting impressions.

For specific information such as directions and ticket prices, check out This is a good resource for people wanting to travel extensively within Japan.

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Travel: 7 Best Burger Joints in Beijing

by 罗子禾

I’m a food lover. The thing I enjoy the most is inventing new, on-the-edge, experimental recipes. But at the end of the day, there is barely anything more satisfying and emotionally fulfilling than a good burger. If you too, are a burger lover, let me make sure you don’t find yourself deprived of good burgers when you travel to my hometown, Beijing. It may be important for you to have a list of trusted restaurants because burgers are not that well understood in China. Most restaurants get it wrong in one way or another.

No. 7 Grandma’s Kitchen (near Beixinqiao)

Grandma’s Kitchen isn’t the most amazing restaurant, but it has a nice, quiet, cozy ambiance to it. Their burgers are decent. They understand what a patty is, how melted the cheese is supposed to be. It basically satisfies your craving, and they have decent fries to go with your burgers.

No. 6 Grey Hound (inside Taiguli)

Fun fact, Grey Hound’s logo is a flipped version of the bus company’s logo. I smell a conspiracy theory cooking. Grey Hound’s burgers are a bit small. Even though they are slightly better in quality than Grandma’s Kitchen, they are overpriced. So if you are looking for a boujee restaurant with a decent burger, Grey Hound is a decent choice.

No. 5 Hooter’s (on Hongjie St.)

Even though they lack slightly in variety, Hooter’s make some really satisfying burgers. You can trust them to make your patty juicy and salty. Sometimes I think they go slightly overboard with their salt. But I guess that’s a personal preference. So, if you like your patty slightly saltier than usual, hit up Hooter’s. To make things better, Hooter’s has pretty decent curly fries and a long cocktail menu.

No. 4 Blue Frog Bar and Grill (inside Taiguli)

Blue Frog is a chain. You can find at least one in almost every major city of China. They have a large selection of burgers and a few house specialties. I recommend trying a few if you ever get a chance. Their ambiance tends to land on the loud side. However, the venues are clean and high-end, and their burgers are something you can stuff your face with.

No. 3 Lily’s American Diner (near Sanlitun)

Lily’s American Diner lacks variety, but for its price vs. quality ratio, it beats every place that came before. The burgers here don’t try to be fancy or sophisticated or clever, they are just plain good. Lily’s also serves a burger with cole slaw, which isn’t exactly my thing. But if you like cole slaw, Lily’s is the only place that serves real, legit cole slaw on one of their burgers.

No. 2 The Irish Bar (across the street from Lido Plaza)

The Irish Bar is tied number two with Lily’s. I wanted to give the Irish Bar a slight edge because Lily’s is more of a breakfast restaurant or a diner whereas the Irish Bar is a Bar and Grill. The drink menu is long; the burgers are satisfying; the fries are better than most.

No. 1 Home Plate (Sanlitun Soho)

Homeplate is my indisputable top choice in burger restaurants in Beijing. The long list of burgers cater to a variety of burger lovers, moods and appetite. My personal favorite is the “Itis”. It combines just the right amount of cheese, a juicy and chewy patty, refreshing veggies, and a perfectly toasted bun. 

This list isn’t meant to be complete or universal. I’m just trying to give burger lovers out there a head start. Stay full and happy!

Being Black in China

So what these four instances taught me is this: they mean well, but don’t really understand what is ‘racially insensitive’ and what’s not. Because of that, they’re bound to make mistakes when they’re unaware, and bound to think they made mistakes, when they didn’t.

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