Tuesday, June 28, 2016

50 Hours in Tokyo: 3 Museums in a Day (Part 2)

At first I couldn't quite connect the dots between the recent opening of Snoopy Museum Tokyo and the timing of my weekend in town, but when I finally realize I could actually be visiting the museum in its first month of opening, I was quite excited, given this little beagle has always been the unofficial mascot of our household.

Turned out getting the admission ticket was a bit trickier than I thought it would be. Visitors were encouraged to order ticket online in advance as admissions were done by time slots in limited quantity, and in fact they weren't able to accommodate any walk-in visitors on some of the popular timeslots, like those on weekends and public holidays. Even after you were able to reserve the tickets online, you need to pick up the tickets IN PERSON at a convenience store in Japan, and you only got a 48-hour window to do so after your order is confirmed. So it's quite a nuisance for visitors coming from overseas. But for me, that's how my Kyushu trip a week ago came in handy, as I was able to book my ticket and picked it up 2 weeks in advance after I landed in Fukuoka. (I think they have since changed the policy allowing some tickets to be confirmed by email)

Snoopy Museum Tokyo is a temporary installation running from now until September 2018, housed in a new building in the quieter part of Roppongi, a mainly residential neighborhood a few blocks away from the busy commercial district. Outside the building is a small garden with a few larger-than-life Snoopy figures installed near the entrance, and even completed with the "kite-eating tree" hidden somewhere for those paying enough attention! During this 30-month period, a series of different exhibitions will be installed, done in collaboration with Charles Schulz Museum, the "original" Snoopy museum named after its creator located in his hometown in Santa Rosa, California.

On the way to the museum (a short walk from my previous stop on the other side of Roppongi) I already had a feeling of how popular the museum was just by seeing tides of people walking the opposite way each carrying a large plastic bag from the museum souvenir shop. Even more so when I saw the waiting line outside the box office even I had the ticket and arrived at the assigned time-slot because of the crowd control measures inside the exhibition hall.

Every ticket was printed with the comic strip originally published on the same day! Mine was from 1996. 

The opening exhibition is called "My Favorite Peanuts" and curated by Jean Schultz, the late Charles Schultz’s wife. At the exhibition many of the earlier Peanuts and Snoopy cartoons were displayed, many with special meaning to the Schultz family, along with some of the Snoopy-inspired gifts and memorabilia kept in the Charles Schulz Museum. It’s quite interesting to hear Jean spoke about a few pieces of work that have a special meaning to her, or ones that particularly touched her heart. I loved that series where Sally (or in some case, Eudora) called her crush Linus “Sweet Babboo”, often much to the annoyance of Linus (“I am not your Sweet Babboo” was his usual response) Turned out in real life, “Sweet Babboo” was the nickname Jean called Charles… just a piece of little trivial knowledge I learned from looking through the exhibits.

Naturally, the souvenir shop (called the Brown's store) at the end of the exhibition was the part that drew the biggest crowd, with the shop well-stocked with Snoopy souvenirs, including several made especially for the museum. My favorite was the handmade, vintage-looking Fire-king glass mug and a stainless steel hand-drip coffee kettle made by Kalita. And I would say Blanket Cafe, the coffee shop inside the museum named after Linus and his security blanket, could possibly be the most difficult restaurant to get into in Tokyo at the moment. It's only open to ticket holders on the day of their visit, and allocation of table is by lottery. Too bad I wasn't lucky enough to pick the red ball out of the lottery machine that would have given me a seat. Good grief - maybe better luck next time.

Well that's it for my Tokyo weekend - please check out the rest of the travelogue series: 50 Hours in Tokyo!

Where? Snoopy Museum Tokyo, Roppongi 5-6-20, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Web: www.snoopymuseum.tokyo

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