I grew up with Doraemon in a generation where there was no satellite television, no free downloadable anime clips, and no online digital comic books. It was an era where our selection of television programmes was limited to three pathetic national channels, with no scheduled timed recording, high definition display or any fancy modern function.
It was a faithful ritual to stay tuned right in front of the 29 inches television at 7.00 p.m. sharp each weekday, making sure that not a single of the Malay Language Doraemon shows was missed out. The wooden bookshelf at home was filled with a huge number of Doraemon comic books in Mandarin, and I dare say I had spent my extra curriculum time during my younger age fruitfully and wisely indulging in the creative fantasy world of Doraemon and its “fourth-dimensional” belly pouch. To quench our almost insatiable desire to have more of Doraemon and its coolest 4,500 futuristic gadgets, we even pestered the parents and successfully got the Cantonese version of Doraemon anime series rented from the video cassettes shop. Oh the joy of carrying home the plastic bags containing those black cartridges filled right to the brim. Such outings would usually follow immediately by hours of non-stop marathon of gluing our eyes to the television screen.
Thus you can well imagine my excitement when I finally got the chance to roam around the three-storey building of Fujiko F. Fujio Museum at Kawasaki-Shi, and had my eyes feasted with the amazing original masterpieces created by the most celebrated grand master of Japanese animation. Visiting the Fujiko F. Fujio museum was almost like a de javu experience. Think about Dokodemo Doa (the awesome magical door that has the ability to transport a person to anywhere he desires); the impressive “bamboo-copter” (the marvelous head accessory that brought Nobita Nobi and his friends to numerous fantastic flying adventures in the course of the long-running Doraemon series); Doraemon and his favourite Dorayaki (the fluffy pancakes with red bean fillings); the amazing Ankipan (the memory bread, saviour for all students with atrocious memory); and the incredible “time-machine”.
I guess what made Doraemon such a heart-warming cartoon is the serious message that Fujiko F. Fujio intended to convey in each episode of these hilarious and lighthearted animation series, i.e. that good will always triumph over evil. It is just simply moving to see how Fujiko F. Fujio managed to turn a malfunctioned, rejected and a little clumsy robot from the 22nd century into a most popular character of all time, and to win the hearts of many by a protagonist Nobita who is supposed to be dim-witted, physically uncoordinated, academically challenged, and with numerous other flaws and imperfections.
Ah, the pleasure of revisiting the sweet and unforgettable childhood memories of Doraemon!
Take Odakyu Odawara Line from Shinjuku Station to Noborito Station (240 yen, 20 minutes). Next, take the Doraemon themed shuttle bus from Noborito Station to Fujiko F. Fujio Museum (200 yen, 10 minutes).
Ticket must be purchased beforehand at any Lawson convenience store in Japan from the self-service Loppi machine. 1000 yen each. Four designated times of entry to choose from- 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.