It might be sad commentary that I get my breaking news from my Facebook news feed. I suspect the same is true for millions of others. Earlier this week, I was alarmed when several friends alerted me to an announcement by Studio Ghibli that they will be closing their production division.
Among all the amazing animated movies Studio Ghibli has produced, Totoro continues to be my personal favorite for a few reasons. Aside from the mastery in design, animation, and story telling led by Miyazaki-sensei, My Neighbor Totoro brings me back to my own childhood every time I watch it.
Walking into Satsuki and Mei’s house felt like walking into a dream in real life. Due to countless Totoro screenings, the house seemed extremely familiar, as if I’ve been there before. Walking through it brought back favorite moments and chattering between the characters. Opening up their cabinets and unfolding their clothes felt slightly intrusive, but incredibly surreal. I was more than convinced that people lived there.
[Ed. Note: Two Februarys ago, the artist Martin Hsu made a pilgrimage to the famed Ghibli museum outside Tokyo. Since it’s Miyazaki Week, I asked Martin if we could republish the recap of his visit here. So enjoy! —KC]
As a self- proclaimed Studio Ghibli nut, the Ghibli Museumin Mitaka, Tokyo has got to be one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a magical and heartfelt place anyone can enjoy even if you don’t believe in Totoro.
Unlike the usual commercialized theme parks which are built upon revenue, the Ghibli Museum clearly stays true to the visions of Miyazaki-sensei with the sole purpose to inspire, educate, and entertain. The scale of the museum would not be considered large according to traditional standards, but every panel of the wooden floor, every curve of the craftsman metal, and every piece of the stained glass windows is made and placed with precision, intention, and lots of love. It’s very much a reflection of Studio Ghibli films.
Hayao Miyazaki’s most recent film The Wind Rises was finally released in the U.S. over the weekend. Earning an estimated $306,000 from 21 theaters, Miyazaki’s final Oscar-nominated film has prompted the Nerds to reminisce about some of their favorite Studio Ghibli movies.
So all week, we’ll be hearing from many of the Nerds as they share memories about the movies that affected them the most.
In the meantime, you can get started by checking out some of our past Miyazaki coverage from recent months.
I found the pattern for free on Ravelry. For the stitches I didn’t know how to do, I looked up how-to videos on YouTube, i.e, how to do knit with two colors and decreasing stitches. The pattern was easy once I figured it out: knit stitch (no purls), following the pattern around four times, and then changing over to double-pointed needles for the decreases. You can see the Totoros along the bottom, and above them, the sootballs. Add a puffball at the top, and I had a Totoro hat. Not bad for someone who’s only been knitting for a couple of years now.
My grandmother knits, but I never had the patience to do the large afghans and blankets that she loves to do. It was only when we moved to Wisconsin that I discovered that hats and gloves and scarves are a given up here. I got a Stitch and Bitch book as a Christmas present and thought, well, why not. So far, I’ve knitted scarves, fingerless gloves, and a sort of shawl which could be a poor excuse for a Snuggie. But this was my very first hat, and I’m proud it turned out well.