Hidebochi has run an udon shop for 32 years and worked as a “weekend carpenter” for 52 years. But this summer, the 59-year-old undertook a different sort of construction. He decided to make Totoro for his grandchildren who just moved from Vancouver, Canada to live with him in Mihama, Mie Prefecture, Japan.
If you’ve spent some time in Japan, you’re probably aware that there are several things you can count on in Japanese TV — that there’ll be tons of crazy-looking commercials, there’s more than likely to be at least one channel showing footage of a reporter or celebrity eating some gourmet dish and exclaiming “Oishi! (Delicious!)” and that broadcasts of Studio Ghibli movies constantly seem to do relatively well, with a certain percentage of the population always eager to see a Ghibli film at any time. Last Friday was no exception when My Neighbor Totoro, the hit Ghibli classic loved by kids around the world, was aired on TV, and it looks like Japanese Twitter users had a great time sharing some silly parody Totoro images. Here are a few we thought we’d share with you!
While the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is a truly whimsical place, transporting you into the magical world of animator Hayao Miyazaki and friends, an adult may feel that their immersion is incomplete. In particular, the children-only play area that features a “life-size” cat bus practically begs you to step over the velvet rope and throw the makurokurosuke in the air like a kid on a sugar high, but to do so would likely result in your ejection from the building.
But fear not! There is one other place in Japan where even grown-ups can wander happily through the imaginary world of My Neighbor Totoro: The Teddy bear Museum in Tochigi Prefecture.
- Joan Coello
May 8, 2014
Shopping for anime merchandise isn’t always as easy as you’d think in Japan. While any toy store will be stocked with goodies from currently airing, elementary schooler-targeted TV series such as Pokémon or Precure, what if your tastes run towards more sophisticated fare, like the animated classics of Studio Ghibli?
If you’re looking for stuffed animals or accessories inspired by the films of legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki and his cohorts, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Donguri Kyowakoku, a whole chain of stores that sells nothing but Ghibli items.
Totoro, from the 1988 animated movie, “My Neighbour Totoro”, remains one of the most beloved characters to come out of the magical world of Ghibli. The story of the friendly giant who befriends a young girl in the forest is so enchanting that a trip to the woods today seems to come with the real possibility of a chance meeting with the furry animal, probably sheltering from the rain under a leaf and waiting for a new friend.
This festive season, people in Japan are using acorns to bring the magical world of Totoro into their homes and the results are adorable! From garden ornaments to wreaths, these photos show that the world under an acorn tree really is a great place to gather up some new forest friends. The fantasy is only limited by your imagination!
Dec 2, 2013
Tsutsuki, near Yokohama, is making waves in the Japanese media for its unassuming highway that, when viewed from the right angle at night, forms the vague silhouette of Hayao Miyazaki’s beloved character, Totoro.
The lighting on the street in question was apparently deliberately planned by the city so that it would look like “an animal with ears”, but even planners hadn’t intended it to look like studio Ghibli’s famous cat-like mascot.
- Casey Baseel
Nov 26, 2013
As a kid, I remember watching reruns of Mighty Mouse on TV with my dad. It was a fun little show, but what made it really special was knowing that he enjoyed it when he was growing up, and that he was sharing his memories and at the same time he was making new ones with me.
Likewise, it’s been a couple decades since Japanese animation gained a steady foothold internationally, and we’re starting to see overseas fans of the medium having kids of their own. But how to pass on that anime passion to your kids? You could go the direct route and administer a severe beating each and every time they ask to watch say, Disney’s forgettable 2000 CG film Dinosaur instead of something with more artistic merit, like Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky.
Or, like one couple, you could go with the gentler option of painting an awesome mural of Studio Ghibli characters in the nursery, letting their quality speak for itself.
Nov 8, 2013
While eating sweets is always a pleasure, at least for this writer, making them yourself can be quite a tricky matter, can’t it? But if you’re one of the people with skills in the kitchen who enjoys making desserts, you may want to check these videos out. They show you how to create sweet snacks that look so adorable, you’ll almost feel bad eating them! Read More
- Philip Kendall
Sep 16, 2013
We’ve already seen what can happen when artists take the creations of Studio Ghibli and thrust them into the world of the macabre, but the following collection of fan-art posters has left us feeling quite on edge.
Reimagining all of your animated favourites with a shocking level of impact and realism, it’s fair to say that these posters are perhaps truer to their films’ roots than Ghibli would ever care to admit, but at the same time we’re quite sure that, had the films had debuted with these as their official posters there would be far fewer kids pestering their parents to go and see them.
Animation fans around the world were saddened this week by the announcement that legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki has decided to retire from filmmaking.
A photo posted to Twitter seems to suggest that Miyazaki’s most beloved character, the cuddly forest spirit Totoro, has decided to follow the Studio Ghibli founder’s lead and leave animation behind as well, and in doing so has crossed over into the real world.
- Philip Kendall
Aug 21, 2013
Known the world over for their heartwarming stories and breathtaking animation, Studio Ghibli’s animated feature films have been capturing the hearts and minds of movie lovers young and old for years. With Kaze Tachinu currently soaring high above our heads and Kaguya Hime no Monogatari scheduled to arrive in just a few short months, the studio is showing no signs of slowing down, with both productions sure to attract whole new legions of fans.
But did you know that Studio Ghibli’s movies are literally crawling with easter eggs, secrets and sly winks, and that many of Ghibli productions have links to popular culture the world over? Test your Ghibli knowledge and maybe even learn a thing or two with this list of 15 little-known facts about our favourite animated movies.
Cats, eh? Lying around in the sun all day, ignoring their owners until their greedy little bellies are empty or they have an itch that they can’t scratch on their own. Anyone would think they weren’t put on this earth to constantly entertain us!
But if your pet cat simply isn’t in the mood to play and is the kind that will let you place random objects on its back without clawing your face off or vowing to smother you in your sleep, this little trick to transform an inactive furry pal in everyone’s favourite Studio Ghibli fluffball Totoro might be just the way to liven them up!
- Rona Moon
Jun 6, 2013
Many a foreigner living in Japan has attempted and mangled this classic karaoke favourite, the theme song from popular Japanese animated film My Neighbor Totoro, just so they can let their vocal cords rip in the chorus. Even with limited language skills, you can probably belt out “Totoro, totoro” one million times and manage to mumble through the rest of the words.
But this cockatiel Poko-chan’s sense of pitch and inner pizzazz puts humans to shame. Accompanied by her owner on piano, she warbles through a song that few have fully mastered. What would Simon Cowell say? You be the judge.
We all love Totoro, that huge cuddly bundle of fur, right? Well, maybe not this version of the lovable character from the famous Studio Ghibli anime “My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari No Totoro)”. Yes, the dark side of the friendly forest spirit is revealed in this particular work of art we found on the internet. Take a look at the unedited photo if you dare… Read More
It’s not often that a piece of clothing makes you feel sick to your stomach, but this one does, and not just because it’s creepy as hell. The bizarre suit has become a topic of conversation on the net in Japan and abroad, and if you look at the response, it seems readers are not enjoying the visual effect whatsoever, calling the body sock “a nightmare,” “too scary” and “an offense to Ghibli.” Read More
- Philip Kendall
Nov 12, 2012
From Totoro to Ponyo, Studio Ghibli’s characters are adored by millions of people the world over. But if those cute and cuddly creations were given a more realistic makeover would be still be quite so fond of them? If Totoro went from “Aaaaw” to “Arrrgh!” would quite so many kids insist on being tucked into a Ghibli bed-spread each night?
US artist and owner of one of the best names ever Andrew Michael Golden may be familiar to some readers for his “Videogame Characters in Real Life” series which went viral back in September this year. Well, since then he’s been hard at work bringing all of your Studio Ghibli favourites into our world.
And, goodness me, they’re eye-catching…
Imagine opening a box to find 5 little Totoro cream puffs staring up at you with their curious little chocolate eyes like in the picture above.
Even if you managed to catch your breath from the world’s longest “d’awwwww,” would you have the heart to eat these guys? I mean look at them. It’d be like eating a box of kittens. Flaky, cream-filled kittens….
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