16 March 2011

A Gentler Time in the Land of the Rising Sun

When my beautiful niece Zoe was just a little twinkie (she's 20 now) she loved the early Japanese animé film, My Neighbor Totoro (1988). We watched it over and over again. The story takes you back to a simpler time (1958) when the Kusakabe family moves to an old house in rural Japan. Soon after moving in, the little girls discover magic all around and this gentle, sweet and slightly edgy story unfolds. The soundtrack is unforgettable; I still hum some of the songs in my mind.

Roger Ebert hailed My Neighbor Totoro as one of his "Great Movies," calling it "one of the lovingly hand-crafted works of Hayao Miyazaki.. It is rich with human comedy in the way it observes the two remarkably convincing lifelike little girls... It is a little sad, a little scary, a little surprising and a little informative, just like life itself. It ... suggests that the wonder of life and the resources of imagination supply all the adventure you need."

I just wonder how many Japanese parents might have turned to this gentle little film to bring some comfort to their children in these last few incomprehensibly difficult days following the earthquake & tsunami that has changed their beloved Japan forever.

a happy day fishing in the stream in the Japanese
countryside ca. 1958... Totoro and the girls..
Totoro has
subsequently made cameo appearances
in Toy Story3 and South Park

Mei running with her new friends in the forest

if you listen to the "Totoro" song, I promise you will
be singing it all day long!


the following Japanese fabrics and designs seem like they
could have been from 1958, a happier and simpler time


help Japanese Quake relief here too by buying
Jill's beautiful notecards:

my friend Jill of The Artful Bee created these
limited edition notecards
to benefit Japanese Quake relief
to order: jill@artfulbee.com

Thank you for visiting! xoxo Kit


  1. This is a beautiful tribute to the people of Japan at this terrible time. I can't imagine what they are going though as a nation.

    I am also taking part in the blogging day of silence tomorrow. Maybe our collective prayers and thoughts will help in some small way.

    Thanks for these links too Kit, I will check them out.

    Best wishes,

  2. Dear Kit,
    thank you for this heartwarming post.

    xo Franka

  3. Dear Natasha,

    Thanks for visiting...it's difficult to believe such devastation could happen so ruthlessly to a more peaceful setting...



  4. Dear Franka, Thanks so much!

    I wanted to bring a small amount of comfort and gentleness to the devastating images that are searing all of us right now...this little video and its music is soothing and could only have been made by a Japanese artist...



  5. Après avoir suspendu son activité pendant de longs mois, le laboratoire va pouvoir enfin reprendre ses publications sur son site officiel.


I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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