Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My own Totoro Story

The best thank you card I ever received

If you are a regular reader of my blog, or even an occasional visitor, you'll know that I worship Studio Ghibli and the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Ghibli's other directors. My favorite Ghibli title changes often, because I consider five or six of the films to be just about perfect. But I would have to say that My Neighbor Totoro is the title that is most often at the top of my Ghibli list.

So why am I mentioning this again, now?

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I met Ariah. She's the 5-year-old daughter of Michelle, who I have worked with for the past seven months. This was the first time I had met Ariah though, and I found myself grinning the entire time she was there. The first thing she did was run up to mom, looking as eager as Ponyo running across the waves. She told me about the book she was coloring, and what movies she liked. Then I remembered that I had an extra DVD of My Neighbor Totoro after recently upgrading to Blu-ray. What better home could it go to?

I always aim high, and I hoped that this small gift might have a tiny positive impact on Ariah's life, and perhaps Michelle's as well. So few people in North America ever explore Miyazaki's films because they don't receive the kind of marketing that typical animated movies enjoy. I hoped that Totoro would result in the world having one or two more fans of Studio Ghibli and its worlds. I cannot imagine a better series of films to show to a child. The messages are so positive, innocent, powerful, and pure. Any kind of positive feedback would have been reward enough, but I wasn't prepared for what landed on my desk this morning.

The easiest way to explain it is to just show you:

I was worried that I might burst into tears when I opened the envelope, but I managed not to. It was like receiving a giant hug. Look at the effort that went into thanking me. I was close to tears several times during the day. It included one of the stickers I had sent, and the message was written using the pen I added to the package. Yep, Ariah had thought of everything.

I hope that Totoro opens the door for Ariah to see other Studio Ghibli titles. Will she give mom an ear of corn, or ask if she can grow something in the garden? Only time will tell.

So I have been exploding with joy today, and I now know what to do with my spare copy of Howl's Moving Castle.

Just think how many other people Miyazaki's films must have touched over the years. That's a magical legacy. I'll never forget the gift I received today.

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  1. So beautiful and touching, Steve! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm glad you like it, Fernando. Hard to beat moments like that.

  2. Awwww that's so sweet! :) Perhaps you've given her a memorable cinematic experience. I just featured Totoro again in the blog. Oh, I love that movie and every kid should love it too.

    1. I have since given her my spare copy of Howl's Moving Castle, which she liked a lot. Also loaned Kiki's Delivery Service and she watched it three times. Ponyo is up next.