Monday 2 June 2008

Ghibli museum

Last week we met up with my friends who are over from England and went to the Ghibli museum. The museum holds the artwork and some of the inspiational ideas from the Ghibli films produced by Hayao Miyazaki, I suppose his most famous films abroad are Spirited Away and My Neighbour Totoro, BabyEbi has only seen the Totoro film and loves it. I first fell for Japanese Anime when I saw Princess Mononoke, although it I had to watch it 3 times to get the gist of the story (all Japanese) but since then I have collect quite a few of his films. Tororo is lovely and a good example of Japanese country living for those who have never set foot in Japan. Some of the exported films though have parts edited out, such as the bath scene in Totoro where it shows the two young girls having a bath with their dad. In Japan this is not unusual yet in western countries it can be frowned upon so they cut it. If you want to know more about the Miyazaki films I can highly recommend Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation which talks about the various films he has done as it was published a couple of years ago it doesn't have his latest films in it. The other two Japanese anime books that I like are The Anime Companion: What's Japanese in Japanese Animation and Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation.
The museum itself is in a really interesting building, lots of corridors to explore, little bridges, doors to open, spiral staircases etc. You also get entrance to a 15 minute film that was made for the museum so it can't be seen elsewhere. BabyEbi has never been to a cinema before and he was SO excited, every time a character came on the screen that he knew he would shout out their name and when Totoro made an appearance I thought he was going to burst! So cute. So we explored the whole building, BabyEbi climbed on the catbus, we took our own lunch and had a bento on the cafe deck, the sun wasn't out but the weather was pleasant enough. You are not allowed to take photo's inside the museum so I haven't got many to show you

If you are ever in Tokyo I highly recommend the museum although getting tickets is a bit of a faff since they have to be pre-booked. If you don't fancy that there is also the Totoro Forest (Totoro no mori) which is where Mr Ebi proposed to me all those years ago ;o)

You might have noticed that my posts have been a bit sparse recently it is partly due to the computer playing up and the last few days Babyebi has been sick. We went to a friends birthday party on Saturday and although he had been a bit grumpy in the morning he was OK but by lunch time he had a fever and really wasn't well so my friends husband drove us home and Babyebi threw up in their lovely new car! Oh dear, at least most it went on him and not the actual car.
We gave the birthday boy some paints and I made him an apron (modelled by BabyEbi) I made it the same as the one I made BabyEbi a while back. The neck is elastic so it is easy to take on and off and the strap is elastic with velcro fasten which he can also do himself.
Instead of wrapping paper I bought some little bags from Muji. In Muji they supply crayons and stamps to decorate the bags with but I just bought them home and BabEbi decorated it with Crayola fabric crayons. He drew a brilliant picture of his friend and wrote his name (I wrote the it on a piece of paper and he copied) and on the back drew lots of things he thought T would like, such a steam train, jet plane, cat...


  1. We have a Disney release of Totoro, it says '2006 DVD' on the back, and that does have the bath scene in it. So I guess they put it back in at some point.

  2. I seem to remember it was the first release that the edited it out, if not all of it, parts of it to make it more 'tasteful'. I haven't seen the edited version so I'm not 100% sure how they did it.

  3. i went to see it waaaaay back when, in the theater, back home, and i don't remember if they cut the scene out or not. i think not. i had seen it on video at my friend's house (in japanese, obviously) so i think i would have remembered if it was gone or not.

    then, when it came out on video, i bought it and it's there. maybe since then it was edited out, but it sounds like maybe not? i can't remember the japanese version (i bought that on video when i first came to japan, but the kids wrecked it a few months ago, taking out the tape, so i threw it away)but, IIRC, i think the scene was edited just a bit. i can't remember how, though.

  4. oh, and my favorite miyazaki film is nauscia (sp?) and the valley of the wind. i cry every time i watch it!!

  5. sorry to comment a third time but a little bit of internet research has turned up that it was not edited out. but there is some 'ill feeling' about it.

  6. ahhh, I have dug the book out. It was Nausicaa that was edited and US companies wanted to edit out the bath scene and the scene of Mei and her sister jumping around on the tatami in Totoro but Ghibli company put their foot down and said no (they considered the editing done in Nausicaa to be butchery). The US companies thought the two scenes would not be understood by American audiences.

    Taken from Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation

  7. We love Miyazaki. My son's favorites are Totoro and Kiki. Mine are Castle in the Sky and Spirited Away. I would love to go to the Ghibli Museum some day.

    About the editing - releases in the US in the 80's probably had things edited out. Any of the recent releases by Disney/Buena Vista will not have anything edited out, because that is part of the contract Ghibli made with Disney. Well, they can't have any scenes edited out. There may be something lost in the translation. We wondered how Pom Pokko could get a "G" rating. They use the phrase "racoon pouch" instead of something else.

  8. Ah, I love the Ghibli-museum, it's fabulous!
    So unfair, though, that us grown-ups aren't allowed to play in the life-size neko-basu :-(

  9. Machiruda - the catbus ne? BabyEbi loved it, I was a bit worried because he had been up in the night with nose bleeds and could see the catbus getting covered in blood! Luckily the catbus escaped the bloody nose this time, I don't actually like the catbus, it freaks me out a bit.

    The book was written before the Disney contract was made and it speculates what would happen if the two met.

    I can't decide which is may favourite, I still have a soft spot of Mononoki and I love Grave Of The Fireflies which was directed by Miyazaki's colleague Takahata and released as a double bill with Totoro. It is the saddest film EVER, I am not one to cry at films but I sobbed through it.

  10. Grave of the Fireflies is very sad and disturbing, but I think it is one of those that's important for people to watch once to get them thinking about the kinds of things we don't like to think about.

    My favorite non-Miyazaki Ghibli film is Only Yesterday. I haven't heard yet whether Disney plans to release that one in English. I hope they do. I especially like the contrast between the little girl in Only Yesterday and Chihiro in Spirited Away. I think it shows how much kids' attitudes have changed in the last couple of decades.


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