The 10 Things I’ll Miss About Japan–No.07: The Ghibli Effect 9

My Neighbor Totoro fields

My Neighbor Totoro

Studio Ghibli is the famous studio directed by Hayao Miyazaki that is responsible for innumerable classics like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, just to name a handful. I grew up watching Ghibli movies. The first one I ever saw was Kiki’s Delivery Service when I was in elementary school, but I’ve seen just about every Miyazaki masterpiece since.

Things I’ll Miss #7: The Ghibli Effect

#8: Onsen

#9: Conbini

#10: Matsuri

Miyazaki without fail incorporates sprawling country scenery in his movies as nostalgic homage to the Japan of his childhood:

Kiki's Delivery Service fields

Kiki’s Delivery Service

the town in Howl's Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle

Arriety landscape


And then you come to Japan and realize how little Miyazaki exaggerates the true beauty of this country.

full-bloomed sakura in the spring

full-bloomed sakura in the spring

sunset in Shinjo

sunset in Shinjo

Shinjo City from the mountaints

Shinjo City from the mountaints

the Sea of Japan

the Sea of Japan

Japan rice fields

Shinjo rice fields in the morning

It’s a simple beauty, but one that has managed to leave me open-mouthed each summer that I’ve lived here. One of my favorite things about this season is driving along the country roads when the rice crop is still young–you can see the sky reflected perfectly in the water through the flashes of green, and it gives off the illusion that you’re travelling through this vast mythical land. That’s what Jeff and I refer to as the Ghibli Effect: the feeling that you’ve been transported into one of Miyazaki’s fantasy realms, about to embark on a grand quest full of mystery and wonder.

What’s your favorite Ghibli movie?
Want more? Check out “#6: Kaitenzushi” here!

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