No one loves Totoro more than the Japanese themselves. The warm-hearted movie has inspired the nation to recreate his image in countless forms: mailboxes, pastries, children’s clothes; you name it and there is a Totoro version.
On Christmas I saw a man dressed as Totoro driving around Tokyo with a Christmas tree attached to his motorbike decorated with objects from the movie.
Little kids sing the theme song while walking down the road.
Middle aged men and women carry Totoro keychains attached to their briefcases.
He is well loved.
You can gather that love and maybe a few acorns too and pay him a visit in Tokyo’s neighboring prefecture, Saitama.
In early spring I visited Kawagoe in Saitama Prefecture. It is lovingly referred to by locals as Ko-Edo, or Little Edo. There you will find streets lined with warehouses and stores constructed during the Edo period. These stores are still open, bustling with tourists who want a nostalgic glimpse into an era past.
A short removal from Japan was all it took for me to truly appreciate it.
Get ready to be disappointed.
The time had come when I needed contacts. My last pair was fuzzy and leaving me with a headache at the end of the day. I wasn’t nervous venturing into the Japanese world of eye care, whatever that may mean; I was lazy.
Japan is notorious for painful dental care. I was not looking forward to my visit, even though it was a simple teeth cleaning.
After poking around a few dentists’ websites, with the help of a Japanese teacher I was able to find an English speaking dentist. Many advertise they have English speakers, but on the ground experience is teaching me that people lie about their ability.
For whatever reason I’ve been determined to show the American cartoon Adventure Time to my students. It’s one of my favorite television shows and I think the students would enjoy Finn and Jake’s childish antics.