Miyazaki for Kids: So Much Better Than Slicing Your Hand Off In An Ice Sculpting Incident
Kids make it hard to concentrate. Even when they’re not interrupting directly – which is rare – part of your mind must remain free in case your five year old strolls through carrying a power drill and says, “Oh by the way, Mum, just warning you: it’s going to be a little bit noisy in the living room for a moment.”
This happened at our house a few days ago when I was trying to figure out how to meet my looming pre-holiday work deadline. Like any responsible parent, I responded by showing him how to use handheld power tools to create ice sculptures on the floor in front of the couch, then switched the TV on so I could safely ignore him in favour of finishing the stuff I should have finished the previous night except I was too busy commenting on other people’s blogs.
The screen-induced tranquility was so intoxicating that a full thirty minutes passed before I looked up and realised they were watching Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo On The Cliff By The Sea in Japanese, with subtitles, and loving it. I can see how the feature would appeal to them:
…and my only regret is we didn’t leave ourselves enough time to Ghibli it up properly before the trip. Especially since they’ve begged for Ponyo daily, and it’s taught them at least one word in Japanese (“arigato” – almost as useful to us as “terribly sorry“). Then again, I might get a second chance at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.
But don’t let me convince you of the virtues of Miyazaki’s films for kids. GeekDad Rewind (Wired) can talk for paragraphs about the guy’s laudable female role models, and you might also consider if any studio with a related wiki can possibly be un-awesome. I suspect not.
Meanwhile, if I’m slow to responding to your comments, it’s probably because I’m checking out this DVD guide to family art-house entertainment and wondering how I can get someone to organise an open-air children’s art-house film festival in Singapore, and not, for example, getting my work done before deadline.
Update: Thanks to all who recommended My Neighbour Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service. Kiki provided a great female role model, and (as you can see) the kids were quite taken with My Neighbour Totoro: