Today was the first morning I didn't have to set my alarm and head into a day full of interviews. So Mike and I decided to sleep in and then grab a cup of coffee before the wrap party tonight for the film. It had been dry all morning, so I wore shorts and my espadrilles. The moment we stepped outside it begins to rain a little. Not to fear though! We both brought our umbrellas. I never leave anywhere without my travel umbrella here. But the thing about the travel umbrella is... it's only really big enough to cover a small child. Half-way into our walk, the light rain turns into a torrential downpour! Big, fat droplets of rain. If I didn't have an umbrella, it'd would have been similar to standing under a steady waterfall, but in the middle of the street, with a tiny travel umbrella fit for a child. For a moment, the rain actually paralyzed us. We both stopped walking, and couldn't stop laughing. Finally, we were able to take cover under the entrance of a temple with some other veteran folk who weren't amazed, or stunned by the rain as we (2 Los Angelenos who haven't truly experienced rain in years) were. Needless to say, my espadrilles are soaked to the point where they make a loud squishing sound with every step. And the shorts I wore did nothing to protect my legs from the cold wetness of the rain streaming off the sides of my too tiny umbrella.
After cleaning up, we headed to the "wrap party" for the film, "When Marnie Was There". I performed with the amazing composer Takatsugu Muramatsu on piano. The Director (Hiromasa Yonebayashi), Actress (Sara Takatsuki), Producer (Yoshiaki Nishimura), and Executive Producer (Toshio Suzuki), all had a wooden mallet in hand, and on the count of 3, broke open the wooden lid of the sake barrel that we all drank from as the night went on.
All in all, it was another very exciting day. Tomorrow is a day off (!!!).
This is the 1st night I'm able to keep my eyes open long enough to atleast write a little. The past 2 nights, I tried to return an email or two from my phone, and I would wake up with my phone in my hand, and the last thing I typed usually made no sense. I think I started to type my dreams! hehe...
But on Day 1 of the promo trip here in Tokyo, I was settling in at Studio Ghibli, getting ready for my first interview, when the Producer of the film, Yoshiaki Nishimura, came in and asked, "Are you ready to meet Miyazaki-san right now?" And that was that! Moments later, we were walking to Miyazaki-san's office (a beautiful wooden house, on a quiet, completely unassuming street in a residential neighborhood). Before I even had time to register what was happening, there was Miyazaki-san, standing in the doorway, inviting us in. We shook hands, and I bowed as much as I could, and said the 3 phrases I memorized in case I should ever meet him. Then we sat down at his work table and talked so casually about a project he just finished for a Nutcracker exhibition, about the kids at the Nursery next door who come over and run around his office (He built a beautiful Nursery next door, for the Ghibli Staff members' children), about the 200 year old tree outside. I say we talked "casually", but really I didn't say too much. There is just too much I would say, or too many dumb things I would ask. I didn't want to embarrass myself or bother him, hehe... so mostly I just listened and smiled and laughed. I'll never forget our meeting though, and the calmness I felt there. As we left, Mike said he loved him and wants to be like him when he grows up. Me too.
Then this morning I watched the film, "When Marnie Was There" for the first time. It is sooooooo beautiful. Truly, truly. I've read the book now, 3 times. So I knew the story well enough to follow along and know pretty much what was happening. That being said, I wasn't able to understand the dialogue word for word, so there's still a lot I missed. And yet, I was able to feel so much, just by seeing the film. Hiromasa Yonebayashi is such a beautiful Director. He really captured the subtle essence of these characters and their personalities and emotions. There were so many moments that made me want to cry during the film. And then when my song started playing at the end of the movie... a huge, powerful wave of emotion washed over me. Not just because the film is so moving and emotional, but I thought of all the lucky events, and unforgettable people that led me to this place right now.... watching a Ghibli film with my song playing in the background. I struggled so hard to keep the tears from rolling down my face. I was truly overcome with deep, deep gratitude.
I hope you all can see this film, and I hope it touches you as it did me.
Anyway, I just wanted to share these 2 big highlights of the trip (and of my life) with you.
Life has been a bit of a whirlwind ever since I got back from tour. I've been basically counting down the days til my promo trip to Japan for the new Studio Ghibli film, "When Marnie Was There"... finishing up other super fun projects, opening--and then closing my online store (ha!), prepping for "Marnie", seeing as many friends as I could before my 7 week trip! I only just started packing about 4 hours ago! :P I don't know why, but I packed 30 DVDs, a sewing project, 4 books, and a tennis racket... as if I'm going to have nothing to do while I'm over there!
This trip will be 2 dreams packed into 1 for me. Being a part of a Studio Ghibli film, and living in Japan for more than 1 month. I couldn't be more excited! In fact, I think it's my adrenaline that's keeping me up til 3:45am, writing a blog...
I have 4 rolls of film that still need to be developed from the U.S. tour! I'm hoping to share those with all of you at some point!
This post is very random... just wanted to say hello before I left. :) Also, I'm going to try to blog on a daily basis while I'm over there... even if it's just a sentence or two.