Totoro my neighbour by Studio Ghibli

It is week 10 and I have made no modifications to my learning routine.
Sometimes I keep to my timetable and at other times I don’t. I just accept this as fact of life. I am more disciplined but I am still prone to distractions. I set a side 10 minutes before going to bed to listening to audio and 10 minutes before going to work to listening to more audio.

My only complaint is that I am no longer watching Chinese programmes. I am learning actively with material tailored for beginners, but I am not watching TV programmes for the Chinese diaspora. Our office has cable, I think I’ll start watching Chinese programmes for 30 minutes or more.

In the meantime, every other evening I watch a film produced by Studio Ghibli. If you don’t know any of their films/anime I would suggest you take a look. I think Hayao Miyazaki’s work is beautiful, subtle and innocent and the soundtracks often trigger warm childhood memories.

I started watching Miyazaki’s work during the 2009 Christmas season with the help of an alert market vendor called Sunday. Sunday asked me: “what do you like?” I said: “cartoons from Japan”. He showed me a couple of things that were of the Pokemon, Digimon calibre. I hissed and I started walking away. Sunday whispered to his apprentice and begged me to wait patiently on his bench by the fan under the hot Sun while the apprentice rummaged through their bigger shop that was a couple of blocks away.

I waited for a long time. I waited for approximately a quarter of an hour and 15 minutes is a very long time when you are sweating profusely and busy wondering about whether or not your white shirt has become transparent.

As promised he came back with a new smaller collection of CDs. The pile included Naruto, Bleach and all the series I love to watch and were available on Dailymotion.fr. I was quite excited because it was not possible to buy anime from the market sellers in 2005. So yippee!!!, our faithful CD pirates had extended their range of products. Then to my amazement I spotted three DVDs with sketches of Totoro and it dawned on me that I had hit the jackpot. No point in asking the vendor what the DVDs were about, but I could tell each one had a collection of films from the same company. I love anime, I love the Japanese language and I would have bought it with or without the English translation. I spent 1,500 naira ( +/-$10) and went home with Miyazaki’s work of art.

Once home, I was glad to discover that the subtitles were in Japanese, English and Chinese. I never did check if I could change the audio. I was content. My CD collection is in Lagos and I am now happy to report that every single anime film is dubbed in Chinese 🙂 and now that I can recognise Chinese characters, well the subtitles are in traditional hanzi.

Something tells me I should pay Sunday another visit, just in case he has other films. I am sure he does, I can’t wait!

PS. I know that pirate copies are bad. I hope one day to buy the whole collection, each film costs about $12 dollars but I doubt I will find them in Europe with Japanese,Chinese,English subtitles and Japanese and Chinese audio. My collection of DVDs was and still is a life saver.

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