facebook is useful. very useful. through a friend on FB i found out hayao miyazaki was going to be in town for a talk (with john lasseter, no less). i found out just in time to get tickets the day they went on sale (i hit the "buy" button right at 9:01am), which was a good thing since they sold out by mid-morning apparently.
if you don't know who hayao miyazaki is i'm not sure we can be friends ... just kidding ... sort of. miyazaki-san is the director of some of my favorite movies :: nausicaa of the valley of the wind, totoro, princess mononoke, howl's moving castle, etc. i never get tired of watching any of his films and i doubt i ever will. it pleases me bunches that ian and maya repeatedly watch some of miyazaki-san's movies (especially totoro and spirited away). along the same line as pixar films, miyazaki films can be enjoyed and appreciated by adults and children alike.
anyway, rupert + i made it a date night (along with our friend H who told us about the event) and headed to the samuel goldwyn theater in beverly hills last week. as we walked in we were given the chance to write a question that might be read by lasster and answered by miyazaki. being the smart cookie that i am, i thought this opportunity might present itself, and i came prepared with a question in mind.
the talk itself was lead by lasseter asking some questions, interspersed with extended clips from miyazaki's movies. the nice thing about that was watching them on the big screen; i've only seen a few of miyazaki's movies in a theater setting. the bad thing, however, was that they showed dubbed versions, which irked me. some of the voiceovers are so awful (especially jiji from kiki's delivery service -- truly awful -- sorry phil hartman). as rupert explained to H, "we're not allowed to watch these movies in english at our house." but, despite the dubbing, you know a movie is good when, even though you've seen it a hundred times before, you think, "hey, i was watching that!" when they stop the clip.
at the end of the talk came the q&a session. i sort of gave up on my question being asked (i've never been lucky like that) so i was pleasantly surprised, and slightly uncertain, when lasseter said the last question was from "yurak matuma[mumble mumble]?". of course, once he read the question i knew it was mine so i got very excited and craned to hear what miyazaki said.
my question was something along the lines of, "rumor has you retiring after every movie since princess mononoke. what keeps bringing you back to film making?"
his answer was something like, "to be honest, the first time i said i was going to retire was after nausicaa. but i only told my wife. now no one believes me so i'm not saying anything about retiring anymore." so he really didn't answer my question!
regardless, it was a thrill to see miyazaki and lasseter in the flesh, even if they were about the size of my thumb since we were sitting at the back of the theater. i never thought i would get the chance to be in the same room as miyazaki so i was in absolute heaven. too bad they didn't allow cameras at the talk, otherwise i would've snapped a million pictures. instead, i leave you with a self-portrait taken later that night at home.