Friday, April 14, 2006

Needlework in Miyazaki Movies

Since I spent the last few days un-cabled, I watched a ton of movies with the kids. We are on a major
Miyazaki kick. I would say we've watched about half of the ones available in the US.

My favorite is Spirited Away.

In this movie, there is a scene where the young girl and her two friends, the hamster and the fly, are at the good witch's cottage. She gives them some yarn to spin, and the hamster runs on the spinning wheel like it's an exercise wheel -- it's just so cute. Then I think there is a brief shot of them weaving on a loom and then the good witch is trying to show the hamster how to knit and says *knit 1, purl 2, knit 1, purl 2* while he's completely botching the whole thing. They end up making a small ponytail holder that they give the girl to put in her hair and the witch says *your friends made it for you with love.* The ponytail holder sparkles then, like it's magic, a very sweet scene.

Kiki's Delivery Service has a brief scene where the pregnant bakery shop owner is relaxing on the couch (with Kiki minding the shop)and she is shown knitting a pink object, presumably a baby item.

The Cat Returns (sorry the link is to the Japanese version, HERE is the Disney version, available in the US) is very unusual because it shows quilting! Yes, the main character's mother is a quilter. . .

Haru (the teenaged girl) comes home and Mom has her quilt spread all over the living room floor. She is sitting at a table with a workbasket, scissors, small patchwork squares and a cup of tea (not a sewing machine in sight). Apparently it's not going well, she puts her hand to her head, frustrated with her project and says *can you make dinner tonight?* There is another scene at the end of the movie where the mom is waking up in her bedroom and there are tons of rolls of fabric all around and behind her bed -- I just loved it!

Based on my experiences HERE, I would say quilting could be a popular hobby in Japan. The Japanese quilts I saw at the show were masterpieces. Although whether quilting is widespread or whether there are a small number of artistes, who knows. . .

We also watched Howl's Moving Castle, in which the main character is a milliner (hat maker) and they show her sewing some cherries onto a hat.

I recommend any and all of these movies, although some of them can be scary for preschoolers, the only one that has any adult content is Princess Mononoke. Against my better judgment, I let my 9 yo watch it, but will not let my 5 yo see it. It has some gory battle scenes, 4 letter words, and adult themes -- *Mom, what is a brothel?*, if you know what I mean. . .


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