Come for Toshio Suzuki’s easy, step-by-step instructions, stay for the hidden Ghibli gems in the office

Now that Japan’s state of emergency has been extended until at least the end of May, people around the country are looking for more ways to entertain themselves at home, and here with an idea everyone can get behind is Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki.

With a background in editing and an artistic talent so great he’s been given his own exhibitions, Suzuki is now sharing the secret to creating one of the characters he loves to draw: Totoro from Ghibli’s 1988 animated feature film My Neighbour Totoro.

Using a calligraphy pen, Suzuki talks us through each step of the process to creating the cute character in a new video released by the Nagoya Board of Education. Nagoya, in Aichi Prefecture, is close to Suzuki’s heart, not only because it’s the area where the upcoming Ghibli theme park will be located, it’s also the place where he was born.

Take a look at the video below:

The video is part of Aichi Prefecture’s “Smile Project Channel” which aims to keep children smiling through these worrying times while they follow the government’s requests to stay home. In the video, Suzuki begins by greeting everyone with: “Have you all been keeping well? I’m going to teach you how to draw Totoro! OK?”

He then gets right to it, using a calligraphy pen to draw Totoro’s ears and then the character’s rounded body, stopping to say, “Here comes the most important part. With the eyes, draw them far apart. This is most important.”

After a few extra strokes of the brush, Totoro appears!

“Done! This is something you can do at home! I hope you all draw it!”

The 71-year-old certainly does make drawing Totoro look easy, and we’ll definitely be trying this for ourselves at home. But one thing we couldn’t tear our eyes away from during the video is all the Ghibli treasures surrounding Suzuki in his office. On the left of the screen is a row of folders with yellow papers along their spines featuring handwritten titles such as “Howl’s Moving Castle”, “Tales from Earthsea”, “The Secret World of Arrietty”, “Ponyo”, “From up on Poppy Hill” and “Ghibli Reports”.

▼ On the right of the screen is another row of folders titled “Disney“.

While we’d love to open those folders to see whether they contain hand-drawn storyboards, we’re happy to gaze at all the gorgeous Ghibli trinkets on the shelves above them, like Totoro’s bus stop and a little Yubaba from Spirited Away. And right behind Suzuki’s head, inside the glass cabinet in centre frame, is a Corona brand typewriter.

▼ The same brand of typewriter Tom Hanks says he “used to love” before he contracted coronavirus.

The video from Suzuki is just one of the latest offerings from the team at Studio Ghibli to keep us occupied indoors at the moment. Now that we have a museum video diary and a bevy of glorious Ghibli backgrounds to dress up our video conference calls with, staying home just got a little brighter, thanks to the magic of Studio Ghibli.

Source, images: YouTube/名古屋市教育委員会 指導室 
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