Studio Ghibli theme park shares a secret for the lived-in feel of the real-world Mei and Satsuki’s house.

At Ghibli Park, the Studio Ghibli theme park located near Nagoya, the Dondoko Forest area is where you’ll find the My Neighbor Totoro attractions. The most impressive is the real-world recreation of the house that Mei and Satsuki live in during the film, which to many fans has become their go-to mental image of Japanese country living a generation or two ago.

▼ Mei and Satsuki’s house

What many people find so enchanting about the place is that it doesn’t feel a movie set or museum, but an actual home. That’s not just the result of clever visual design, though, as a recent post from the Ghibli Park official Twitter account gave a behind-the-scenes peek at a clever way the staff gives Mei and Satsuki’s house a lived-in feel.

[tweet align=center]

“Yesterday, when the park was closed, the staff lit the stove in the kitchen of Satsuki and Mei’s house and cooked a pot of rice, and also filled and heated the bath,” says the tweet. “By actually using them from time to time, the building continues to be used like a real house.”

▼ The in-anime kitchen and bath

It makes sense that there’s no better way to create an air of authenticity than by actually using the house like Mei and Satsuki would, and the tweet’s reveal has prompted online reactions such as:

“Wow! It’s awesome that those parts of the house are actually usable.”
“I never would have thought of that, but it does make it feel like a real house.”
“I really wish I could watch them cooking in that kitchen.”
“I want to eat the rice they made there.”
“I bet it tastes amazing!”
“It’d be cool if you could pay a fee and cook rice yourself there.”

That last one really does seem like it’d be an incredibly popular activity with visitors, but might not be feasible from a safety/liability standpoint, seeing as how both the stove and bath are heated by burning wood. If you really do have your heart set on cooking something while at Ghibli Park, though, thankfully they’ll teach you how to cook goheimochi over in the Mononoke Village area.

Source: Twitter/@ghibliparkjp
Images: Studio Ghibli
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