As a little girl, I was not a big fan of animated movies. I spent more time playing outside rather than watching the cartoon marathon on TV. I remember watching Doraemon and Tom & Jerry, but that was all about it. But years later my brother introduced me to Studio Ghibli and it won me my heart.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation and film studio headed by the directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Their Howl’s Moving Castle caught my attention. I repeatedly watched Spirited Away, My Neighbors The Yamadas, and Ponyo.Their works have touched me deeply.

During my visit to Japan last month, I would not want to miss the chance to visit Ghibli Museum in Mitaka – a suburb area in west of Tokyo. My euphoria rose from the moment I arrived at the nearest train station.

It was not allowed to take pictures in the museum. They wanted us to experience the ‘journey’ within the place and forget everything, including our camera. But I was too stunned anyway.

The front gate was like an entrance to a fantasy world with the little windows and aqua blue canopy – it looked like one of a troll’s house in a nowhere land.

The patio had a bench and was surrounded with wild plants. I imagined Mr. Miyazaki sat there with his cup of hot coffee whilst the rain fall. At his back, the giant forest spirit Totoro stood silently to accompany.

At the front door, my imagination went wilder. I met the characters from their movies on the stained glass of the windows and jumped with excitement while recalling their names. I recorded each details in my mind and suddenly I grew younger. I was a child again and, for a moment, my so-called obligations as an adult passed from my sight.

Myra Bianda.