I think everyone knows Studio Ghibli‘s magical films. Howl’s Moving Castle is based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones, one of my favourite authors (who I also have a zine of essays about). The film follows the basic outline and characters of the book, but differs in a lot of ways (for instance Howl is Welsh in the book, and the secret black door leads to suburban Wales). No-one really cares though, as it preserves the spirit of the book, and all the changes work well with the story and it’s a wonderful film. You can see some of Diana’s thoughts about it in this interview I conducted.

When I was in Japan I went to the Studio Ghibli Museum just outside of Tokyo. Sadly pictures were not allowed inside, but I wrote about it in my zine of the trip. I highly recommend the museum, it’s magical. The bookshop was also stocked with Miyazaki’s own favourite books, as well as books related to the studio’s films. I didn’t buy anything, as they were all in Japanese, and it would take me forever to read anything, but I noted down a lot of less well-known books I saw in the shop to compile a reading list (helpfully the copyright tends to list the author’s names in roman text rather than try to make it fit katakana). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write down the Japanese author’s names in most cases as reading unknown names written in kanji is very tricky. However Miyazaki made a list of classic children’s books (including a lot of the usual suspects like The Secret Gardenelsewhere which also includes some Japanese recommendations.