May and the Kitten Bus

littenbus2.jpgLast month I got to visit one of my dream destinations – The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan. There on business, I was treated to a vip tour before the crowds descended on the wonderland-type venue for the day. Although I have more to write about this spectacular public offering designed by Miyazaki himself, I wanted to open with a note about “May and the Kitten Bus,” one of the shorts Studio Ghibli has produced for exclusive screening at the museum. (In other words, this one won’t be out on DVD or showing in the States anytime soon.) As a huge, huge (did I say HUGE), Miyazaki fan and a great lover of “My Neighbor Totoro,” I almost cried when I found out there was a new short, AND, showing in a theater like no other. The Saturn Theater is located in the basement of the museum and only has eighty seats. The museum brochure describes it like this: “A blue sky and lots of colorful flowers are drawn on the ceiling and walls. When the film ends, the windows open and the sunshine comes in.””May and the Kitten Bus” is certainly about sunshine, but it is also about the magic of the forest at night, when all the Cat Buses and Totoros come out and go, well…wherever it is they go to create whatever it is they create – which I think is just a belief in the power of imagination and nature itself. (No Spoilers Here.) In the opening scene little May from the original movie is out and about in the forest, opening a caramel candy wrapper. A little wind immediately winds up and rushes around her, turning into a little Kitten Bus who wants some sweets. May, of course, obliges and thus begins a friendship that includes a journey to a nighttime meeting of forest creatures. As is her way, May makes friends with even the most unlikely of characters through her charm and generous desire to share her good tasting treats.I hope all of you can see this special short some time. In future posts I’ll tell you how to get into the museum. It’s not like most venues; you can’t just show up. Although tickets are booked months in advance, obtaining entry is possible through certain websites and tour groups. I’ve done a pretty pathetic scan of the hang-tag off my Kitten Bus plush, but at least it gives you an idea of the artwork from the film.