Statistically, the last thing your grandparents gave you was either a silver dollar taped to a birthday card, a ten-year-old piece of hard candy, or some very outdated advice on how to boil meat. Not the case for a couple of cute kids in Japan, who hit the peepaw and meemaw lottery when their grandparents dedicated their copious free time to erect a statue to childhood nostalgia.
Not so very-well hidden in the village of Takaharu of, appropriately, the Miyazaki prefecture stands a giant, wide-eyed beast of folklore. What is it doing there? Waiting for a cat bus. Fans of Studio Ghibli will immediately recognize it as the main furry blob of the 1988 movie My Neighbor Totoro. This Takaharu Totoro was created by two sweet septuagenarians just to please their grandkids (and draw attention to their B&B), carefully constructing a life-sized Totoro that towers over even the tallest person.
And since the most beloved anime character of all time has a few more fans than their grandkids (roughly the entire world population), this Totoro has become quite the tourist attraction. So much that the elderly couple now keeps an iconic red umbrella nearby, lending it out to all of the Instagram Like farmers.
But this isn't some cheap plastic knockoff that'll blow away with the first gust of wind. This Totoro is a genuine work of art. A project that spanned over months, the elderly couple sculpted this massive Totoro out of tons of cement and brick, blessing it not just with accurate dimensions, but also an appropriate level of earth-shaking mass.
And looking at its massive stone shell, this cutesy anime character looks less like a tourist trap and more like am ancient menhir (or in this case, an animenhir) those stoic standing stones of ancient times; permanent markers of dedication, remembrance, and cutesy whiskers.
And it's a lovely thought, that long after these delightful pensioners are gone, and their grandkids are grown up, this stone monolith will still be there to transport everyone back to their childhood days. If that freaking cat bus would finally show up, at least.
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Top Image: Studio Ghibli / Foot of Myth Guest House