My nine-day “staycation” started last Friday at 6 pm. Many around Japan went overseas, did various activities around the country, or visited loved ones. Yet, I decided to do a “staycation”. Yes, it seems boring: me staying inside my apartment and surroundings for about a week. But, I love it since I could stay in bed for long periods of time, read various materials, be minimalistic, and deep clean.
That Friday, I pondered on what should I do on the first night of freedom: Should I do something or go to bed early so I could start my vacation off right by waking extra early on Saturday? Continuing to think about, I checked the TV Guide to see what was going to be the movie of the night. And by chance, it was going to be one of my favorites.
The Magic Within
One of my favorite movies is “Hauru no Ugoku Shiro” Howl’s Moving Castle. It was released in 2005 and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, often dubbed as the “Walt Disney of Japan”. He has directed dozens of films over the past four years. Many know his 2002 film “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” Spirited Away. That film is my dad’s favorite Ghibli film, but it isn’t mine. When I first watched Ghibli movies, I liked “Mahoutsukai no Takyuubin” Kiki’s Delivery Service. But, my current favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle, especially the English dub, ever since it was released. It is something magical, fun, and romantic.
Now, I know Howl is such a handsome character, but the real beauty of the movie is Sophie. You have to watch the film to see why as I don’t want to spoil the whole film here. Even so, I see some of Sophie’s characteristics in me. Maybe because I am often self-doubting myself. I always think that I don’t have much self-confidence or self-esteem. Also, I put other’s needs before mine even though it might not make me happy. That is why when I was watching the movie last Friday, I thought to myself: “I can relate easily to Sophie”.
The Magical Soundtrack
The music of Studio Ghibli films is genuinely magical too. Composed by Joe Hisaishi, the soundtrack to this magical movie has pieces that are filled with various emotions: happiness, sadness, joy, fear, anger, and love. Of course, the wide ranges of pieces inside this soundtrack are composed to suit the film’s storyline. Even so, I loved this soundtrack, as well as many others, for everyday listening. Film scores are relaxing, brings stress levels down, and makes perfect easy-listening music during work. I also like to play classical or suitable film soundtracks during lunch break in my classroom. I heard that soothing, classical songs help kids to relax more and become happier.
“Jinsei no Merry Go Round” The Merry Go Round of Life from the film is a great piece for easy listening. The piano solo, in the beginning, soothes and comforts the soul with its gentle and airy tone. The strings that come in afterward help to create a romantic, magical feeling. The musical motifs found in this tune can later be heard again in various pieces like “Kuuchuu Sanpo” Walking in the Air, “Tokimeki” Heartbeat, and my favorite “Shizuka na Omoi” Silent Feelings. “Hoshi no Umi e” To Star Lake is another fantastic piece as it is grand from the zeal of the instruments. There are other excellent pieces on the soundtrack, and you should give it a listen!
The World’s Promise
The piece I picked for this blog post is the film’s ending song, “Sekai no Yakusoku” The World’s Promise. It starts off with a grand piano playing a light, romantic solo. Then the strings come in with this virtuoso yet calming entrance to bring the introduction to a close. I love this cadence; it is so beautiful, romantic, and such an ear-pleasing sound.
The song is kept to a minimum as it only involves a grand piano, strings, and vocals provided by Chieko Baisho, who voiced both young and old Sophie in the movie. Yet, having less isn’t a bad thing as the trio helps to keep the calm and soothing mood in check. Baisho’s vocals aren’t extraordinary, like let’s say a diva voice like Whitney Houston or Christina Aguilera, but diva vocals are not needed for this kind of piece. Instead, Basho’s vocals are a perfect fit as they have a steady and suited tone. She also displays various emotions or singing specific styles throughout the song. For example, singing softly at the end a phrase or slowly trilling a succession of notes.
“Sekai no Yakusoku” is a perfect song to get you through your day, whenever you are working, cleaning the house, studying, or driving the kids to practice. Its soothing, melancholic presence will make you feel good and at ease with yourself and your surroundings.
How does “Sekai no Yakusoku” make you feel after listening to it? Tell me below!
About the Artist
Chieko Baisho is a Japanese singer and actress. She joined the Shouchiku Kagekidan theatre group in 1960 after graduating from Shouchiku Music and Dance School. She made her movie debut the year after by starring in the movie Hanjo. Two years later, in 1963, she made her singing career debut with the single “Shitamachi no Taiyou” The Sun of Downtown. She then won the newcomer award at the Annual Japan Record Awards for that year. Also appeared on the prestigious end-of-the-year music competition NHK Kouhaku Utagassen.
Baisho has had a successful movie and singing career spanning over fifty years. Because of her long-spanning career and her contributions to Japanese culture, she received The Order of the Rising Sun from the Emperor of Japan in 2013.
This Post Has 51 Comments
There’s nothing like a good staycation! It’s nice to just slow down and enjoy the life around you, especially when you’ve got good books, music, AND the motivation to clean! You can’t beat that! I am glad you are enjoying your time. Thanks for sharing your awesome staycation with us. 👍🏽
Thanks for commenting!
That really is so relaxing. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for commenting!
This movie is in my dvd shelf along with all the other Ghibli films. Now I have to have a movie night with the kiddos, it’s a beautiful movie (they all are really)!
What is your favorite Ghibli movie?
I’m so with you, I love a good staycation! And wow that music is so, so, soothing. I can feel my stresses melting away.
I’m glad it soothes you too. Thanks for commenting!
As much as I love to travel, once in a while it is great to have a staycation. We did one last year for our anniversary and just visited a few local places. Really relaxing!
It is really rewarding! Thanks for commenting!
This is fantastic! I love anything that helps soothe me from a busy day. These days have been insane, I love having something new to relax with.
I’m glad you liked it!
THAT WAS MAGICAL! I’d love to know what she’s saying?
So sorry for not providing the lyrics. Here are they (and a translation):
The last time I was in the land of rising sun, our tour guide actually recommended Joe Hisaishi and his tunes kinda stuck with me on my phone. I’m so glad to see that you liked that too! HE is absolutely amazing!
What is your favorite soundtrack or tune composed by Joe Hisaishi? I love his works, they are amazing, like you said!
I absolutely love those very relaxing and stress reliever. Thats a perfect music for me glad that you like it too.
Thanks for commenting! I’m glad that you like relaxing music too!
There’s nothing better than a good stay-cation!
Great post x
Music is so powerful. It is incredible how certain musical sounds can change your mood and make you feel calmer.
This song is so beautiful! Think I may have to have a movie night and listen to all the soundtracks now. Great post xx
My favorite thing to do on a staycation is to have a long hot bath. I think listening to this music while soaking in the tub would be so relaxing!
Please do and tell me what you think.
I love the Studio Ghibli music! Joe Hisaishi does such a masterful job writing music and it always suits the films so well. Spirited Away and Totoro are some of my favorites from him as well. This was a good listen for today!
Thanks for commenting! Studio Ghibli and its music are masterpieces in their own rights. Tonight’s film on TV is Totoro, I can’t wait to see it again.
This looks like something my brother-in-law and nephew would love. I’ll have to share it with them!
I’ve never heard of this movie. I’ll have to look for it at my local library. Staycations can be the best. I’ve traveled in Japan in the summertime, so I know how hot it can get. Your apartment was probably nice and cool.
Thanks, it is but I wondered about how high will my electricity bill be.
This looks like such a cool movie! I love soothing sounds so I may have to watch and listen myself!
Please do and let me know what you think!
“Hauru no Ugoku Shiro is one of my favorite movies too. I and my husband love watching this all over again.
That’s great to hear. Have you read the book?
Enjoy your time off!
Staycations are the best! I love having nothing to do and all the time in the day to do it!
I am enjoying it. I’m just sad I have to go back to work in two days.
Sounds like a great film! Music is amazing on what it can do, I definitely need to watch this for sure
Please do, it is an amazing film! Be sure to check out other films by Miyazaki!
I have never heard of this just I love the music. I even edited a session to the full film.
I’m glad you liked it!
I’ve heard of Howl’s Moving Mountain and great things about it, but i haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.
You should, and then read the book. They are magically!
I have been living in Japan for several years and love their animation! The music you included here make me miss my years in Japan so much.
Staycation is the best soothing thing one can do to calm down busy schedules and be in peace.
Staycations can seriously be some of the best times. I love that you had the opportunity to do this!
I just started my staycations. That will definetly help me recharge my batteries and relax. Thanks for sharing
I haven’t seen that movie but definitely would love to to do it after your review!
Wow, thanks for sharing. It seem I have some movie on my movie list.
This is a new music to me that will take me to a different dimension.
This has been on my movie wishlist for a long time. I am going to watch this soon now
I need another staycation like this! I have never been to Japan yet, although it’s still on top of my list of countries to visit 🙂