Here’s a bald account of how I spent the first annual Global Shinkai Day.
At around noon on the 28th, I poured myself a cup of apple juice (no wine to hand, I’m afraid) and raised it in a toast, silently mouthing these words:
To Shinkai Makoto.
May he be given many more years in which to practise his craft, for the enjoyment and edification of all.
I took one sip, settled into a comfortable sofa and slowly finished my beverage whilst watching the short films Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko (She and Her Cat, 1999) and Hoshi no Koe (Voices of a [Distant] Star, 2002).
Then I was off to a meeting that took up most of the afternoon. That night, I immediately moved on to Shinkai’s first full-length film, Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho (Beyond the Clouds, the Promised Place, 2004). The following morning, I completed the screening with Byousoku 5 Centimeter (5 Centimetres Per Second, 2007) and capped the event with a closing toast:
To Shinkai Makoto.
In gratitude for the past, and in anticipation of the future.
Byousoku 5 Centimeter left me in a somewhat melancholic mood – as it usually does whenever I stupidly allow myself to watch that final encounter on the level crossing – so I looked for a bit of cheering up from the latest episodes of Clannad ~After Story~ and Toradora!. As luck (or hitsuzen?) would have it, that week’s episode of Clannad didn’t end on a very cheerful note (despite all of Crazy Starfish Lady’s best efforts), and Toradora!, which I could normally count on for a healthy dose of ribald humour, just had to finish with the mother of all cliffhangers.
The end result was that I found myself spending a good deal of time pacing about in my library, brooding upon Shinkai’s work and the themes that shaped his unique brand of storytelling. Whether I can distill those thoughts of mine into a blog entry suitable for publication is something I’m not yet certain of, but if it can at all be managed it will have to wait for another post.