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Hauru no Ugoku Shiro
(Howl's Moving Castle)


Studio Ghibli Diary Translation (Page 6)

Translator's notes in yellow.

12/20/03 (Sat.)

This week too, thanks to weekend catch-up mode, key animation again got back on the level. It's been a long time since that has happened two weeks in a row. From now on, we are going to ask for even more ["pace plus alpha"]. The year will be over in about two weeks. It's the final spurt! (Maybe a little early, but . . . )

We did a test screening at Ghibli of the House [Foods] commercials. They are supposed to be broadcast starting on January 6th. Everybody, won't you please watch them once?

12/22/03 (Mon.)

When making a feature-length film, one ends up thinking, "Why does a year pass by so quickly?" I've gradually started to feel this especially keenly [lit. "with my skin"]. Whenever this time comes around, one thinks especially wistfully about the year-end and year-beginning. Substantial work will end this week. In the new year, it's full steam ahead! Let's do it!

[No entry for 11/23, the Emperor's birthday]

12/24/03 (Weds.)

Today is Christmas Eve. We had the customary cake for the Ghibli staff. It was one piece per person, but there were various types, and everybody brought his plate and chose the cake he liked.

The production team received a Christmas present too. The key animators finished a total of 11 cuts. Oh, if only every day were Christmas.

12/25/03 (Thurs.)

Today was the final rush check of the year. Unfortunately, we were not able to reach our target number [of cuts]. The difference amounted to about one session's worth. If the production had been just a little bit more orderly, we might have made it.

Producer Watanabe was out with a cold yesterday. He managed somehow to come in today, but was a pitiful sight with his mask. Perhaps because of this, Producer Kamimura, who sits next to him, also started feeling ill, and went home early, saying he would try a Suzuki-style cold cure. How will it turn out?

12/26/03 (Fri.)

Today was cleaning day. We had the newest employees do the grunt work of cleaning the window blinds and screen doors out in the cold winter air. Even if it seems severe, work hard, since tonight is the end-of-year party [lit. "forget-the-year party"].

Animation is fundamentally about drawing pictures on paper, and for this kind of work, sketches are necessary. These drafts are of course not used and end up as trash. While doing the cleaning today, we saw that there was a stack of sketching paper as high as a man's chest. Animation really isn't very good for the planet . . .

12/29/03 (Mon.)

This year has quickly drawn to a close. The staff returned and started working in February, but it seems like scarcely two or three months ago. I remember fondly when the storyboards were being finished at a good rate and we thought they might be finished within the year. It won't help to complain on and on. When the new year begins, we have only seven months until the premiere. The staff is going to work hard together, so please look forward to it.

[No entries for 12/30/03 through 1/4/04 because of New Year holiday]

1/5/04 (Mon.)

Greetings and all best wishes for the new year from Studio Ghibli. It is finally the year of the Howl premiere. Since today was the first day of work, Director Miyazaki had the staff gather in the first-floor lounge for a greeting and pep talk. Since, no matter what, we have half a year to finish, this is the crucial stage. The staff will all buckle down and work their hardest.

1/6/04 (Tues.)

Starting yesterday, the backgrounds have started to be finished at a good pace. This is a happy thing for the production. And the animation director's shelves of finished work, which had started getting a little empty around the end of the year, started to fill up a little again. But since we are far behind in all aspects of the production, the question of how we are to rally is a big problem.

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