To my Pennsylvania-bound friends:
The Kyoto region is presently a dank 45 degrees and awash in a misery of rain. It'll snow a bit of Christmas Eve, though, so this guy may or may not experience a white'n.
To my Moriya-bound friends:
Pennsylvania (the important part, anyway), is borderlining at 0 degrees and is currently under a foot of snow. The snow will melt on Sunday, but come back on Monday in time for Christmas. At least it damn well should.
--- -- --
I'm on the verge on openly declaring Miyazaki movies to be superior in every way to Disney (animated) movies except for the formerly notable category of spontaneous singing and currently disgusting category of marketing. I've checked off a bunch of his movies this week: Howl's Moving Castle, Porco Rosso, and, just yesterday, Nausicaa and the Valley of the Winds--a movie that consistently tops "best anime ever" lists. (I actually couldn't find Nausicaa in Japanese, but the English voice acting was great. Anyways.) It occurs to me that the major difference between Miyazaki's storytelling style and Disney's is that Miyazaki has a bit of respect for his audience's intelligence. Miyazaki's worlds are always so vibrant and alive--and usually complete with some really complex or realistic history--but only rarely does he give explicit details of the history. In Nausicaa they mention the "Seven Days of Fire" without ever directly mentioning what that was; in Porco Rosso the plot is continually at the mercy of Italian politics in the post WWI(I?) years, but they only discuss it offhandedly; and in Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away there are any number of instances of magical things going on (some of them really important to the central plot) without any verbal explanation given whatsoever. That's cool, because in each of these movies I understand completely the context of the environment and how it affects the charactery, and vice-versa.
Disney movies, on the other hand, rarely have to do with the central plot in any non-superficial way. Lilo & Stitch, for example, relied on Hawaiian culture solely for the phrase ohana, which verbally nailed in the theme of family and togetherness. The Lion King, one of my favorites, was a retelling of Hamlet, so its setting in Africa was interesting, but more visual than anything. Pocahontas was pretty much disgusting with how simply it portrayed early colonial and Native American culture. Older Disney movies seem to move farther away from this issue, and I think the reason is that the older films relied less heavily on an easily stated moral. Lots of Miyazaki films have an identifiable central theme, but they rely more on the story and its characters than the theme. I think that's why good Disney movies are good, and bad ones are way bad. (In the public opinion, however, I'm wrong: Lilo & Stitch is more famous than Shakespeare among Americans under 20 years. But anyways.)