I first saw the beauty of his work during an annual screening of “Hotaru no Hakka” (Grave of the Fireflies) — even with the Japanese language ability of a two-month old his animation transcended the major gaps in my vocabulary and deeply touched my heart. He seemed to have captured every detail from the everyday task of tapping the shoe just right to get it on to shaking a tin of candy drops to get the last ones out. The work of Miyazaki, Hayao is well known, not only through Japan, but also internationally. Such masterpieces as “Tonari no Totoro” (My Neighbor Totoro), “Mononoke Hime” (Princess Mononoke), and most recently “Gake no Ue no Ponyo” (Ponyo). With the nostalgia that each Miyazaki movie brings me, it almost feels like a betrayal to the artwork and culture to watch his films dubbed in English. Now don’t get me wrong, Disney and Pixar do great work to assemble a fantastic cast, and they go to great lengths to preserve the integrity of the production, but if I have the option to see the works as they were originally created with English subtitles, then bring it on!
To celebrate our Ponyo-viewing occasion, my husband and I invited some friends over for some homemade pizza ala Trader Joe’s. We bought the pre-made pizza dough in plain, garlic herb, and wholewheat. We decided to vary our toppings to create a Thai Chicken, a Works, and a Pineapple Pepperoni – deelish! What’s more, it was easy, healthier than our beloved Papa John’s delivery, and easy on our budget. We sliced and diced a bunch of fresh veggies — green and red bell pepper, onion, carrot, green onion, mushroom, tomato — the works. Then added some pizza sauce and peanut sauce (respectively), mozzarella, pepperoni, and chicken sausages. Our favorite was the Pineapple Pepperoni, but don’t let us tell you which one’s the best — check out the pics and judge for yourselves.