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Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli

Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli

by Steve Alpert


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This highly entertaining business memoir describes what it was like to work for Japan’s premiere animation studio, Studio Ghibli, and its reigning genius Hayao Miyazaki. Steve Alpert, a Japanese-speaking American, was the “resident foreigner” in the offices of Ghibli and its parent Tokuma Shoten and played a central role when Miyazaki’s films were starting to take off in international markets. Alpert describes hauling heavy film canisters of Princess Mononoke to Russia and California, experiencing a screaming Harvey Weinstein, dealing with Disney marketers, and then triumphantly attending glittering galas celebrating the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.

His one-of-a-kind portraits of Miyazaki and long-time producer Toshio Suzuki, and of sly, gruff, and brilliant businessman Yasuyoshi Tokuma, capture the hard work and artistry that have made Ghibli films synonymous with cinematic excellence. And as the lone gaijin in a demanding company run by some of the most famous and influential people in modern Japan, Steve Alpert tackles his own challenges of language and culture. No one else could have written this book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611720570
Publisher: Stone Bridge Press
Publication date: 06/16/2020
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 220,454
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Steve Alpert studied Japanese Literature at Columbia University under Donald Keene and Edward Seidensticker. He speaks Japanese and Chinese fluently, having lived in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Taipei for a combined total of over 35 years. Alpert worked in Tokyo as a vice president at a major bank, as president of an American TV animation company, and as head of international sales at Japan's premier animation studio, Studio Ghibli, cofounded by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata . He has translated more than a dozen Japanese films and several short works of Japanese fiction. His book in Japanese about his experiences working at Studio Ghibli was published in 2015 by Iwanami Shoten. He lives near New Haven, CT.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Studio Ghibli 7

1 Salaryman 11

Fools Rush In 11

Tokuma-shacho 26

Public Speaking 32

2 A Different Kind of Princess 42

Princess Mononoke 42

Temporarily Misplaced in Translation 54

The Circus 61

The Kiss 68

Going Public 70

3 Culture Wars 75

Minarai (Watch and Learn) 75

Unrepentant Smokers 83

The Big Slaughter 88

First Contact 92

To Russia with Love 101

It's Magic 103

4 Road Warrior 109

You Say Potato I Say Starchy Tuberous Plant from the Perennial Nightshade Solanum Tuberosum L Family 109

California Dreamin' 115

Tequila Sunrise 120

5 Young Men, Be Ambitious! 124

Space Mountain 124

Technical Problems 134

Reality Bites 139

6 On the Road Again 144

LA Confidential 144

Asses in Seats 150

Goodfellas 154

Reversible Destiny Pioneers 156

You'll Never Work in This Town Again 160

7 Asia 172

Doing Business in Korea, Taiwan, and China 172

Korea 174

Taiwan 177

The People's Republic of China 179

8 Spirited Away 185

Blow Not Thine Own Horn 185

The Golden Bear 189

The Twilight Zone 196

The 75th Academy Awards 203

Oscar 209

9 My Ass Is a Chicken 215

The Rest of the World 215

Big Girls Don't Cry 218

You Know You're in France When … 220

We'll Always Have Paris 225

10 Princess Diary 234

Lost in Translation 234

The Stars Align 241

For Love (Not Money) 246

Mixmasters 249

All's Well That Ends… (Well?) 252

11 The Circle of Life 258

To the Clouds 258

Back to Earth 272

12 DirecTV 278

Acknowledgments 292

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