Fine on the Outside

I never had that many friends growing up, so I learned to be OK with just me, just me, just me, just me. And I’ll be fine on the outside.

The other day, I sat at the kitchen table with E on my lap, listening to this sad, beautiful song by Priscilla Ahn. We weren’t just randomly listening to this song though. We were actually watching the trailer for Studio Ghibli’s newest movie, When Marnie Was There, a haunting story of the friendship between two girls–one of them, a ghost. (The trailer that we were watching can be seen here.) It’s the first time that a completely English theme song is used in the Japanese version of one of their films. The film is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the director behind 2010’s Arietty (Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement last year).

Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet (it’s going to hit theaters here in Japan on July 19th), but I’m sure the film will feel a little different than the other Ghibli films because of the English music. I hope it’ll be different in a good way, because this song and its lyrics brought tears to my eyes. It was like listening to my heart…

Not having many friends growing up. Being okay with being alone. Always feeling like you’re on the outside. Never really fitting in, and being okay with that. But sometimes feeling lost and confused, and sometimes realizing that no, you aren’t alright. And you cry, and you cry. And no one sees that part of you, because you look fine on the outside.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to see the film any time soon (E hasn’t been to a movie theater yet and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be able to sit through an entire movie unless it’s Anpanman or My Neighbor Totoro), but I look forward to seeing how this beautiful song fits into the ever enchanting Ghibli world.




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  1. Miyazaki will be back. Hahah he keeps coming back.

    This is a beautiful song!!! Wow!

    I understand what you are talking about Miwa! I feel like that most of the time, I’m okay with being alone. Most of the time.

    It does get old after a while when you loved one is so far away. Beautiful post thanks for being so vulnerable.

    • Thank you, Dina! I guess a lot of us feel the same way on some level. Which is comforting. The thing is, I really am okay with being by myself on the outside of whatever it may be. But as you say, being an ocean apart from your loved one can make you a lot more vulnerable.

      And this song, it really is beautiful, isn’t it? She has entire album coming out with music inspired by the film.

      Oh, and I hope you’re right about Miyazaki-san! Although I’m a huge fan of Ghibli in general, there’s just something different and special about the films that he creates.

  2. So THIS is where you’ve been! I love your articles here, Miwa. So very you!

    I had no idea Ghibli’s new film was coming out so soon. What a beautifully sad song. Her voice is so haunting. It’s so weird but I sometimes feel I’m most alone in the middle of a crowd. Like when I’m alone on a busy street. Not really so much when I’m home alone. Very odd. I hope you get to see the movie, but more so I hope your family can be together soon. xx

    • Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your kind words ;)

      I know what you mean about feeling alone in the middle of a crowd. I definitely feel that way too. I think being surrounded by strangers accentuates the fact that you’re just one of many in a crowd, and not really connected… you know?

  3. Wow, I’m left speechless with the beauty of this song and wholly surprised at how much it has touched me. Thank you for showcasing it. I’m off to make a purchase and believe it will be a constant companion for a long time to come. It’s like a warm hug of comfort. Look forward to the album and the film.

  4. My kids are watching the recorded “Arietty” that was aired on TV the other day and the commercial of the movie “When Marnie Was There”. I did think it was beautiful and also noticed that it was all English which is not a usual pick. I didn’t realize that the other girl was a ghost!! I love your new blog. It’s beautiful!!

    • Thanks, Kaho! Did your kids enjoy “Arietty”? I watched it some time ago, but I don’t really remember what I thought about it… Just that I was left wanting a bit more of a twist to the story. And thanks so much for coming to my blog and following! It’s a little lonely here without my sisters so it’s great to reconnect with my blogger friends ;)

      • They did to my surprise! I didn’t get to see the whole thing without being interrupted, but I thought it was cute, but kind of dark. I agree with you on lacking a twist to the story which has always been there with Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. I really appreciate your connecting with me!


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