Listen, we’ll be straight with you: There’s a lot to be pessimistic about today. But although this world is full of sorrow and fear and total dumbasses, it’s also full of hope and magic and the movie My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki’s gently episodic 1988 animated film about those very concepts. And if Japan is still around in 2020, it’ll have its very own Totoro theme park where people can go to escape the troubles of this world by curling up on the belly of a giant furry forest spirit. (Unless you subscribe to the fan theory that Totoro is actually the god of death, in which case it’s not much of a refuge at all.)
The Japan Times has details on the park, which is being built on the site of the 2005 World Expo in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, near Nagoya. The land is already home to an exhibit called Satsuki and Mei’s House, a meticulously detailed re-creation of the girls’ dust bunny-filled, traditional Japanese-style country home in the movie; the rest of the exhibits, which Japan Times says will “re-stage situations and landscapes” from My Neighbor Totoro, will be built around the pre-existing attraction. “Studio Ghibli’s films have love toward living creatures and Earth, which fits the concept of the expo,” Aichi prefectural governor Hideaki Omura tells reporters. “I would like to pass down this idea to future generations.”
Tentatively named Ghibli Park, it’s expected to open sometime early next decade. In the meantime, the Ghibli Museum, which boasts a giant stuffed version of Totoro’s Cat Bus, is in suburban Tokyo and is a delight.