Ultimate Decades Blogathon Kick-off: Spirited Away (2001)

Welcome to the sixth annual Ultimate Decades Blogathon..well, the part 2 of it. Yesterday, my fantastic co-host Drew kicked off the Ultimate Decades Blogathon with his kick-off review of Bridesmaids. Today, its my turn to share my first pick as we kick off this blogathon with a slightly new format working with the decades ending in a different digit than an entire decade. As the first one, it suitably starts with years ending in 1. There’s a lot to look forward to for the upcoming entries.

First, let’s get this part 2 released as I share my review of Studio Ghibli’s 2001 Academy Award winning animated film, Spirited Away.

Spirited Away (2001)

Director (and writer): Hayao Miyazaki

Voice Cast (English Dub): Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette, David Ogden Stiers, Susan Egan, Paul Eiding, John Ratzenberger, Bob Bergen, Tara Strong, Rodger Bumpass

During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts. – IMDB

After much consideration, Spirited Away is an animated movie well worth a mention as it is the movie held onto the highest grossing film in Japan until 2020. It also won the Academy Awards as the only non-English and first handdrawn animation to win the Best Animated Feature award. For someone like myself that grew up with Hayo Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, it almost feels like the movie that acted as the perfect stepping stone for the world, especially those unfamiliar with anime, to finally get to know Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki.

There’s a lot to love about Spirited Away. It really does embody a lot of the trademarks and drawing style of Hayao Miyazaki as all the characters are drawn in a familiar way especially when it comes to the old lady roles, they always feel fairly similar to each other. Spirited Away is about a little girl who wanders into a world of spirits and basically goes on an adventure to rescue her parents and escape this world. This world can be mistakenly wandered in during the day but at night, the river floods the path and what they thought was an amusement park turned out to be something completely different. With a huge bathhouse as the main building and streets with stall after stall of food that spirits busily chomp away along with the colorful and odd world of the interior of the bathhouse from its boiler room to the bathhouse rooms and the big boss’s headquarters plus so much more, Spirited Away is a beautifully constructed world with so much to explore that offers a glimpse at the fantasy imagination and creativity that Hayao Miyazaki has to offer. As we follow Chihiro (or later known as Sen) go through the building looking for the job, there’s a sense of how big this world is which makes it rather impressive plus the clientele of the bathhouse are unique types of spirits.

There is an array of interesting little creatures and spirits to meet and a story that actually surfaces later on as a little twist. There’s no doubt that other than the story itself, the characters are a real star here whether its Chihiro who has to remember her name after she turns into Sen in this world or the witch Yubaba that runs this bathhouse right down to Kamaji in the boiler room and Sen’s friend Lin who works with her and especially Haku, a dragon that is Yubaba’s henchman. No Miyazaki film’s fantasy world is without its fair share of odd creatures whether its a giant baby or heads hopping around right down to another form of soot monsters (we saw them first in 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro) and so much more. Plus, the spirits themselves also have some interesting encounters that design especially for the two big parts with the Stink Spirit and another spirit No-Face who grows to have a liking for Sen.

Paired up with Joe Hisaishi’s music, Spirited Away is definitely a fun little adventure. Fantasy, magic, spirits all wrapped up into one. What makes it stand out is not only the colorful art and design and world building but the characters that they meet. While the bathhouse is a starting spot and has its own story as a foundation but the story that stems from there also adds a sense of mystery. Is it the best Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli film out there? That’s definitely debatable however, it is the movie that takes the first step for the world to know this amazing film studio with an creative director Hayao Miyazaki.

For further reading, you can check out my list ranking of Hayao Miyazaki’s work HERE.

That’s it for the kick-off post! Tomorrow we start off over at Drew’s Movie Reviews with the first guest entry. For the full list of entries, updated daily during the blogathon, you can find it HERE.

Sunshine Award and WordPress Family Award (*2)

Okay! Yet again, I’m feeling extremely happy because I did receive these awards two times! Those awards being Sunshine Award and WordPress Family Award (as mentioned in the title)!


First up, I want to apologize to Natasha at Film and Things for this award.  She’s an amazing blogger and she gave this to me A MONTH AGO! What happened? How did a month pass by? I have no idea but I should’ve responded to it earlier.  I’m REALLY REALLY happy that I got it and extremely grateful! Thanks to her so very much! She’s totally awesome! She just directed her first short film and put up the trailer.  So you definitely should head to her blog to check out that! Plus, she puts up really awesome reviews 🙂

The second time is from T at The Focused Filmographer! Thank you so much! I can’t remember when I first started following T but his blog is totally cool with  themed days of the week to look forward to: Movie News Monday, It’s Time to Vote Tuesday, Trailer Time Thursday, New Posters of the Week! Plus, he has a whole lot of reviews also! Amazing stuff right there! If you haven’t dropped by his blog, run on over and have some fun!

Accepting these awards always comes with rules of some sort.  Both these awards have similar rules except Sunshine Award has the 10 questions to answer 🙂 I will do it for both of them (provided they don’t have overlapping questions).

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.
  • Link to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself
    (use these or come up with your own).
  • Nominate 10 bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs,
    letting them know they have been nominated.

Natasha’s questions

1) Favorite color?

My favorite colors changes to the seasons but I’m really drawn to a darker shade of purple (last few years). I love royal blue and in the summer, I really enjoy wearing a nice shade of green, something similar to a sea green and maybe coral!

2) Favorite animal?

I love cats: big cats like tigers!

tiger at st-felicien zoo

or little cats like my little girl, Flea!

My cat Flea

My cat Flea

Of course, I’d take Red Pandas and Giant Pandas any day also 🙂

Giant Panda in Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Giant Panda in Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Red Pandas in Ocean Park :)

Red Pandas in Ocean Park 🙂


3) Favorite number?

Can I not answer this? I like to choose numbers that are related so I’d say 3 is one of my best numbers 🙂

4) Favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Green Tea is my love! Green Tea is to everyone else’s coffee 😉 My fave has to be Get Fresh Green from Tealish!

Get Fresh Green by Tealish (from their site)

Get Fresh Green by Tealish (from their site)

But, I also love Teavana‘s Tranquil Dream herbal tea! (I guess you know one of the reasons why)

Tranquil Dream by Teavana (taken from their site)

Tranquil Dream by Teavana (taken from their site)

5) My passion?

My blog is my passion (everything I write about) but I’d say, baking is definitely my first passion.  Coming real close behind is music/movies/books.

Hamburger cupcakes!

Hamburger cupcakes! My most proud baked goods!

Shortbread hearts :)

Shortbread hearts 🙂

I’m actually starting to become really passionate about writing also! 🙂

6) Prefer getting or giving presents?

Giving thoughtful gifts 🙂 I have one in the making right now! I do that, plan and put together memorable gifts for months in advance!

7) Favorite day of the week?

Saturday is definitely my fave! No one to kick me out of bed and I get to relax in my room doing whatever I want.  Wednesdays/Thursdays are my fave once in a week when I have my chiro appointment because my back and neck feels all new and refreshed afterwards…

8) Favorite flower?





Lavenders! Oh and this applies to the fave color ;)

Lavenders! Oh and this applies to the fave color 😉

T’s questions (overlapped 7 questions with Natasha’s so let’s continue! )

9) Favorite actor (who’s not a household name yet)?

I think Ian Somerhalder counts.  Love the guy! He’s hot and has this mysterious charm.

ian somerhalder

10) Favorite food?

My mom’s purple sweet potato sweet soup with glutinous rice balls 🙂 YUMMY!

Purple sweet potato sweet soup :)

Purple sweet potato sweet soup 🙂

OR ANYTHING with chicken! (except spicy dishes)!



11) Favorite soundtrack?

This is going to be hard! Moulin Rouge is really high on the list! Joe Hisaishi music is way up there also!

moulin rouge soundtrack

These days, my boyfriend introduced me to a PS3 game Sleeping Dogs soundtrack and I really love the chinese rap, 24 Herbs.

Whew! Finally done that! That took me a long time, especially finding all the pictures digging in archives and searching up…

Now we’re on the extremely hard part, the 10 nominations 🙂 I may have got this 2 times but I’m going with the rules.

Jack Flacco




The Return of the Modern Philosopher


The Matticus Kingdom

Joe’s Musings


Parlor of Horror

Don’t feel the obligation to do anything with this 🙂 If you do feel the obligation you can pick any of the 10 questions on the top! I’d love to hear your answers, even if you want to do it in the comments, I’m all good with that!

Huge gigantic THANKS to Natasha and T 🙂 You both are awesome!!!

Happy Wednesday! 🙂




Mix Tape of my Life

Daily Prompt: Put together a a musical playlist of songs that describe your life, including what you hope your future entails.

I love music and I don’t share that nearly enough here.  When I saw this topic, I knew I needed to go through the jukebox in my head and give you the mix tape of my life in 10 songs.

This is in no specific order and it’ll be multilingual..just a note in advance. For the foreign language ones, I’ll try to do a translation of the lyrics so at least you can understand  the message I would like you to get from it.

1)In the Dark- Tiesto feat Christian Burns

“When it seems
Like the world around you’s breaking
And it feels
Like there’s no one else around you
And it’s quiet
There’s a silence in the darkness
And it sounds
Like the carnival is over”


2) Dare to Believe – Boyce Avenue

“It’s feeling like the time’s run out
But the hour glass just flipped itself over again
The sun is slowly sinking down
But on the other side a new day waits to begin

If you dare to believe in life
You might realize that there’s no time for talking
Or to just wait around while the innocent die

No more
We’re gonna lose everything
If we believe all the lies
I may fall but I swear that I’ll help you believe
No more
This world’s running on empty
And there’s no reason why
You may fall but I know that you’ll help me believe

We’ve been in the dark for way too long
But when we turn around
We see a light shine through the haze
So forget about who was wrong
Because I’ve never been more ready to turn this page

If you swear you believe in life
Embrace forgiveness
‘Cuz it’s all that I’m asking
Or keep holding out while the innocent die”


3) S’il Suffisait d’aimer (If Loving was Enough) – Celine Dion

Translation of the chorus:

If loving each other was enough, if loving was enough

If we changed things a bit, just by loving to share

If loving each was enough, if loving was enough

I would make this world a dream, an eternity


4) Beautiful Day – Ekin Cheng

“Only need the sun to be bright and companions are strong, Its a beautiful day”


5) Vanilla Twilight – Owl City

“But drenched in vanilla twilight

I’ll sit on the front porch all night

Waist-deep in thought because

When I think of you I don’t feel so alone”

6) I Really Got Hurt – Jackie Cheung & Ivana Wong

For the breakups in my life, few but once profound, song starts at 1:00

“Outside the window  its getting dark, The music is getting quiet, my heart starts to think of you.


The lights are growing dim, the music is getting quiet, the cotton candy in my mouth has melted away

Outside the window its getting dark, I’m getting bored, my heart starts to think of you.

The phone rings, you want to talk, I thought that your heart was thinking of me again.

How come your voice has become cold and distant? You have changed, you have changed.


The lights are off, the music has stopped, I can’t stop the tears from falling

The sky has started to rain, I’m not happy anymore, My heart really hurts now.”


7) Broken Angel – Boyce Avenue

We already went through this song with my previous post When Is It Okay.  You can click HERE if you haven’t read it.


8) Little Moments – Brad Paisley

For my relationship which is going strong, almost reaching our 5 years together in less than 3 months.  And this song, both my boyfriend and I know it reminds us of the relationship, especially giving directions.  I’m horrible at that…

“I know she’s not perfect but she tries so hard for me
And I thank god that she isn’t ’cause how boring would that be
It’s the little imperfections it’s the sudden change in plans
When she misreads the directions and we’re lost but holdin’ hands

Yeah I live for little moments like that”


9) So Long – Zooey Deschanel

For my best friends and the future friendships…

“Because it’s been so long since I made a friend like you

Some like to be alone, independent, and on their own

All alone I guess their free

But not me”

“You test my nerves, it makes me stronger, Can you bother me a little bit longer?”


10) Totoro – Joe Hisaishi

Joe Hisaishi is the man behind the magic of all the musical scores of Miyazaki movies.  When you look at his expressions when he plays this song (or any other score), you can feel his passion for his work, the energy that it brings him.  Thats what I want my future to have.  My best friends and my boyfriend and my family are the foundation of my happiness but to find and do things that will make me fully passionate in what I do is something I strive for.

To join this daily prompt, you can go check it out HERE!