I received an unexpected present this morning. A very light, square box arrived which was postmarked Osaka, Japan. I don’t know anybody from Osaka. Or Japan. Or the whole of Asia, for that matter. I was very confused. For a while. I opened it with trepidation and anxiety; not a pleasant sensation. Nestled within thick brown paper bundles was a tiny hand- painted robot with raised arms, standing on a blue cube. Instantly I was Six again, transported to a floating island bedecked with beautiful trees, glass palaces and treasure-laden corridors. I was immersed back in to the world of Laputa, Castle in the Sky. It is a fabulous animated Japanese film which is a mixture of fantasy and mystery. Mystery. Oh yes, then my confusion came back.
As, unexpectedly, did the luridly green memory of the worst hangover of my life. Foolishly, very foolishly, two weeks previously I had drank enough alcohol to pickle a school of beached whales. Aforementioned drinking resulted in me feeling, as Withnail says ‘like a pig [had] shat in my head’. I woke up at dawn to find my Sat Nav outside, soaked with dew and programmed with a route to a place in Scotland that I have never been to. I then discovered a trail of my clothes leading to the sofa, with a still-spinning ABBA LP on my turntable. I don’t even like ABBA. Finally, I discovered my Kindle in my dressing gown pocket, still on the Amazon homepage. I was too sick to look at it then, and subsequently forgot to check. Oh what a night!
Snapping gratefully out of my hangover reverie, I remembered! I had looked at the figurine as an addition to my bonsai tree. It is a beautiful tree that has large, flowing roots and looks a lot like some of the scenes from Laputa. Where the robots are gardeners. In the film, we learn that the robot gardeners continued to tend the palace gardens, long after it had been abandoned. All but one robot had seized up with neglect or old age. All but one. I loved that robot. I wanted to be its friend. I recall thinking that one day I would buy one to look after my Japanese tree. Probably after I retired, or something.
This was to have been a sentimental purchase. You see, I love the film dearly. The colours are wonderful, the story compelling, and when I watch it I can completely escape and revel in another world. It is almost too wonderful, because it tantalises the viewer with glimpses of an abandoned island palace that floats in the sky. Only parts are shown, before the adventure thunders on. Even at the age of Thirty Three I still want to go there and explore. I sometimes do in my dreams, if I’m lucky. Just a few notes of the soundtrack can transport me back there.The music, like the story, is beautiful and haunting, and like everything else about the film, masterfully rendered. I love it.
On the night of ‘Satnavgate’ my subconcious must have decided that I should go for it with the figurine, and I must say that in its new home it looks superb. A tantalising slice of Laputa. I am very happy with it, now that the mystery is solved. I can only thank my subconcious for clicking on option number four, which cost me a little more than a decent bottle of wine. Had it guided my wobbly index finger to the options either side, then today I would either have received a lifesize costume of the Tutumutu robot, or a pure silver statue that costs more than I earn in several months. Phew!
Lucky escape. Two weeks after becoming teetotal, my little present is a welcome reminder of why drink and I probably do not mix well. Furthermore, I have a newly reignited love of a special film. Plus, a very cool-looking bonsai tree. I have written to the company in Osaka to thank them.
© Tom Tide 2016