Japan’s upcoming Studio Ghibli theme park will not open for another few years, but animation fans in Asia will soon have another destination where they can get their Hayao Miyazaki fix. Thailand will soon be home to a Totoro-themed restaurant, SoraNews24 reports.
May’s Garden House Restaurant in Bangkok is the first officially licensed restaurant inspired by Miyazaki’s classic film My Neighbor Totoro. The restaurant features Miyazaki-themed decor, like a giant Totoro figure that sits in the dining room, as well as menu items inspired by the characters, such as steamed buns shaped like Mini Totoros. The tables are adorned with figurines of Totoro, Mei, Sootballs, the Catbus, and other characters from the movie.
May’s Garden House opened up back in April for select customers to test the menu. By the time the restaurant conducts its grand opening in late May, a number of attractions in and around the restaurant should also be completed, including a children’s playground, an orchid glasshouse, and a library.
Visitors will be greeted by a 9-foot Totoro figure as they enter, plus a number of stained glass window panes depicting the titular Totoro and his forest spirit friends. The woodwork and relaxing vibe of the restaurant seem designed to evoke the same sense of countryside charm that the two young protagonists of My Neighbor Totoroexperience when they move into a small, rural home with their father.
But why Thailand? Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki apparently fell in love with some chicken wings at a local food stall. He found out the stall, which was run by a woman nicknamed “May,” was going out of business. Suzuki came up with the idea for the restaurant to ensure those flavors could be served up in Bangkok. He also said the Thai countryside reminded him of growing up in Japan.
As for the food, Italian owner-chef Federico Colpi is helming the menu. Dining options include mini-Totoro steamed buns in caramel sauce, bowls of noodles and rice, and of course, chicken wings. Hopefully, those dust mites from Spirited Awayare up to health code.