I don't know how many of you heard back in February about a house that My Neighbor Totoro creator Hayao Miyazaki once called a place that "Totoro would have enjoyed living in dearly" was burned down in what was expected to have been an arson case. Apparently due to the house's connection to Totoro, the local government decided to look at creating a park where the house previously stood.
But the latest news is that Miyazaki himself has been working on the design and incorporated some of the remnants of the burned-down house-- primarily its red roof --into the design, to the pleasure of Kondou, the 85-year-old woman who lived in the house at the time of its burning.
Given Miyazaki's occasionally outspoken feelings on the environment, it's not surprising that he might volunteer to help on a park-building project-- especially since he was very instrumental (to the tune of about $3 million USD) in trying to preserve the "Totoro Forest," the Sayama forest outside of Totoro where the film is said to have originated. Pretty awesome, don't you think?