Miyazaki and Friends Volunteering at Totoro's Forest
While those of us in the United States spent our Sunday watching the Packers and the Steelers, Hayao Miyazaki and 200 volunteers spent their day cleaning up the preserved forest Fuchi no Mori, or more commonly known as "Totoro's Forest." The 5,700 square meter area in Higashi-Murayama (nearby Tokorozawa, where Miyazaki-san lives) served as the inspiration for the pristine wilderness in My Neighbor Totoro.
Plans for residential development in this area were defeated in 2007, thanks to the work of Miyazaki and local residents. Later that year, they presented the city of Higashimurayama 73 million yen ($620,000) to preserve the land. In 2008, Pixar organized a charity art auction to raise money for another forest preserve in the Sayama Hills; this area was also an inspiration for Totoro.
Thanks to NHK and Anime News Network for the report.