[:en]Ghibli movie Totoro and how we can learn from our childhood games[:ja]となりのトトロと「遊び方づくり」[:]

[:en]In the Studio Ghibli movie “My Neighbor Totoro”, there’s a scene where two daughters and their dad went to the huge Camphor tree, where the dad suddenly starts to run saying “Let’s race to home!”.

He’s making fun by making the act of walking home a game.

And there’s another. The younger daughter, May, plays in the yard picking little flowers alone. She then puts those flowers on the desk where Dad is busy working on his thesis, selfishly asking him to play a flower shop, which does not annoy him at all but on the contrary he smiles at the cute request.

You know, some kids are great at making anything into a play/game and May must be one of them.

I love that movie.

Which got me thinking…

Did you know that the act of creating such play can make a power to create valuable products and services?

In my childhood I often spent time with several other children who were younger than me living near my house, who would gather to my house to play with their “big brother” almost everyday.

Game of tag and other traditional Japanese kids’ plays were the games we played.

Even though there are many kinds of play, they would get tired of them after playing them again and again. So, at times I had to figure out ’new ways of play’ by combining the conventional different plays or thinking of whole new ones from scratch.

This experience, in fact, nourishes creativity by thinking about new ways of play by yourself rather than playing with given things.

Also, if you play with friends, you can instantly hear a lot of feedback you do not even expect whether it’s good or bad.

If it is not fun, you improve it so that everyone can enjoy more by adding arrangements. There are lots of good outcomes!

Comparing ‘simply playing with toys and games’ and ‘creating new play to do with everyone’:

Play only with the given toys

* The number of ways you can play is the same as that of the games
* You need the next game to have more fun
* It is the end of the game when you get bored

Think about how to play by yourself

* The way you play is infinite. It never runs out
* Improve the game based on people’s opinions and make use of that experience next time
* The ability to make new things under the given condition is cultivated
* When you get bored, it’s the beginning of the next game

I introduce the play that I thought up when I was at the second grade of elementary school.

“Long Egg”

Draw a huge, long egg or eye-like shape on the road with chalk, one oblong with a circle in it.

‘It’ alone stands in the center circle and the other players stand in the oblong. You can not respectively go out of that boundary.

The players try to go around the eye ten times without being touched by ‘it’. Say loud the number of times you go around to everyone else every time you complete a lap. When ’it’ touches a player, the player has to be ‘it’.

The old ‘it’, however, can take over the number of laps of that caught player.

For example, when ‘it’ catches a 3-lap player, then he/she becomes a player who already finished 3 laps. Players naturally attract ‘it’ working with each other so that they can get through the narrow areas without being touched by ‘it’, while ‘it’ always thinks of who he should catch next.

I remember everyone having a lot of fun playing the game,

You don’t have to be outdoors to create fun.

Anything is OK.

Like at a restaurant, while you wait for the meal, get a paper napkin and draw a weird shape, which others make the shape into something real, etc. Change the rules if it’s not fun. You do not have to buy anything!

As you get used to it, you can naturally think of fun play one after another. You get to create things that others feel joy and fun, then ultimately you can create fun experiences out of anything around you.

In addition, you can play at anytime, anywhere, at home, in parks, schools, etc. and you can always play with stimulus even without the latest games.

Thanks to my experiences in childhood, I can now create lots of fun out of anything.

Speaking of which, the app SUM! was originally made to make a calculator a toy.

Let’s make everything into a game!
And throw comments with your original ideas of games.






















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