Ghibli Fan Food? My Neighbor Totoro Is the Newest Trend in Soba Noodles

Nationwide Food Ghibli 2020.08.27
Soba is a classic summer food, and this year it's trending thanks to Totoro!
It's almost a Japanese traditionーa few times a year, a series of Studio Ghibli films are aired on Friday nights at prime time, and this summer, fans across the country tuned in for an August viewing of the Ghibli classic My Neighbor Totoro. While Ghibli films are ubiquitous enough in Japan that we can assume it was not most viewers first time watching the movie, it was this particular opportunity that inspired talented social media chef Hamayan (@hamad0322 on Instagram) to create this beautiful plate of chilled soba noodles topped with grated yam. Charmed by the silly joke and the excellent execution, the noodles went big on his Twitter.

Wait, thanks to the silly joke? What joke?
Well, the color of the soba noodles and grated yam do match the character perfectly, but they're not the only reason why this matchup worked so well! Part of the reason for the popularity was the silly pun being made. You see, while the character is named "Totoro," this grated yam topping is called "tororo" in Japanese. So Hamayan made Totoro soba out of tororo soba!

Of course, it didn't hurt that Hamayan is already popular for his other impressive work. This isn't his first food art creation to be shared across the internetーhis ability to sculpt foods into adorable animals, like the daikon radish cat below, has made for other social media hits.
While Hamayan's dish is what had Totoro tororo soba trending on Twitter, he's not the first person to think of it. Just search for Totoro soba on google image search and you'll find quite a few more examples, including recipes and tutorials. Few of them live up to the expectations set by Hamayan, but who knows, perhaps all it takes is a little practice?
Will you be looking for Totoro soba on your next trip to Japan? My personal favorite soba is found at Shigenoya, a little soba shop in Nagano! To be honest, though, I've recently decided I'm more of an udon person (the noodles are so good both hot and cold)! But in summer, somen is the real go-to for chilled noodles in Japan, of course. There's nothing better than a refreshing bowl of chilled noodles when it's hot out!

For more updates (on the new Ghibli theme park!) and info from Japan, don't forget to follow Japankuru on twitter, instagram, and facebook!
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