Japan has always been a sort of Mecca for anime fans, and the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka is a prime destination for such pilgrimages. The Ghibli Museum’s Straw Hat Cafe offers a menu inspired by Studio Ghibli films, but until now there’s never been a restaurant dedicated solely to My Neighbor Totoro. Thus it’s a little surprising that the Studio Ghibli is now opening their first such restaurant… in Thailand.
The idea was spearheaded by Studio Ghibli producer and cofounder Toshio Suzuki. During visits to Thailand he became particularly fond of the chicken wings at a restaurant in the rural village of Pak Thong Chai. He loved the wings, and the surroundings reminded him of rural Japan.
The restaurant’s owner was nicknamed May and she was a single mother running the restaurant to support her children. One day when Suzuki came back for another round of her delicious chicken wings, May told him she was closing the restaurant because there weren’t enough customers coming through such a rural area to stay in business. Since the owner’s nickname is similar to the main character Mei in My Neighbor Totoro, Toshio Suzuki thought it’d be fitting to open a Totoro-themed restaurant in Bangkok where the food and atmosphere of May’s rural village could be brought to more people. Thus, May’s Garden House Restaurant was born.
May’s Garden Restaurant is staging an grand opening at the end of May, but it’s been running a pre-opening period since April 16th. The menu isn’t finalized and certain additional attractions aren’t finished yet, but it already looks great.
Nice weekend, thank you… 😊😍
(May 13, 2018)
In addition to a giant Totoro doll and other characters from the movie, May’s Garden Restaurant is home to two original characters Susuki designed as mascots for the restaurant. Named Colko and Peeko, they resemble the Siamese Fireback, which is Thailand’s national bird.
Suzuki also designed the restaurant’s Totoro-themed front sign. Italian chef Federico Colpi is an owner and overseeing development of the menu. A children’s playground, orchid glasshouse, boat water pool, and library are planned for the restaurant’s completion. You can find information and more photos of the restaurant at its official facebook page.