Currently about halfway through a non-fiction book called Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli, by Steve Alpert.
It’s a memoir by Steve, detailing his time at Japan’s main animation house, Studio Ghibli. He was brought in as the resident foreigner to distribute Ghibli films to the USA, UK, Canada, and the like.
It’s fascinating both in the book’s detail of the many cultural differences between Japanese and Western companies, as well as the ins and outs of working for an animation company. At the time, the firm was switching from hand-painted cels to more computer-intensive animation tech, so it’s real era-defining stuff.
Already I feel like I know what it’s like to work with the firm’s mercurial demanding owner, Yasuyoshi Tokuma, and their artistic but genius-level head creative, Hayao Miyazaki.
Ghibli and the world of anime will never seem the same to me again.
Having worked with Steve Jobs myself, and many other a*^%le employers over the years, I’d say Alpert’s memories are probably fonder than mine of his time in the corporate trenches. I still wake up with stress dreams that start and end with my being conscripted back into one of my old jobs by some terrible stroke of fate.
Also new in my possession is a shiny coffee mug with a cartoon of a rather haggard and irritable-looking Yoda bearing the words, ‘Coffee I need, or kill you I will.’ It nicely complements the only other coffee mug I am allowed to use at Chez Hunty – ‘Life Begins at 50’.
I’m not sure which of those two statements best sums up my life at the moment, but I do know that wisdom begins in caffeine.