Joe Hisaishi and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

As I write this entry 4+ months after witnessing Joe Hisaishi conduct his score in Melbourne, my heart still aches with happy thoughts. After watching my first ever Ghibli film, the studio continued to shape my art in terms of influence to this day. I remember the summer days watching YouTube videos of Joe Hisaishi conducting an orchestra. It was at the end of the show when I started sobbing when Hayao Miyazaki emerged from the crowd and gave Joe a bouquet of flowers.

“Someday” I told myself. Then years later..


Hello work + salary. I was able to visit a Ghibli-related exhibit in Hong Kong, unplanned. I begged my relatives to cancel prior plans to make time for this. I didn’t even know there was an on-going exhibit. Gotta thank train advertisements.



My first trip to Japan, I was able to visit the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. I get teary-eyed when I try to remember the smell of wood, fragrant ateliers, sketches, and books of European art. The reason I get emotional is that photos are not allowed inside the museum so I have to rely on my 12MB Memory of a brain. Anyway, another story for another time.

Ghibli Museum Mitaka

Come 2018..

I find myself frantically looking for airfare tickets to Melbourne from Manila as soon as a family friend confirmed he got tickets. They were really hard to get. Thank you so much, Jay ♡

Everything felt like a dream — It was a cold walk from our accommodation to the Arts Centre. Even though it was chilly that night, I felt warm with giddiness. Upon reaching the venue, you could feel the atmosphere filled with anticipation. Everything started on time and it wasn’t hard to get into our seats, talk about good crowd control.

For formalities, the Consul-General of Japan had a bit of a speech. He reminisced about Mitaka, his hometown in Japan, how it was so close to the Ghibli Museum. The ambassador even sang a bit of ‘Hey Let’s Go’. Genki levels x9000. It was also confirmed from his speech that Nagoya will be the home of the Ghibli Theme Park. I now want to cryo sleep until 2022 please.

Studio Ghibli Theme Park


Minutes later, Hisaishi just casually entered into visibility. No ego-boosting grand entrance, to re-iterate, he really just went up the stage. I think Japanese people are naturally shy. He spared no words but he was really smiling, you can tell they’re genuine. My heart skipped a beat as he turned his back to conduct a symphony.

Ghibli Music

Joe Hisaishi’s Concert Program:

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
• The Legend of the Wind
• Nausicaä Requiem
• The Battle between Mehve and Corvette
• The Distant Day
• The Bird Man

Kiki’s Delivery Service
• A Town with an Ocean View
• Heartbroken Kiki
• Mother’s Broom

Princess Mononoke
• The Legend of Ashitak
• The Demon God
• Princess Mononoke

The Wind Rises
• A Journey (A Dream of Flight)
• Nahoko (The Encounter)
• A Journey (A Kingdom of Dreams)

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
• Deep Sea Pastures
• Mother Sea
• Ponyo’s Sisters Lend a Hand — A Song for Mothers and the Sea
• Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea


Castle in The Sky
• Doves and the Boy
• Carrying You

Porco Rosso
• Bygone Days

Howl’s Moving Castle
• Symphonic Variation “Merry-go-round + Cave of Mind”

Spirited Away
• One Summer’s Day
• Reprise

My Neighbour Totoro
• The Path of the Wind
• Hey Let’s Go
• My Neighbour Totoro


I humbly admit that I’m a basic cinephile, only because I haven’t seen cult films like Fight Club… I won’t hold back re: my claim of loving soundtracks and cinematic scores. To name a few, my auditory senses are attracted to Hans Zimmer (duh, self-explanatory), Alexandre Desplat (for Wes Anderson films), Howard Shore (SHOW ME THE MEANING OF HASTE), Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts & Final Fantasy XV), Nobuo Uematsu (mainly because of Final Fantasy X), and John Williams (Harry Potter). Back then, I’d listen to Final Fantasy X and X-2 soundtracks with my Sony Walkman challenging the device’s battery life in isolation. So yeah, TL:DR.. I am drawn to scores.

Going back to Ghibli, after every song, the maestro diverts the praise to the musicians by making them stand up. This guy tho’!!!

I now apologize for taking my phone out, but know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. So in a way, sorry, not sorry? I only took pictures AFTER a performance plus when the light turns back on.

Ghibli Music

Ghibli Music


Easily my favorite Melbourne experience. My heart is filled.

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