Hayao Miyazaki is an amazing storyteller and anime directors. In the eighties he swept Japan by storm with Nausicaä and the Valley of the wind, forming his own Animation Studio with Isao Takahata: Studio Ghibli. Since its creation Miyazaki and Takahata have alternated directed films and also investing in the future animators on projects such as The Cat Returns.
I learned all of this by watching the special features on many Studio Ghibli films I have been watching since I finished my Library Science classes. I didn’t know much about Japanese Anime before I started watching the Studio Ghibli films, but by watching the special features I not only learned more about the voice acting but also about Japanese Animation.
I would highly recommend watching the Studio Ghibli films and special features which each contain a special feature “Behind the Microphone.” If you are unfamiliar with Japanese Anime I would recommend staring with Whisper of the Heart.
The idea of watching movies and special features expands past Japanses Anime. An easy way to immerse yourself into teen culture is to watch what they are watching. Take time while in school to explore how a library might focus on special hobby of yours. Look at the Search Institue’s 40 Developmental Assets and see if the program might be beneficial to teens. Explore how resources for developing a collection on this topic, and e-mail professionals who have similar interests. You may even be able to approach a local library, implement your program, and write an article about the exciting things you are doing before you graduate.