Ghibli feast #6: Nausicaa

May 18, 2010

in bento,non bento

Day 2 of Ghibli feast

Ghibli feast #6: Nausicaa

The last feast for the day 2 of the Ghibli feast was Nausicaa.

Nausicaa is probably my most favorite of all Miyazaki films. I think it’s because I saw it when I was young, and it had a huge impact on me. I’ve seen this film the most number of times too. I remember almost every line of Nausicaa, and I cry almost every time I watch this film.

I really wanted to include this film in the Ghibli feast, but compared to the other Ghibli films, this might have the least amount of food. Even so, the only food in this film is actually one of the “food in anime I want to eat most” list.

[Chiko no mi / Chiko nuts]


After gunships crash into the Valley while transporting the God Warrior, Tolmekians invade the Valley. To protect the people in the Valley, Nausicaa agrees to be taken as a hostage on an airship. Right before they leave, a group of girls run to Nausicaa, and gives her a small sack of chiko nuts. After they leave the Valley, the airships get attacked by a Pejitan gunship, and the airships start to go down. Nausicaa orders other hostages to escape in an airship, and she jumps on a glider, taking Kushana, the leader of Tolmekians, with her. They land in the Forest of Decay, but Nausicaa learns the Pejitan pilot is still alive, and flies in her glider to save him. Nausicaa saves the pilot’s life in a nick of time, but after crashing into the ground, they get sucked into quicksand.

They wake up in a strange place below the forest where the air is clean, and they introduce each other for the first time. Nausicaa gives chiko nuts to the Pejitan pilot, Asbel. He eats it and makes a face and says “Despite the taste, I could eat a boot-full! (of chiko nuts)”

Chiko nuts are fictional food, so I tried to make a list of “facts” of chiko nuts.

1. When a group of girls give Nausicaa a sack of chiko nuts, she says “So many… You’ve worked so hard.”
-> It’s not easy to collect a sack full of chiko nuts.

2. Nausicaa says “It’s good for you.” when she gives it to Asbel.
-> Chiko nuts are nutritious.

3. Asbel says “It doesn’t taste great, but l could eat a whole boot-full!” after eating one chiko nut. (You can also see his eyes get teary.)
-> Chiko nuts doesn’t taste great, but makes one want to eat a boot-full.

4. You can briefly see chiko nuts, and from what they look like…
-> Chiko nuts are very small and round. Its color is dark brown/red or black.

Many Japanese people thought that they were goji berries, because the goji berry is called “kuko no mi” in Japanese and it sounds very close to “chiko no mi.” But I believe it’s completely fictional, and I’ll just leave it as that.

But I couldn’t just give up. So I compromised and decided to use roasted soybeans. I could’ve just bought roasted soybeans, but it’d be too easy since I was already compromising, so I tried making roasted soybeans from scratch.

First I had to soak them in hot water for a couple hours…

Ghibli feast #6: Nausicaa

Look at these crazy soybeans soak the hell out of the water! (for a couple of hours...)

…then dry them for several hours…

Ghibli feast #6: Nausicaa

Watch these little guys dry! (for several hours...)

…then roast them until the beans are completely dry.

It took almost an hour or longer to carefully roast in low to mid heat, constantly moving the pan so the beans wouldn’t get burned. The tiny little soybeans just wouldn’t dry!

Who knew manually roasting soybeans could take so long? Well, I didn’t. Now I’ve learned something and appreciate roasted beans more than ever.

Ghibli feast #6: Nausicaa

Ghibli feast #6: Nausicaa

Skin got all wrinkly, but that didn't affect the taste.

My chiko nuts didn’t look exactly like the real ones, but it was fresh and tasted really good. Crunchy, it gets sweeter as you chew it. I could definitely eat a boot-full.




You'll need a LOT of soybeans to fill a boot.



Still, having only roasted soybeans for my most favorite Ghibli film felt a bit lonely, so I decided to do something else. Not a food, but I made the tool Nausicaa uses in the film, called “Mushi-bue.” (Insect whistle)

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) from Nausicaa

It’s supposedly based on an actual whistle from somewhere in the world to scare off bugs, but you can make a very similar one too! Actually, you can find many Japanese sites showing how to make your own Mushi-bue.

You usually use a film case for this, but I did a little experiments and used different materials. If you don’t have film cases, go to a photo developing place and ask them! They usually have tons of them, and if you ask them nicely they’ll probably give them to you for free. ;) If you still can’t get a film case, and don’t want to make a big whistle, you can also use a lotion bottle or any plastic in a cylinder shape. Just make sure it’s soft enough that you can cut it with a box cutter.

Before I start a how-to… We made these in a rush for this post, so we didn’t have time to “pretty up” the appearance of these whistles. Sorry about the unevenly cut tape and messy craftsmanship.

You’ll need…
- a film case (or a soda can or a plastic bottle)
- cooking string (The one you use to tie up chicken. A supermarket has it.)
- an awl
- a box cutter
- a piece of thick paper (business cards are best for this)
- tape (scotch tape, duct tape, masking tape, etc…)

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle)

We decided to do some experiments, and used different materials.

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle): tools

Tools: tape, piece of paper, awl, exacto knife (or box cutter), string

1. Cut a slit 1/8 inch X 3/4 inch ~1 and 1/3 inch (5mm X 2~3cm) in on the side of a film case. A film case is small, so please be very careful!

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) #1: a film case

If you have trouble cutting a straight line, draw a line for the slit on a piece of masking tape, put it on and cut it. It makes it a lot easier to cut.

2. Make a hole in the center of the cap.

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) #1: a film case

3. Put the string through the hole and tie a knot a couple of times. (If you’re worried, you can tape the knot to the cap from inside)

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) #1: a film case

4. Cut a thick piece of paper (business cards are the best for this) a little smaller than the film case, and make a lengthwise incision about half a inch, and fold the each side of the paper in the different directions. The paper doesn’t need to be a specific size.

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) #1: a film case

* The paper stabilizes the film case and helps the air go in when you swing it. You can make it without the tail, but it's harder to make the whistle make the sound without the tail.

5. Tape the paper on at a 90 degree angle from the slit.

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) #1: a film case

6. Put the cap on, and swing it in circles!

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle) #1: a film case

I think my boyfriend was more excited when the sound actually came out.

We tried making it with a plastic bottle, soda can, and paper tubes. As we kinda expected, we couldn’t get the paper tubes to make sound.

Mushi-bue (Insect Whistle): Successful!

Regardless of the look, we could successfully get these three to make sound.

We went to Prospect park to record me swinging them. It was so nice out that day, maybe too nice. The park was full of people and very noisy. So we decided to just make a video with still images and audio.

[Mushi-bue #1: a film case]

[Mushi-bue #2: a soda can]

[Mushi-bue #3: a plastic bottle]

If you want to make it look more authentic, you can make them with bamboo or tree branch. (I’ve seen someone make them with bamboo or a branch before, and they do look very nice.) You’ll need to have the right tool for the carving though.

No sound is coming out from your whistle? Try holding the string shorter or longer, change the speed of of your swinging. If that doesn’t work, make the slit wider. After the experiments, we realized that the bigger the container gets, the wider the slit needs to be. If you think you made the slit too big, you can cover it with tape to adjust the size.

Okay, we got a little side tracked for this feast, but let’s get back on Ghibli feast! Day 3 of feast starts with Spirited Away!

You can also see these pictures in Ghibi feast set on my flickr page!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

HeidiNo Gravatar May 21, 2010 at 1:37 am

I am so glad I got my computer back and running. This series of food posts is indeed inspired! LOVE IT. I surely hope you are going to do Spirited Away (my very favorite) The food scenes really stand out. The movie wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the food. ;)

p.s. I finished a stuffed octopus for my niece. Since she is blind I made each tentacle a different textured fabric. It doesn’t look nearly as good as the things you make, but it’s not too bad.


DanochkaNo Gravatar May 22, 2010 at 3:07 am

I just made my own mushi-bue out of a small allergy medicine bottle. It’s probably about three quarters the size of a film canister. I used a piece of index card for the tail and some yarn for the handle.

It works wonderfully, with a very soft and light sound. I screwed up cutting the slit, so it only has one straight side, but it worked after I made sure the tail was on the side with the crooked cut- that way the air hits the straight side.

Also, the yarn tends to get kinked up after a while. I’ll try it with real string when I get a chance.

Also- I found that swinging it too fast made it not work. It seems to work best on a long string, being swung very slowly. The shorter the string the finer the line is between too fast and too slow.

Thank you so much for the tutorial! I am not going to amaze my young cousins with this knowledge.


HazNo Gravatar May 25, 2010 at 3:46 am

You are a genius.


ToshNo Gravatar November 6, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Just tried the film case version and I was SO excited when I first heard the noise. Sounds great. Thank you for the tutorial! I made 3 others to give to some friends that are fans of Nausicaa.

Wonder how I could make a wooden version…


TaiNo Gravatar September 25, 2011 at 3:53 am

Just saw your Ghibli Feast posts while browsing google when I noticed your ‘how-to’ on Mushi-bue…

:D I HAPPENED to have some film canisters and a penknife lying around, so I made some. They sound great no matter how long or short I hold the string, and I didn’t actually need the extra index card tail. The only thing I added to it was how I printed out some wood texturing and taped it around the edges. Very nice job!


katherineNo Gravatar March 16, 2013 at 1:42 am

This is such an amazing idea! And your so wonderful to make this food It’s like a dream come true. I too have always imagined what it would be like to make the exact food from a Ghibli movie ! I hope you will do this again sometime!!! My favorite food/film is Howls Moving Castle! Particularly the breakfast scenes !!


AbbeyNo Gravatar October 11, 2014 at 12:59 am

Hi, I’m a huge Nausicaa fan, and I just wanted to let you know that with the chiko nuts, since the soybeans are bigger and a lighter colour than the chiko nuts in the movie, I suggest buying black chia seeds! They look almost exactly the same!
Have a good day,


David AllenNo Gravatar March 2, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for this great little tutorial. My daughter is dressing up as Nausicaa for cosplay and I am going to be Lord Yupa. She really needed an insect noise maker. Yours was the only one I could find. I used a prescription medicine bottle and it works great! Now that I have a working model, I plan on making one out of bamboo for the Anime convention!


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