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Space Shuttle Gets Laputa Anime Music Wakeup Call

posted on by Egan Loo
Joe Hisaishi's "The Pigeons and a Boy" chosen by astronaut Naoko Yamazaki's daughter

Not-So-Daily Link of the Day: The astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery woke up on Thursday at 9:21 a.m. Japan Time (on Wednesday at 7:21 p.m. CDT) to the sound of a trumpet — specifically, the "Hato to Shōnen" ("The Pigeons and a Boy") song from Joe Hisaishi's soundtrack for Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's Laputa: Castle in the Sky film.

Per a long-standing tradition, flight controllers at NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston play a musical wakeup call for the astronauts every "morning." On Flight Day 4 of Mission STS-131, the flight controllers played the song that astronaut Naoko Yamazaki's seven-year-old daughter Yūki personally chose. After the wakeup call, Yamazaki thanked her husband Taichi and her daughter for choosing this song and told all of Japan that she hopes to do her best on the mission. NASA has posted the Laputa wakeup call in MP3 and WAV formats, along with a transcript. Japan's NHK public broadcaster, the NTV network, and the FNN news source posted the video feeds from Mission Control.

As a mission specialist on her first spaceflight, Yamazaki is responsible for all payload and transfer operations and jointly operating the space shuttle's robotic arm. Not coincidentally, Yamazaki made a special guest appearance in an episode of Rocket Girls, the anime based on Housuke Nojiri's science-fiction novel about a Japanese girl who becomes an astronaut.

Yamazaki is the second female Japanese astronaut after Chiaki Mukai, and one of two Japanese astronauts currently in space. Astronaut Sōichi Noguchi is aboard the International Space Station on his second space mission. On July 29, 2005, Noguchi and the rest of the Space Shuttle Discovery crew woke up to Hisaishi's "Sampō" ("Walk") song from Miyazaki and Ghibli's My Neighbor Totoro film, as sung by Noguchi's daughters and the other students at the Houston Japanese Language School.

Source: Jiji Press

Image © 1986 Nibariki • Tokuma Shoten
Naoko Yamazaki's photograph courtesy of NASA

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