This sounds pretty normal but what adds surprise is the presence of stubby and dense forests jumping out from the flat lands. These forests are small but dense. Really, really dense. I am not sure if enough sunlight reaches the ground. It is also surprising that the houses are built close to the forest or they are in the middle of the farm.
Seems to me that it can let the imagination run pretty wild on what might be lining in these woods. No wonder miyazaki’s (yes, the totoro guy) cartoon have a very strong influence from these backgrounds.
In fact, a close depiction of rural japan can be found in “my neighbor totoro” or in “spirited away”. The small rivers and narrow streets included. And they still exist in japan and I suppose totoro does exist too.
Update 1: I have to apologise for numerous typos before the update. The post was written on my ipod and the “smart keyboard” amended some of the words and I overlooked them 🙁
Update 2: Check out the beautiful art of Totoro at the totoro forest project. I am definitely going to buy the book when it is out. I would love to own an original art (Check out the gallery) but it may not be possible.