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11 October 2006 @ 17:55
I went to my shamisen lesson yesterday and Sensei told me that she was going to attend a performance by her dance teacher (who, I’m told, also teaches Igawa Haruka-san). It would also include a performance of rakugo. Since I’ve never seen that performed, I really wanted to go.

The Noh theatre in question was underneath the Cerulean Hotel in Shibuya. I always wondered why Sensei demanded such specific theatres for her productions, but it’s easy to see why. A Noh stage juts out into the audience and has its own walkway and roof, just like a traditional Japanese house. The entrance for performers, like in the tea ceremony rooms, is low (about chest-height) so that you have to bow to enter.

The audience, in this theatre anyway, sat on chairs, while those in the cheaper seats sat on cushions in two tatami-floored booths at the back. There was a place for leaving our shoes just before we entered. If I’d known I was going to the theatre that day, I would’ve worn better socks!

Anyway, we had the cheaper seats, so we grabbed a cushion and got a place at the front of the booth. Just before the performance started, however, a clique of three women and their three children entered. From that moment, they treated it as their personal playroom. Toys were brought out and huge packets of sweets were thrown all over the room. The children screamed and cried and ran all over the place for the next hour or so. These women were utterly oblivious! One even decided to change a nappy (diaper) in the corner of the booth. The children were so loud, I didn’t hear much at all -- I certainly couldn’t concentrate on the rakugo storyteller’s dialogue enough to understand the story. And, despite what I thought beforehand, his voice was clear enough to be able to hear every word. What I did hear was funny, but I didn’t hear all that much. In front of us, in the main area, at least three people walked out because of these mothers.

(And if you’re wondering why no one said anything, it’s because it’s traditional not to be confrontational in public. People attending such a place are likely to be even more traditional that most. But I saw lots of people handing in their questionnaires at the end, which is how complaining is properly done in such a situation,)

Speaking of the storyteller, they brought him a mat and a white lumpy thing that they placed on the mat. He looked at it puzzled (that was an act, of course), then sat on it, adopting the seiza position over it. That is apparently the secret to sitting seiza-style for long periods of time.

There were other performances to follow. Luckily, the shamisen is a loud, percussive instrument, and when one of the musicians stood in the centre of the stage and did this amazing shamisen solo, I could still hear it above the screams. It was incredible -- he played so fast and changed notes with ease. He even retuned half-way through.

There was a fifteen minute interval and we decided to move. The other booth had a restrictive view and we’d already got the best spots in the one we were in, but it didn’t have those people in it! Surprisingly, the many screen doors shielded us from all but the worst the children had to offer.

The final performance was short, but I really enjoyed it. It would be best described as contemporary kyougen. The story was that a man arrives on the islands of giants and oni, where a group of oni waiting with the oni princess (the part was played by Sensei's Sensei!). The princess is meditating and thinking of Momotarou, whom she loves. The man does a dance and distracts the drunk oni so she can escape. What was new about this was that the size of the giants was shown by using robots! They had a little robot dressed as the main character, that could do a limited number of traditional dance moves. The actor provided the voice from behind a bamboo screen. They also had giant props for when it was just the actor on stage. This included a giant calligraphy brush belonging to the princess. Anyway, it was a great story and very funny.

If you want to check out the company that makes the dancing Japanese robots, click here.

I came out of work a few nights ago and found myself watching a performance by Raycloudy. Unfortunately, not many other people stayed and watched. The band were nice and I thanked them at the end. The lead singer shook my hand and asked if I would be coming to their live on Sunday. I said I couldn't because I was working. He said he'd hold it on a different day next time and thanked me once again for staying to watch. They made my night!

Finally, today our fridge was delivered!
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 11th October 2006 05:38 (UTC)
Congrats on getting a fridge!! ^^

I know that it's traditional to be non-confrontational in Japan, but do you really agree with that 'tradition'? I always say something if people bother me. I don't think that it's rude to tell someone to be quiet or quiet their children, it's a lot more rude to let their children bother so many other people (and them do it too). I think that that attitude of letting others walk all over you is something that needs to change about Japan. I, for one, will always stand up for my rights, especially when I paid money to see something.
Williamgenkischuldich on 16th October 2006 11:39 (UTC)
Thanks. It's good to have one!

You'd be amazed at how insane the traditional music community is here. I really wouldn't want to risk it... ^^
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 11th October 2006 05:43 (UTC)
Yay for new fridge!

Speaking of disturbances during shows, remember how we got annoyed at people arriving late for RokkakuMyu even though they were in the front row? Looking back, I think they might have been actors from previous myus going to see the new one. Because the last time I went I got told Kimeru and KENN were there and they arrived at the last minute to avoid fangirls, so they must have gone in late, when the lights are dark, to avoid being seen as well. Seeing that the late comers we saw were all in front row (who the actors waved at enthusiastically towards the end), that might be why......

Anyway. Got my tickets to Japan booked! 8D
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 11th October 2006 05:55 (UTC)
The guests for Tenimyu always sit in the center rows near the back, at least the special guests. That's why people are always looking back over their shoulders all of the time, especially near the beginning of the show.

The people in the front rows are usually fans. I've sat in the second row at Tenimyu, and the first rows for Bleach myu before, so I could vouch for them being just fans most of the time.. (maybe not all of the time). A lot of people arrive late because of their jobs and things that hold them up...
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 11th October 2006 06:01 (UTC)
I see... I got that impression because of the way the actors kept looking at the first row and waving at them as if they know them personally or something >_>" so, dunno. XD;
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 11th October 2006 06:09 (UTC)
They could have been guests, but I doubt it. A few of my friends are some of the special guests that have been invited, and there's different levels of guests it seems....... the family/friends/girlfriends/not famous guests (who incidentally have to buy their tickets) usually sit in somewhere in the back half of the auditorium, or on the second level for DL3. The actor/famous/former Tenimyu-guests (who get free tickets) always sit near/at the back of the first level. It could have been some guests in the front, but it's really unlikely I think. A lot of the time front row tickets are even on yahoo, trying to be sold for a couple thousand dollars (--;;;).

I think the people in the front just look like they're getting a lot of attention when they're not really. It probably just looks that way to us, and the actors can probably only see the first row well so that's what they'd by default wave to when the curtains are going down. ^^
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 11th October 2006 06:13 (UTC)
That does make sense... especially with the famous guests, they'd want to be as near the exit as possible. I haven't thought about that. They really probably can't see much on stage!

*woes at price of front row tickets*
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 11th October 2006 06:19 (UTC)
I can't remember the exact price, but I heard that way back at Side Fudomine, there were tickets for the second level selling at around $500 each. That's on the second level!! X.x It's insane!! x.x
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 11th October 2006 06:22 (UTC)
O_O........ maybe that cast was just immensely popular? I got my Rokkaku ticket on YJA for 15500 yen for the 5th row, and there was only one other bidder. The other bidder really was trying for it, too, because there were actually 2 tickets that were being sold and she wanted the pair ^^" If that wasn't the case I think I could've got it for around 10000. But I suppose because Rokkaku was a new cast, people weren't so keen to pay a lot to watch them... (and nobody knew about Atobe's shower scene back then!)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん)hinoai on 11th October 2006 06:28 (UTC)
I got some Rokkaku tickets for really cheap on yahoo (one for 4000 yen which is less than the ticket price! O.o). But I had to get some for DL3's last show for some friends, and they were around $500 apiece for the back. X.x.... it's insane! I think that it depends on a lot of things. Mainly the cast, but also for Rokkaku there were a lot more shows, so it was easier to get tickets (since there were only 5 total showings for DL3 it was really hard). Plus I guess it's luck? Gah, things just really, really suck when it comes to getting Tenimyu tickets in general. It's really hard! x.x I'm only going to go once to the next show I think, because I don't like putting up with all the hassle of getting tickets, it's way too hard. x.x
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 11th October 2006 06:34 (UTC)
$500 for the back..... that really is insane. Both the people selling it for that price, and the people willing to pay that price!

For me, I was happy to go a few times because afterall, I flew all the way to Tokyo. I didn't go just for the myu (also holiday, Glay concert and other things), but it felt a bit of a waste for me to just go once.

Hopefully the Rikkai tickets won't be too hard/expensive, as well, since they've announced a lot of shows! (if they are expensive, then I get no choice but pay that price anyway, since I've already booked my air tickets x_x)
Hi-chan (火ちゃん): Kimeru Nipples!!!hinoai on 11th October 2006 06:45 (UTC)
Good luck! ^__^ I'm sure you can find ones for a good price!! ^o^
Pez }}morning.maple{{yuki_scorpio on 11th October 2006 06:47 (UTC)
XD Hopefully! Thanks!
Williamgenkischuldich on 16th October 2006 11:42 (UTC)
Bit late in replying here... but I'm really looking forward to seeing you! Glad you got your tickets booked!
lpatobe on 11th October 2006 08:53 (UTC)
Yay for fridge.

That whole non-confrontational ethos was a right pain to deal with when I was dealing with the Oita prefectural government. I wanted them to just tell me if the answer was no! But then, I don't have any difficulty personally with quietly stepping outside and asking the management to intervene when there are noisy kids in the cinema etc.
Williamgenkischuldich on 16th October 2006 12:00 (UTC)
In England, it's different. But there's a certain clique to the traditional music scene here... I swear everyone knows everyone else.
Rae: Miyavi// Serenityguiltyschu on 11th October 2006 10:09 (UTC)
The performance sounded really interesting. It's too bad about the bratty children. What sort of parents would even bring children along to an event like that anyway? *bewildered*
Williamgenkischuldich on 16th October 2006 12:02 (UTC)
I don't know... it could be that they were related to the actors on stage. Those booths were taken by some people who had connections to the performers and got the cheap seats at a discount (er... including me and sensei!).
Mami: focus on painmami_san on 11th October 2006 12:25 (UTC)
Wow~ The performance sounds like it would have been really inredible if not for those bratty kids. I remember that non-confrontational thing making me twitch a time or two. I can never say to someone's face "You need to tell them to cut that out", but I sort of got used to relying on other people do to it before I starting chewing my own wrists open. In Japan, where no one says anything, it was a bit of a "Nooo" adjustment. ^_^;

Ehhh? You're learning shamisen? That's wicked cool. o_o I will now be your fangirl. *waves flags*

And yay for a fridge~
Williamgenkischuldich on 16th October 2006 12:09 (UTC)
I've been learning it for a little while. ^^ Also the bamboo flute. I may be in a concert next March, which I'm really looking forward to.

It's so nice to have a fridge...!
Mami: foamymami_san on 16th October 2006 12:20 (UTC)
Oh, that would be exciting! ^___^
Bamboo flutes sound *so* pretty.
*randomly crashes your concert*