Tag Archives: Japanese

Barlingen International Folkdance Festival (1)

I can’t believe this is 1month ago already…It’s about my trip to Germany. Our Shishimai website also updated more detailed stories and pictures, check it out!

As I hadn’t performed Shishimai since I came to London, I was so looking forward to joining them in Germany this time! I was thinking of joining them in Frankfurt as the members flied to there, but decided to go to Stuttgart and meet them in Balingen as the flight was not early in the morning…well, I mean, more efficient.

It was the first time for me to go to Germany! It was only a few hours from Heathrow to Stuttgart. I love living in Europe 🙂 I spent a few hours in Stuttgart before taking a train to Balingen, walked around the park near to the station, and had a lunch at a cafe. The chicken and fruits salad (as a waiter recommended) was really testy…a bit salty taste, but made me almost order beer.

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Taking a train to Balingen, I was quite impressed by train systems in Germany (so different from England…). Accurate, planned schedule on planned platform, although I can’t understand German at all, it was more smooth than traveling in England. The sky was clean, the train running along rivers and woods was so comfortable.

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I walked from Balingen station to the hotel as it looked quite close. Oh, I found a poster of the festival!

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Waiting at the hotel….finally I reunited with the Japan team! It’s been for a while since I last met them…well, as I hadn’t joined them for a few years and I hadn’t met the members from the Shrine before, most of them were someone I met at the first time actually…After checking in, we went to a clubhouse where we had a wonderful dinner! Oh wow German foods are so yummy…beer was good too…they played some music for us, and everyone danced together, it was fascinating first day already.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind? “Hai! Karate”

This is about a TV show again, a TV show called “Hai! Karate” on CBBC. Four pairs of a parent and a child visit Japan to learn Karate in order to get closer relationship. It’s quite interesting.

Looking at “futon” (Japanese type bed) and shouting “Do we sleep on the floor!?”, not knowing how to wear “dougi” (a special clothes for martial arts), panicking at cicada, sitting on the floor in Japanese style…hahaha. Usually teachers will be furious if you are doing Karate taking such an apparant “I don’t care” attitude. But it might be a bit hard for them to concentrate in such a unfamiliar humid climate.

On the episode two, they experienced some Japanese culture such as Manga, Kendo, Wadaiko, and Maiko, and all looked enjoying it. On the third episode, teachers begun to make a bit more harsh comments on their attitudes, and they looked a bit annoyed lol. But now they also begun to show more serious eyes when they practice Karate.

I totally understand how stressful when they meet a new culture, I hope they understand a bit more about Japan and will like it!

This is the website.

Ohagi

My friends invited me to her place and taught me how to cook “ohagi” (Japanese traditional sweets). It was the first time to cook this for me so I could help only an easy part of it.

The smell of red beans and rice when they are cooked always makes me feel relaxed. We cooked normal ones, as well as kinako (a kind of sweet powder?) and sesame. It was soooooooooooo yummy!

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She also served some other sweets and sake for us… It was such a nice time chatting and eating 🙂 Thanks!

Kodo at Southbank centre, London

I went to see a performance by “Kodo” (A group of Japanese traditional drum players). To be honest, I hadn’t seen any proper Japanese drum performance before, and I just went there because it was 50% off for students! But it was amazing. Just amazing. I thought it would be good when I saw the promotion video on their website, but you can never experience the sounds of “big drum” unless you go to see them. It echoes inside your body, rather than on the surface. It was like thunder. Another thing I liked about them was that they were really entertainer. The quality as musician was good, so they can perform serious drum, but also they can do it comically so that audience feel relaxed, and above all, they looked enjoying themselves so much. You can feel thrill, fun, rhythm, and the time just goes by! They will be travelling around Europe, so check it out! Kodo website

Japan is great???

I found an article like this. “9 Reasons Why Japanese Interactive Work is Awesome” http://www.crackunit.com/2009/03/17/9-reasons-japanese-interactive-work-is-awesome/ The first reason, “The work is polite” made me laugh a bit. I don’t know if these reasons are right, but it’s really nice to hear someone says Japanese contents are awesome. Not only about interactive media, but I think we have a lot of things we should be proud of. Foods, technology, design, traditional culture, politeness… But usually these things are delivered in misunderstood or distorted way! I wish more Japanese people could work a lot internationally. I should try harder too. Of course there is a lot of culture which I don’t like. But Japanese politeness, and seriousness to try to make things crisp and detailed, could be our strength which other country don’t have, I started to think like that after I came to London. I’d like to study more from western cultures but meanwhile I want to stay as proper Japanese as well. (Not sure if it makes sense…)

Tokyo Day

As I heard there will be an event about Japan, I went to have a quick look after shopping. “Origami”, “calligraphy”, “Koma” and “Robots”, there were lots of “let’s try” booth, and there were lots of people as well. At “Tea Ceremony” corner, I saw some British people showing slightly curious looks, and shitting in Japanese style (=seiza). They looked so cute. This event was organised by Tokyo, but I wondered if they always call volunteers. If so, I want to help them next time! By the way, Shishimai was performing at the stage. A woman was playing the flute for nearly 20 mins by herself, it was amazing. I would get suffocated… Well I feel like I want to play the Japanese flute again. Oh no! I forgot to take pictures!!!

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black, which has been played for 19 years at the Fortune Theatre in London. The drama was exported to Japan in 1992, directed by Robin Herford, and have been played some times for years. Hearing that “Japanised” version would be re-imported to the Fortune Theatre as “Japanese Week”, I couldn’t help but buying the tickets without any thoughts. The actors are Takaya Kawakami and Haruhiko Saito. Sounds like it is a horror story…but no any other information. But isn’t it so interesting that a classic drama which was born in England went to Japan and come back to London?

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As I went to see it with my British boyfriend, I booked Dress circle sheets which English subtitles are available. The theatre was very small and almost all of audience were Japanese. I wish I could seen English people’s reaction, but Kamikawa is such a popular actor in Japan, so this is a natural consequence. The story begins by a lawer, Kipps (Saito), starting to read a scenario in a small theatre. He had experienced a horrific time in the past, and to escape from the nightmare, he decided to tell the story to his family. He hired a young actor to teach him how to do “story-telling”, but the actor, being surprised by Kipps’s inability to “act”, suggested that he plays the role of young Kipps, and Kipps plays the other characters. And then their rehearsal starts… Kipps’s horror experience seemed a very orthodox ghost story at first, and didn’t sound scary at all. But as the story goes, the sense of horror increases little by little, and it flooded with terror at the end. Can you imagine the situation you have to stay alone in an isolated old mansion (with a cemetery) in English country side for a few nights? I felt that the sense of horror in England and Japan is similar somehow. There was a basic creepy sensation like “The ring” (Japanese horror film) rather than just using “surprise” or showing “gros”. And in a complicated “play within a play”, along with revealing the background story, the feeling of horror and antipathy grows as well. I think the popularity in Japan is quite reasonable. Anyway, despite the simplicity of the stage and casts, two actors were successfully creating the air of terror. Kamikawa was a bit too “British young man”, but his performance to express horror was outstanding at the last half. On the contrary, Saito silently played old Kipps, who looked so serious, and the other characters, with amazing contrast. The critical point of this type of play should be how much they can evoke audience’s imagination, but they were true professional. You can’t miss any scenes both comical and serious.

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The all script was in Japanese, but their conversations were quite British. The way they act might be very Japanese, but their clothes, setting, direction were quite British as well. I could experience such a unique atmosphere. Well, now I feel like I should go to see the original English version…

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More information is here. The article by The Times is here.