20 August, 2008

Yami ni saku hana / Theater play

Before I begin today’s post, I would like to confess that I am not a theatergoer. The last stage what I saw was "the Lion King"; I went with my daughter 3 years ago, and before that was "Fiddler on the roof", which was an educational program planed by school around 30years ago.

I, such a theater-novice, had a chance to see this lovely stage, Hisashi Inoue’s “Yami ni saku hana” the flowers blooming in the dark (this is not the official title. It’s just my arbitrary translation. Sorry.), and was moved deeply. Let me tell you about it today.

The scene is in the year 1947, two years after the end of the WW2, and the stage is set on a small shrine yard which was burned out by Tokyo air-raids. The main characters are a priest of the shrine who lost his only son to the war and five of war-widows who assemble in the shrine yard for making masks and selling them to get some money for their daily living.

One day, the priest's son who was believed to have died come back home. Everybody is overcome with joy and recognized him as the hope for their future.
But an officer from the GHQ comes to the shrine to arrest him. The officer says he was indicted as a class-C war criminal. When he was in the Guam base, he played catch with local young guy, and the guy caught the ball in his head accidentally. The officer says he was sued for the abusive behavior to the local people...

The author of this drama is the famous Japanese novelist, Hisashi Inoue. It was a three hours long stage but I had never felt boring from the beginning to the final curtain.

Everybody is facing tough situations but everybody helps each other and don't forget cheerful look anytime. Everybody cares about the shrine as their resting place. Everybody is funny and sweet.

I felt the author's deep love for the ordinary public people who struggle with their life. And also, the languages what launched from the actors were fresh and lively. They got to my heart. When the final curtain fell on, I found that the tears gathering in my eyes.

Additionally, according to the comment written in the program by the author, this stage is very important for the Japanese drama history. The three young guys make their debut as the professional actors in this stage, and they are the first graduates of the New National Theatre Drama Studio, which was established 2005 as the first drama school run by the state.

To tell the truth, one of the three young actors is a distant relative of mine, and as you can imagine, that was the first trigger for seeing this stage.
Anyway, "R"-chan, you were great! I really enjoyed the stage. I am very proud of you.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm just a theater-novice, so I am not sure if my opinion/impression is correct. I recommend you to see and confirm it by yourself if you could understand Japanese. I bet you'll enjoy it.

Yami ni saku hana” is going on the board at the Kinokuniya Southern Theater (Shinjuku) until 31st Aug. The schedule since this September will be as follows:

4th Sept. -------Kawanishi-cho, Yamagata
6th Sept. -------Ichikawa, Chiba
12-13th Sept. --Iizuka, Fukuoka
14th Sept. ------Nohgata, Fukuoka
15th Sept. ------Tagawa, Fukuoka
17-18th Sept. --Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi
19-20th Sept. --Ohita, Oita
21st Sept. ------Beppu, Oita
23-29th Sept. --Kitakyushu, Fukuoka
1st Oct. --------Miyazaki, Miyazaki
2-4th Oct. -----Kagoshima, Kagoshima
6-8th Oct. -----Kumamoto, Kumamoto
10-18th Oct. --Fukuoka, Fukuoka
20th Oct. ------Sasebo, Nagasaki
21-23rd Oct. --Nagasaki, Nagasaki
24th Oct. ------Isahaya, Nagasaki
25th Oct. ------Shimabara, Nagasaki
27-29th Oct. --Saga, Saga
31st Oct. ------Kani, Gifu


17 August, 2008

Sugamo Walking / Tokyo SC, Roku Jizou

I always get up late on weekends normally, however, now in the summer, I have to get up early like weekdays because Lee can not walk outside in the daytime. Currently air temperature has been raised around 30-35 degrees C, and the road surface become hotter than that. It is too hot to walk with his bare feet, and also might be a cause of the heat stroke.
Of cause I like early morning walk. That is fun. There is no exhaust gas and no crowd. Let me introduce the scenes which were taken during our recent walking.

Tokyo Swimming Center (Tokyo SC)

One of the oldest swimming school in Tokyo. This is the home ground (home pool?) of Kosuke Kitajima; the Gold Medalist of 100m and 200m breaststroke in Athen(2004) and Beijing(this week!) Olympic games. Kitajima started swimming here when he was just 5 years old, and even now, he belongs to this SC.

This picture was taken just before the Beijing Olympic. There are the messages for the Olympic swimmers here on the window.

It says "Go in and win! / Kosuke Kitajima / Reiko Nakamura / Haruka Ueda / 2008 Beijing Olympic Game".
And this is the current picture.

“Congratulations! / Reiko Nakamura _ 100m back _ Bronze Medal _ Japan record./ Kosuke Kitajima _ 100m and 200m breast _ Gold Medals, two consecutive win _ World record of 100m breast: 58.91sec.”

Tokyo SC is located in the north east side of the JR Sugamo station. It takes about 10min on foot. Go and see the lesson If you want your kids to become Olympic swimmers!
Rokujizou / Shinsho-ji temple
Go out the JR Sugamo station, cross the multilane roadway(Hakusan-dori), and turn to the right. Walk through the pavement several minutes, then, you will see a big Jizou statue on your left side.

Jizou is a kind of buddha. I explained about it simplistically in the previous post, so please check here for further infomation.
In Tokyo area, there are famous six big Jizou statues, and they are called “Edo Roku Jizou”. And this is the 3rd one of these six(roku) Jizou. They are in Shinagawa(#1), Asakusa(#2), Sugamo(#3), Shinjuku(#4), Fukagawa(#5) and Ueno(#6).

According to the guideboard, this statue was built in the year 1714.
Actually, Sugamo is famous nationwide for "Togenuki-jizou". So, sometime people who watch this statue are confused this statue with togeniki-jizou. Togenuki-jizou and this roku-jizou are different Jizou in different temple.
Urgent Information!!
I was surprised when I walked by the Sugamo Roku Jizou this morning, because there were no Jizou statue. Actually, he was here when I saw him in the end of July. Where has he gone?!

The sign board said:
“The Jizou statue was built 294 years ago and there are some corrosion damage in his body now. He needs some fixing. So Jizou has gone to Kyoto for repair since August 2008 until May 2010.”
A new miniature sized Jizou was there on behalf of him.

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