Wednesday, March 27, 2013

All the World's a Stage



All the world’s a stage.

And I bring this up because I just realized I forgot to tell you where I went before my trip!

So a few days before my trip I got a message from my friend; Yukari. Yukari was also the first student I ever hosted back home. Anyways, so I got a message from her asking if I wanted to go see a musical called Notre Dame de Paris.

Notre Dame de Paris promotional image.
Basically, it is French in origin and was performed in English by French people with Japanese subtitles.

Yes, subtitles.

At a live performance. No you didn’t just read that and no I didn’t make a mistake. How it worked was this, the actors performed in English and to the left and right of the stage were large panels on which the words showed up in Japanese. There you have it. Japanese subtitles at a live theater performance.

The next logical question I’m assuming you’re going to ask is whether or not I liked it. Overall, I think I’m going to have to say no. Don’t get me wrong, it was really fun. I love musicals and live theater. But, something about the whole thing felt off to me. To me it felt like there were two or three overlapping plots that didn’t fit together quite right combined with a lack of time-period appropriate clothing and props. Seriously, I’m pretty sure the hobo fire in the metal barrel was not going on in that period of France. Of course, something also kinda gets ruined for you when one of the dancers is trying, not so surreptitiously to remove something from her back during an entire number while going through with the performance. I wouldn’t have even noticed it had she not started trying to remove it.

I also want to take the time to note that while I wasn’t particularly fond of it, I’m sure other people loved it. My only points of reference to base whether or not it was good or bad as a production are from seeing Wicked, the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast and my high school’s Zombie Prom (my high school by the way was very well known in our state for our theater department above all else until the teacher in charge retired). Oh, and the 10th and 25th anniversaries of Les Miserables which I saw on DVD. So, overall, can’t tell you overall if it was actually good or actually bad. I can only say that I didn’t really like it.

And speaking of Les Miserables. My poor family has suffered through my enthusiasm already, so now it’s your turn. While packing up my suitcases I stumbled across a flyer for Les Miserables being performed in Japan. Yes, Les Miserables. In Japan. In Japanese. Sure, I may not be able to actually catch what they’re saying half the time, but I’ve seen it more than my fair share of times in English so I’ll be good.

So, today I bought my ticket. May 5th I’m going to see Les Miserables. Live. In Japan. 

Poster for Les Miserables in Japan 2013.
Sooooooo excited. You have no idea. 


While I’m talking about tickets I might as well take a moment to mention that Japan has amazing Conbini (Convenience stores). Seriously. You can buy fruits and veggies and all your other snacks and whatnot at a not outrageous price. You can also pay your bills and have stuff shipped to a conbini where you pick it up through Amazon. Pretty sweet. They also pretty much always have a copy machine and always an ATM inside. If you’re looking to use an American card at one of the ATMs and you don’t have one of the special travel cards your best bet will be at a 7-11.

Another machine located at the conbini is for purchasing tickets. Or that sort of thing. I’ve only used it for tickets so far, so I’m not sure of their other functionalities. So far I’ve used a Lawson’s conbini every time I’ve purchased tickets using their machine. If you’re using a Lawson’s machine it’s very convenient if you make sure you bring along the L-code for you ticket (usually provided on the website for the event, etc.) you’re buying a ticket for. Then, if you can’t read Japanese you get help from the employees, otherwise you find the section that asks for the L-Code and you type it in, do some confirmations and make sure to click はい at the last step and it’ll print out a really long receipt. You then take this receipt to the counter and pay. They’ll have you sign about half way down the receipt, print off your tickets and you’re good to go. Very convenient. Especially if you don’t have a credit card. 

Picture of a Lawson ticket machine from SuperMerlion

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