Friday, August 2, 2013

Kabuki and Bon Odori

So, here is a short post in a series of quick catch up posts! I know, I know. I've been prone to these a lot lately.

On the 18th of July I headed to go see a kabuki show with a couple of other students from my school. Kabuki is a form of theater that began as a form of low culture entertainment that as cheap and intended for the masses. It is performed entirely by men and uses very prominent costumes and colors to convey different things. Here is a link to the national Kabuki theater's website about Kabuki if you are interested in learning more about it.

Me failing to imitate the pose.

We headed to the National Theater building which is near the Hanzomon Station in Tokyo.  The performance we watched included a "How to watch Kabuki" informational show at the beginning where they showed the audience many of the secrets behind the tricks used during the show such as actors quickly disappearing and appearing out of the stage. This was then followed by a short intermission and then the show, which was called Kuzu-no-ha, a single act of a larger performance, began.

In short the story is about a fox who pretends to be a woman and marries a man. She goes on to have his child and a few years after he is born the woman who the fox impersonated shows up and her farce is exposed. The play's critical moment is one in which the fox, while trying to placate her child who has awoken in the middle of the night is writing a farewell poem on the screens of the house. Being unable to do so, she holds the child and, with the brush in her mouth, finishes writing the poem having made the choice to leave her child and husband behind though the pain of having to do so is no less so than for any human.

Naturally, I needed to have this photo.

The next day I had my final sewing class and we practiced putting on Yukata.

My sewing teacher and I.
That night the fourth floor second years and I put on yukata and headed to the Zoshigaya Bon Odori festival.

(Back: Left to right) Kasane, Mafuyu, Yumi, Eri. (Front) Me, Minami.
The Zoshigaya Bon Odori festival was by far the smallest I've been to taking place in front of a local temple, but the atmosphere was awesome.

Zoshigaya Bon Odori Festival entrance
Shortly after arriving we were asked by a group from a magazine (I didn't catch the name of it) if they could take our photos. They had us each fill out a little survey with our names, fashion points of our outfit, favorite brands, etc. Then they took our photos individually before taking a group photograph. Those images and the article should be released soon and I'll update you all when I have the link! My fashion point was that not only was my yukata handmade, but that I made it myself!

Mame filling out her survey.
There were lanterns stretching across the festival area that gave off a reddish light. Since it was a local festival mainly people who live in the area came to it meaning it wasn't intensely crowded. In the center was a large platform with a taiko drummer at the top and dancers a level down from them. Circling around that was everyone who was following the dancers on the platform's lead in order to join in the dancing. I joined in for a bit, but it was harder to follow than it looked!

Fourth floor second years participating in the obon dances.
Off to the side were more young taiko players and a handful of booths selling food, toys and of course, a gold fish catching game.

Kasane picking out a chocolate covered banana.
I caught two and, after the little girl next to me failed to catch one after several attempts, I got the okay from her dad and gave them to her. Deed well done.

Children trying to catch goldfish.
By the time the festival was over we'd met up with the first years from our floor and a random couple from our neighborhood for this picture.


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