On the Saturday Kurumaya sensei, Yokota san and Nishide san of Wadaiko Za Miyama took me to see a show in Kanazawa. I had no idea of what to expect.
The journey to Kanazawa takes about 45 minutes by train or car. But that’s not travelling Kurumaya style. Because we stopped every 20km to take a break, get out, go to the toilet and visit the konbini. Or visit a café. A special one, of course. You see, there is a café chain here (Yutori) that has very spacious seating. And there was one roughly on the way to Kanazawa. I’m saying roughly, because it us about 20 minutes and some detours to get there. But I’m not really complaining – this way we got something to eat before the show!
This is what I figured out happened that day. The venue was a traditional Japanese theatre called 金沢おぐら座 (Kanazawa Oguraza). The troupe was 劇団大川 (Gekidan Ogawa). The show was … I’m still not sure. There were three parts. The first was an improvised comedic theatre performance of which I maybe understood two percent. After a break there was singing. After another break there was advertising of more Oguraza shows, including a discount ticket sale and a sale of flower garlands, which audience members could put round the necks of the performers in the last round of singing and and dancing.
The music was … difficult for me. Lots of pathos in the songs, and it reminded me a lot of German Schlager, which for me is … difficult. After the show everybody kept saying ‘very very good!’, and I’ll just go with that.
One interesting aspect was that it is obvious that Kurumaya sensei gets many of his bachi sabaki moves from this kind of performance. As he had told me earlier, he loves these shows and visits them at least once a month, usually more often.
This show visit as well as many other small things here make me feel like being back in primary school – I sort of know how life works but am completely lost without the constant help and explanations of others. It’s just the same as with understanding Japanese: when reading, I recognise and understand quite a bit, but listening to spoken Japanese is still mostly incomprehensible.