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.
After quickly packing my things and rushing to the lobby I had to figure out a way to contact Kurumaya sensei, who had already been waiting for me at Fukui station for more than half an hour. Because my UK phone company had told me that I couldn’t make any phone calls in Japan, I tried to call Kurumaya sensei from reception, but the receptionist apparently entered the wrong number. It took me a while until I understood that I wasn’t speaking to Kurumaya sensei at all but some random local person. Poor man – I don’t think he spoke any English and my Japanese is atrocious at the best of times (incomprehensible otherwise). As it turns out I can call mobile numbers here after all, so 1 minute later (and £4 the poorer) a haphazard mashup of English and Japanese on both sides worked to let Kurumaya sensei know what had happened. Continue reading
My plan was to start lessons with Kaki sensei in Chichibu as soon as possible. However, Kurumaya sensei (Neil and Miyuki’s teacher, hence my ‘grand-teacher’) invited me to perform in his concert on 21 July in the Fukui Newspaper Wind Forest Hall (福井新聞風森ホール). That’s an big honour of course, but the question arose: what about rehearsing?
So there were some hectic and lengthy phone calls from the breakfast table in Malta to Kurumaya sensei. Luckily Miyuki was there and – as always! – offered her tireless help in coming up with a workable plan. In the end, I had to be in Fukui on 6 to 9 July for rehearsals, go to Chichibu after that and return on the 19th for the concert. Continue reading