Monday, April 30, 2012

That was Pretty Awesome: Bunraku

So let me start with I'm writing this to stay awake as I wait for Riyo for lunch. I am very mad at my one lecture class right now because he basically made the entire final project due today, so I had to spend all day doing that yesterday. This week is supposed to be a magical thing called Golden Week, which is a string of national holidays that make a mini-vacation (with school on Tues and Wed in the middle), but nooo, I had to waste a day doing these shenanigans.


Also, I forgot to mention, on the climb up the ridiculous mountain (yes I am sore haha), one of the students started to sing camp songs. Why yes, yes we did. I sang mentally because I was more focused on the whole breathing thing.

Anyway, Sunday my theatre class went to the National Bunraku Theatre in Osaka to see some awesome puppet theatre. This particular kind of puppet theatre is very intricate; each puppet is controlled by 3 people. It takes 10 years to learn each puppet role, so the puppet masters have been practicing for 30 something years at least. Pretty awesome.

Also awesome: apparently they don't have to rehearse; if the puppet master knows what he is doing, then he can use signals to tell his 2 other puppeteers what to do. Dude.

The music is a shamisen accompanied with a narrator, who sings everything and speaks for everyone. Sometimes there is more than one, but typically there is one narrator and one shamisen player. They sit on a turntable which rotates after a scene to switch pairs. This is because the narration is too strenuous for one pair to do the entire thing. Yeah.

So what made this particularly awesome is because someone knew a guy who knew a guy, we got to meet with a puppet master before the performance and get to learn about and hold the puppets! They were preeettty intricate I must say. And heavy.

I really marvel that they let us do this. People came in late, cell phones went off, and they still let a bunch of gaijin run around and play with the puppets. They were very nice.

The performance itself was long (4 hours) but it wasn't sleepworthy. There was a small part in the middle where it was like Jeez, something happen already but then something did and it was awesome.

We also were given a backstage tour afterwards! Ohyes. It was funny, because our teacher said that they were very strict about taking pictures and stuff, so I figured I wouldn't get any pictures of the actual theater right? On the contrary, not only did I get puppet pictures, I got pictures of the theater and backstage in the theater. Win.

So other than being an all-day affair, I had a great time.  I do have pictures, but I am at school right now, so I will definitely post them in my next entry, which is the itinerary for Nagasaki! Yay!


1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you had fun. Fun fact! Whenever I see "bunraku" I rearrange it in my head to bunkaru, which rhymes with dunkaroo if you are wondering.