Sunday, November 26, 2006

Finding Tokyo

This weekend I had a solo adventure into Tokyo due to the inability to convince anybody that Butoh, or creepy Japanese dance perfomance, is a really neat thing to see. True, I had never seen anything like it before, but the pictures on their website was enough to convince me. During the performance, I intended on breaking the one rule they gave in English, which was no photography allowed. I had my camera out, ready to show you all how cool this was, until I realized that it is too cool to show here. Instead, I decided to give you my written descriptions, and recommend that you see it yourself.
If I could describe it, I'd mix 3 different experiences I've had into one. It was a little like a Japanese horror film, in that the costumes and set design were extremely strange and unworldly. This performance included characters covered in talc powder, dressed in school-girl uniforms, men covered only in a minimal G-string, hanging ropes that served as meat hooks, Poki sticks, all moving and dancing like insane, or perhaps near dead entities from another world. There was little conversation, which I was relieved to find because I was given the same chance of figuring out what was going on as the next Nihon-jin in the theatre.
It also reminded me of the pretentious, yet amazing performance art productions I used to visit during my days at Berkeley. Those art majors were some serious freaks, and I saw a performance that was strangely similar of girls dressed in white, slowly dousing themselves in black ink while pretending to be birds. The third image that this play invoked in me was something straight out of Endgame, by Beckett. The story line seemed discontinuous and absurd, yet simultaneously having the audience completely understand this other world they presented.
My last comment will be on the musik. It was awesome. It was a fusion of traditional Japanese musik box ongaku, and electronicky melodies that would be great to listen to on your ipod while riding on the train. It totally made the play. The digressions from playful and melodic to dark and terrifying made me want to join the dead and insane and make my own Butoh play. I liked it.

My journey began on train. I was drinking beer on my ride, so of course, I had to pee several times. The Shinkansen is great in that there are bathrooms, however half of these bathrooms are traditional Japanese squat toilets. It is very difficult to manuever yourself while the train is moving.
Shimada to Tokyo allows one to pass our famous Fuji-san. He was happy to come out and play today, which really just means that the clouds did not hide him, as they usually do.
Once in Tokyo, I had to figure out the horrendously confusing subway system. I hope you can see why it is so confusing, as the signs are in Kanji, and luckily I copied the important Kanjis that I thought I might need. Yay for preparation!!!!
Shinjuku is where I had my first dose of Japan merely 4 months ago. It is one of the centers of Tokyo.
I found this child incredibly adorable. She is showing this chili pepper her book, and really expecting a reaction out of this spice.

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