Kabuki Show in Tokyo, Japan: Boring!

Kabuki Show in Tokyo, Japan: Boring!

On a bright Saturday morning, I made my way towards Ginza for the Kabuki theater in Tokyo.  I haven’t seen a kabuki show before nor have I researched what that type of show was about.  Surprise me!

Getting Tickets

Typically you have to buy tickets in advance or hope for standby tickets at the last minute.  I had hope.  They had tickets for the show starting at 11am but it was for the standing section.  The show was 90 minutes and I didn’t want to wait a few hours for the next show in hopes for a seat.  With a heart full of determination, I purchased a ticket 1500JPY and proceeded to the standing section.

I commonly get treated as a local when I’m in Japan or China.  People will talk to me assuming I know what they’re saying.  I normally think it’s not that important so I respond by nodding politely then continuing whatever the hell I was going to do with no regard of what the person just told me.  That’s just how I roll.

Getting Seated

After being told a long set of instructions in Japanese before entering the theatre, I finally arrive at the standing area. It was situated at the very top of the theatre.  You could actually not get a worse place to watch the show.  It was so high up I thought I was actually going to get a nosebleed.  The stage performers sometimes didn’t move around too much when speaking that I couldn’t tell who was talking.  It was too far for me to tell if someone was moving their mouth.

I’ve watched a lot of anime and Japanese films with the original Japanese audio so my listening skills are pretty good to get a feel of what’s happening in the story.  Those listening skills were useless here.  Since the Kabuki play took place centuries ago, I didn’t understand the speaking styles (Masumi had trouble with it too).  On top of that, they were talking the Kabuki way.  I can only describe it as speaking your entire dialog but imagine getting punched in the stomach throughout your lines.  Their voices fluctuated in loudness and pitch.  I guess that’s Kabuki style.

The Show

The show was 90 minutes! The only thing that kept me amused was the ushers escorting customers to their seats. Imagine a ninja walking quickly and low to the ground to avoid being noticed…now replace that with an usher.  Now imagine the usher doing that and then a group of customers doing that too right behind them. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and the most inappropriate times.

For the actual show, I was expecting some action since the performers were equipped with swords, bows and arrows.  No action.  A lot of expectations that I created in my head were not met.  It’s like that episode of Itchy & Scratchy driving towards the fireworks factory but they never get there.

After the show ended, I made my way out the door with the crowd of people.  There was a table at the exit with a display in English saying to return your digital translators here.  What the hell!? Alright, that’s my bad for not asking for one.  I would have definitely enjoyed the show more if I knew what was going on.


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