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!
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.
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 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.