Sunday, 7 October 2012

All Work and No Play

October 6, 2012 it was time to do some work on the garage roof. The metal covering has been in place for 30 years and is too corroded to even consider painting. So Okano-san has been doing some shopping at 'Joyfull Honda' (no not a car dealership) a do it yourself place including a pet store. The two of us spent a couple of hours on the roof in temperatures near 30°C nailing wooden slats overtop of the old roof to affix another metal roof. A bucket of perspiration later it was near lunch time and definitely time for liquids including "sudachi" (lime like) lemonade.
After lunch I relaxed and later had a much needed shower. Just before 5pm the Toyota Aqua backed out of the garage and 4 of us were off to join Kenji-san and his sister Etsuko-san to watch a performance of "Noh", a very traditional form of Japanese live drama performed for the gods. We rural folks need some culture as well. Normally it would have been performed outside at the sponsoring "jinja" or Shinto shrine with only a cauldron filled with burning wood for lighting, but due to the danger of rain it had been moved to a large community centre with theatre like seating for nearly 500 people and it was full. Of course photography was not allowed.
The first performance of two was a comedy. Two servants are left in charge when the master leaves for a while and are instructed not to touch a container filled with "busu" a poison. Of course curiosity wins out and the two discover a delicious sweet treat and soon there is none left. Now how do we explain this to the master. Easy! Lets break his precious vase and then tell the master we felt so bad we tried to poison ourselves with the "busu", but it did not work. The clothing worn by the actors is very ornate and the speech is not modern Japanese.
The second play is the story of a famous hero, Yoshitsune and number one man, Benkei. Yoshitsune has fallen out of favour with his half brother after the Genji tribe have annihilated the Heike tribe and is escaping hoping to reconcile later. Benkei convinces Yoshitsune that since they are fleeing that it would be best if his lady Shizuka would be sent back. After a long sorrowful farewell, the fleeing party embarks on a boat, only to encounter a ghost of the general of the Heike tribe. It was fascinating watching the boatman who single handedly conveyed the impression of the group being in a boat with the mere outline of a boat on the stage floor as a prop. Yoshitsune attempts to overpower the ghost by physical means, but to no avail. Benkei, being a priest, intervenes and uses his priestly powers to send the ghost back to the ocean depths.
It was a magnificent spectacle. The 'orchestra' consisting of a few assorted drums and a bamboo flute as well as a group of singers elegantly completed the overall ambience of the presentation. Yoshitsune's part was played by a young boy of possibly ten years of age. Shizuka's part was ironically played by an old man probably more than four times the size of Yoshitsune. It was quite interesting to watch the actors on stage as well as watching the sidelines where sitting quietly was taking its toll on the ability to cope of some of the actors.
After the six of us got in two vehicles and off we drove to Edosaki to spend some time chatting and eating in a restaurant.

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