You could say that my mission to ‘revive’ my blog is sort of a New Year’s Resolution, as well as an “oh crap It’s been two years since my exchange already and I really need to get my arse into gear” resolution. So, seeing as such resolutions are notoriously hard to uphold, lets prove that theory wrong and get onto it!
I have something around 30 (yes thirty) things to talk about to fill in the second half of my exchange, so how is this going to work? From now until my exchange is ‘finished’ each post will include three short topics in order to get through things.
This post will be talking about these three things:
- The day I went to Takarazuka (27th July 2013)
- The day I went to Kasai Rinkai Koen (30th July 2013)
- The day I went to Shinokubo (1st August 2013)
On another note: until I’ve caught up with the end of my exchange, each post is going to show the date of the last of the three events rather than the day it was actually posted. As you can see, this post is dated the 1st of August. This is so it can fit into the time-line of my exchange under the ‘archives’ drop down on the right –> (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile) ^w^
What is Takarazuka? You’re probably wondering.
The Takarazuka Revue (宝塚歌劇団 Takarazuka Kagekidan) is a Japanese all-female musical theatre troupe based in Takarazuka, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. Women play all roles in lavish, Broadway-style productions of Western-style musicals, and sometimes stories adapted from shōjo manga and Japanese folktales. The company is a division of the Hankyu Railway company; all members of the troupe are employed by the company.
– Wikipedia – “Takarazuka Revue”
The Takarazuka Revue consists of five troupes; the Flower (hana), Moon (tsuki), Snow (yuki), Star (hoshi) and Cosmos (sora) troupes. Although all roles are played by women, each actress is either an ‘otokoyaku’ (male role) or ‘musumeyaku’ (daughter/female role). Each troupe has two ‘top stars’; an otokoyaku and a musumeyaku who play the lead roles in the productions put on by that troupe.
On the 27th of July 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to go to a Takarazuka performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Tokyo Grand Theatre with Oonishi san (my liaison person).
This particular performance was by the Star Troupe, whose top otokoyaku is Leon Yuzuki and top musumeyaku is Nene Yumesaki.
Leon Yuzuki; Romeo (left), Nene Yumesaki; Juliet (right)
The performance was absolutely incredible, to say the least. You have to be a prolific dancer and singer to be in Takarazuka, so the choreography and music was out of this world. There was also an interesting twist to the story in this performance; ‘Love’ and ‘Death’ were personified and played a significant role in the musical, showing how the two concepts are intertwined in the plot, and especially the climax, of Romeo and Juliet.
Kasai Rinkai Koen (30.07.13)
On this particular Tuesday of my Summer Vacation I went to a place called Kasai Rinkai Koen (park) with my Japanese tutor, Kasai sensei! How much of a coincidence is that? The main purpose of our visit was to see the aquarium. There was this one room that was kind of like a lecture hall with seats slanting up to the back, but instead of projectors at the front there was a giant wall of glass through which you could see all these fish.
We also saw a penguin feeding, had a delicious lunch ourselves, and then I bought a Turtle plushy that I named Kame-Kun (Mr. Turtle).
To finish off the day, we (to quote my diary) “took this slow ass train” on a tour of the whole park, to the seaside, and eventually came to the tallest ferris wheel in Japan. It’s called the “Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel” and is a total of 117 metres tall, with 64 carriages and takes 17 minutes to go all the way around. From the top you can see the whole of Tokyo and all the way to Mount Fuji.
Shinokubo is the ‘Korea Town’ of Tokyo. It’s jam-packed full of Kpop merchandise shops and Korean restaurants. I went there on a day trip with two of my school friends, Anri and Kaoru, who are also Kpop fans.
We spent the morning and the afternoon perusing the stores, fangirling over this and that (mostly Tohoshinki – better known as TVXQ – things) and buying all that we could afford/carry. Around noon we met a German girl who was staying in hostels as she travelled around Japan. She joined us for lunch at a restaurant, where we ate spicy Korean soup that came with yummy side dishes.
We parted ways eventually, arms full of CD Cases and printed towels and bracelets and badges and who-knows-what else. Little did I know at the time, however, that my Korean experience in Japan was only beginning…Keep an eye out for recounts of the two Kpop concerts I managed to nab tickets to, and my 3 day trip to Seoul! (Was that a bit cliché?)
Next Post’s topic!
- AFS Summer Camp; August 5th – 8th 2013
See ya next time! ^w^