Saturday, November 11, 2017

ガマン (Gaman)

Japan has a long history of the performing arts, so musical and theatrical performances are not particularly hard to come by. Seeing them in English? Now that's a different story, whether professional or not. Fortunately, it can be done if you look for it and are patient. Today, that patience really paid off.

Tonight, we had the opportunity to see a filmed recording of the Broadway musical "Allegiance", which stars George Takei and Lea Salonga, among others, which tells the story of a family sent to a Japanese internment camp during World War II.  It's run on Broadway had been short, and wanting to reach audiences across North America, they filmed it and showed it in movie theaters around the U.S. and Canada. This week, at a few theaters in Tokyo, they are showing the same recording with Japanese subtitles, to reach George Takei's (and musical's characters') ancestral home. The musical is still in English, but with Japanese subtitles.

We went to the show with the same friends I do the high school musicals with, and with whom we have now established a tradition of attending professional theater in Tokyo together. This time, I figured out how to buy and pick up our tickets (a bit of an adventure in and of itself). I knew that it would feature some recorded welcome and introduction from George Takei and that he would be present at the premiere showing earlier in the week. So, even when we walked into the theater and some chairs set up on the stage, we did not expect to see George Takei in the room.
George Takei! (And some other nice people.)

Clearly, we were wrong. For about 30 minutes, they had a pre-show chat with George Takei, a producer from the show, and an actress who may be starring in an upcoming L.A. production (?). It was really interesting to hear about the birth of the show and some of their favorite parts. The moderator spoke the fastest Japanese I've ever heard, but also had perfect English and switched between the two flawlessly. It was fascinating. George Takei spoke a little Japanese, but gave most of his remarks in English.

The show itself was beautiful and touching. It wasn't perfect, maybe even a bit formulaic in places, but still really thought-provoking and well-executed. I would absolutely recommend it, even if all you can do is listen to a cast recording.
Blake, me, Summer, Ben

After the show, we went to dinner at place called Eggs N' Things, a restaurant chain born in Hawaii that has since come to Japan. Our friends, despite living here for seven years and counting, have never been. It's not the first time I've introduced at least one of them to something, nor will it be the last, which is amusing to me. One interesting thing is that each location has its own menu or specialty item, which is what I ordered tonight. It was too pretty not to!
Night Sky pancakes - strawberry pancakes, topped with bananas, strawberries, and a mountain of whipped cream, with a side of chocolate sauce and sprinkles.

Tonight was more than I expected, and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to watch even filmed professional theater, hear from some of the creatives involved (George Takei!), and spend time with wonderful friends.
This photo looks like we're in front a backdrop or green screen, but I promise we are not!



Heidi said...

Also, your dress is really pretty. :)

Giggles said...


Also, more things need sprinkles.

AmandaStretch said...

Heidi - thank you!

Giggles - I agree with this.