“change shapes just to hide in this place”

11/2/11   –   19:31

I’m going to have to cram two big things into this entry, but it’s a good thing they share a common thread. COSTUMES!

The first topic is our pop culture class field trip to see the Takarazuka revue. The second is a photographic representation of Halloween festivities at our very own 関西外国語大学. And off we go!

~ Part 1: [Lady] looks like a [dude] ~

For those of you unaware of what the Takarazuka revue is, it’s excusable. They’re not very popular outside the nation of Japan but they have an immense following with middle-aged housewives here. In fact, I can probably say that over 95% of their fans are female. Takarazuka prides itself on a few keywords: “elegance” “refinement” and “glamour” come to mind.

“Well yeah, but what the hell is it?”

It’s an all-female musical theatre troupe whose most famous members are those that play male roles. They spend years in training learning how to walk like guys and sing in the strangest sounding baritone you’ll probably ever encounter. Despite being “guys”, they all wear make-up, sometimes donning more eyeshadow than their female counterparts on stage. The shows usually consist of two sections. The first part is like a regular play punctuated by musical numbers. The second part is the revue which is just non-stop dancing and singing for about 30 or 45 minutes.

Oh, Troy and I split a beer before the show. It came in a fancy Takarazuka beer glass too! I’ve seen it done so many times on television but I finally wanted to try watching a theatrical production while inebriated. Admittedly, being buzzed for the first act definitely made it approximately 3.5 times more entertaining.

The production we went to see was called “Classico Italiano” and was about some suit-maker in Italy falling in love with a country girl from his hometown and how he finds happiness or something sappy like that. In Troy’s words, “They lost my attention after the disco-ball stopped spinning in the beginning.” Like he said, the play was being all play-like [URGH GAWD!! >:I] and consisted of lots of dialogue, most of which was too fast for me to understand. We both faded in and out, waking up for the flashy musical numbers.

The revue was intensely more exciting. Using all the creativity that Takarazuka had, they came up with the title “NICE GUY!!” [with not one, but two exclamation points.] The revue opened with the theme that would recur throughout the review replete with a catchy tune and the most thoughtful lyrics I have ever heard. No, for real. Here’s the chorus more or less:




It was sensory overload at its finest from beginning to end. If the disco-ball wasn’t enough, every costume was lined with sequins shimmering into your eyes the whole time, coupled with the flashing lights on the stage. There didn’t seem to be a plot, but I could discern a few things that happened:

– A man auction in which men from around the world were sold to ladies of the French court. Items included Mr. Japan [in Hakama], Mr. Spain [in bull-fighting attire], Mr. Africa [with spear], and Mr. Western [with leather chaps and some sort of whip that he used to slap everyone].

– A segment that I could only describe as “Arabian glitter hell.” Let your imagination run wild. I’m sure it’ll be close to what actually occurred.

– A man falling in love with a lady at a bar which was simultaneously a runway and a set of stairs.

– A riveting scat-filled rendition of “Ih dun mee a theen ifeh ay gudda soo-wee,” more popularly known in the west as “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing.” [doo-wah doo-wah doo-wah doo-wah…] Upon hearing the mish-mash of an attempt at English, I turned to Troy and asked him if he’d ever played the Sims. The lady sounded exactly like she was speaking Simlish. Apparently they were taking tracks from SimRadio 20’s edition.

I’ll post a youtube video so you can maybe see what I’m trying to express. [Photography was prohibited during the performance -_-;;] Host-mom had gone to see Takarazuka once and said that although it was certainly an experience, overall it was very 気持ち悪い [kimochiwarui] (adj.) – creepy. In the end, I’d have to say the same.

~ Part 2: A Very Gaidai Halloween ~

This Monday was Halloween and as much as other places in Japan like to take western holidays and celebrate them for no reason ::cough:: CHRISTMAS ::cough:: VALENTINE’S DAY ::cough:: they don’t seem to have gotten on the bandwagon with Halloween.

Unless you’re at Kansai Gaidai.

I feel like the exchange student population has just always been so into the idea of dressing up and upholding Halloween tradition that they don’t even care that they’re making themselves stand out even more in their surroundings. Luckily, this spirit of not caring and willingly making a fool of yourself has also rubbed off on the Japanese students at Gaidai meaning a large number of both exchange students AND Gaidai students were in awesome costumes the whole day. This included my Written Japanese teacher who came in a monkey suit and gave out candy. She also said that she was going to go out drinking after class in the きぐるみ [full body suit – generally animal shaped] I love Tajima-sensei.

Personally, I got to school and upon seeing that Halloween actually WAS going to be celebrated this year, I was then reminded that I packed the Finn the Human cap [from Adventure Time] that Marisa made me. So, with the 3 hours between classes that I had, I ran home and got my Finn cap. Seeing as I didn’t also pack a green backpack, blue denim shorts, a blue shirt, or a sword, I settled for being classy-ass Finn the Human. I think it turned out well.

Here’s some other people that I ran into:

The original Pokemon crew, Totoro, and Howl.

Motofumi as a high school girl [he is too pretty] And Jessie from Toy Story :3

Cassie in her maid goth loli [?] costume and a Pikachu :o

The people on the left were black for Halloween. Imagine that. Haha. And then we have the Scooby Doo Crew on the right. Very well done, I thought.

And here is Bill as a maid. He plays the part too well, lol. Also, Sophie [I think]

It culminated in a costume contest at the end and that was spectacular.

But what was even more spectacular was the 飲み会 [drinking party] that Ji-Young organized for all the level 6 students. :P We would be going to an all-you-can-drink place and then karaoke. Needless to say I got super 酔いつぶれた [wasted] as the following pictures will attest to. There were lots of Korean drinking games and  happy fun times messing around with Miina. At which point Miina taught me another Norwegian word: luremus (n.) – a tease. Haw haw haw. Intensely fun night. I made my way home by myself though and apparently was lucid enough to buy a McFlurry [because I friggin’ wanted to] from the Korien Station McDonalds. Host-mom and host-sister were home to see me stumble in and they just laughed at me. I love my host family. And my friends. And Japan.

Oh, and I love this to no end too. As anyone who listened to my drunken ramblings could tell you…

パンダマン大好きやで x_x


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