Japanese audiences and sightseeing in Tokyo
31.08.2011 32 °C
Since my last blog entry, we have successfully performed both 'Oliver' and 'The Weasel in the Sack' shows to Japanese audiences in Tokyo, and they both went down extremely well. Getting to the venues however, was another kettle of fish altogether!
We have two sat navs, a Japanese sat nav which is built into the car, and an American sat nav which was bought specifically for us, so we could understand the instructions. The American one is extremely loud with the most wildly annoying accent. She argues and contradicts the Japanese sat nav constantly, and we ended up in Tokyo, in gridlock traffic, lost, late, hot and sweaty...just in time for our first show After this we decided that we're just gonna risk it and only use the Japanese one. For safety and sanity.
The audiences here seem very different to Italian/German/English children; they are so, so quiet, as nobody really wants to react to anything...they only clap and cheer when they can sense that everybody will follow, so at times it has felt like it was falling a little flat. We have been assured that this is not the case, and that they love it, they just don't get into the whole 'pantomime' thing. The feedback so far has been very positive, and some things we have altered slightly to fit the crowd...but nevertheless, our boss went back to Germany very pleased with us all The children here are also exceptionally cute...they seem to be half the size of Western children, and because they are so shy and respectful, when they speak English or Engrish as they say, it is super, super cute! this is them singing Patter Cake to us before our show...
I had two days off exploring Tokyo, which was absolutely fascinating too. I visited Harajuku, Shabuya (the busiest crossing in Japan), Akhiabara (nerd district) and Asakusa - the home of the Buddhist temple, Senso Ji. But the ultimate highlight was the tokyo tower, its bigger than the Eiffel tower and had an Hofbrau bier keller at the bottom of the tower..amazing! The views from the top were breathtaking.
I must admit, I am still getting used to being such an obvious tourist! I blended in quite well in Germany and in Italy nobody is really too interested...but here, people stare at me a lot, as I tower above most the petite women (and quite a lot of men) and my hair makes me stand out like a light bulb! On a positive note, my work mates have had no problems spotting me in a crowd, and also, people seem quite keen to talk to us and help us.
Any time we took out a map or looked slightly confused, someone would walk over and ask us if we needed help. This was really surprising, as you don’t expect many people in such a busy capitol city to have time for tourists! But we had locals taking us to our bus stops, people taking us to their places of work to print out maps for us, people recommending food to eat, places to see, useful Japanese phrases to learn...it was quite heart warming. I couldn't imagine people in London doing the same!! The people here really do bend over backwards for each other, and I think they are excited to see that tourists still want to come here despite the problems earlier this year. I have barely seen any other tourists at all in Tokyo, and I can only assume it is through fear from the March earthquake and subsequent nuclear reactor disaster.
We go out officially on tour this week, first stop is Matsumoto in the west coast of Japan, in the Nagano prefecture. After that we will be coming back to Tokyo for a few days before we head out again. Hopefully the sat nav will see us through