MOON SAGA Week in Fukuoka

This is over a week late, but I’ve been crazy busy. During all the mayhem, I was able to squeeze in one showing of MOON SAGA~Yoshitsune Hiden~ and one visit to the GACKT X KIMONO Project exhibit.

I went to the kimono exhibit on Tuesday the 14th with two friends. Admittedly, I only went to get the free “GACKT produced” tenugui advertised on the site. So I made a reservation and anxiously awaited the invitation as the day drew near.

If it weren’t for the Nemuri crest I’d think this envelope was from the Liar Game Office.

We get to the exhibition venue and not a soul was to be seen. This was Obon week, but it was still surprising considering the hustle & bustle just one block away. Our invitation was for 7PM, but we were a few minutes early. The friendly staff welcomed us, showed us around, and told us about the kimono. Two kimono that GACKT actually wore during Nemuri Kyoushirou were on display, and one staffer informed us that “at first, it smelled very strongly of Platinum Egoist.” >o<;

Perhaps the staff sensed that we weren’t gonna buy anything, as they just kept on emphasizing how expensive the kimono were. The older gentleman did say once or twice that the yukata were much more affordable, but still, no hard selling going on. Which is a shame for them as salespeople; despite my nearly complete lack of interest in wearing kimono or yukata it probably wouldn’t have taken much swaying for me to get the hot pink & black yukata with the Nemuri crest just for the hell of it. ^_^; It’s one of those “I’m in Japan, might as well” things.

The other piece that had me seriously considering parting with my hard-earned dough was the black and white kimono with the DEARS logo on it. I would never wear it, it was too beautiful for that! I think it may be the “secret model” the Kimono Project site was talking about; at least I haven’t seen it in any of the photos on the site of the various lines.

Shining just as brightly as the kimono were the huge posters of GACKT. When we jokingly asked how much for the posters, we were told, “we can’t sell them.” But when I squealed at one of them the older gentleman said, “100,000 yen.” I said, “I’ll pay! Give me time!!” 😄

Anyway, despite our invitation saying that the showing was from 7 PM, at a little past seven the staff said to us, “We have the venue until seven, so…” With that they collected our invitations and the gentleman brought over the tenugui. Only what we saw in his hands wasn’t the tenugui my friends and I were expecting.

Perhaps the feeling that we were being given leftovers was what made getting this disappointing. Can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but…not as advertised!

We left the exhibit feeling a bit confused, but oh well. Only two more days till seeing GACKT live again!

My ticket for MOON SAGA was for the final Fukuoka show on the 16th. The difficult thing about this was that I had a business trip to Nagasaki that same day. x_X

Well, saying “business trip,” the common translation for 出張, sure conjures up a different image than what it actually was, but that’s what it’s called when one goes somewhere other than their usual workplace on some work-related thing.

The thing that had been keeping me crazy busy was planning for the first ever overnight English camp put on by Fukuoka Prefecture, taking place in none other than the Dutch-themed park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebou, Nagasaki Prefecture. It was decided that all ALTs involved in this camp should go to the park for a preview (good) on the 16th (yikes!).

It’s been a while since I’ve cut something that close!

We left the park an hour and a half behind schedule. Doors for the play opened at 5:45, but we were still on the bus some 17 kilometers from the city at that time. I was getting really anxious, and texted the friend who would also go to that performance to pick up one of each of the clear files for me just in case.  Once we finally got into the city I started checking subway times on my phone. The next 25 minutes of well-orchestrated timing and running, I must say, I’m rather proud of. >o<;

18:00 Check subway on phone, aim for the 18:07 subway
18:03 Our chartered bus pulls up to Hakata Station, our group leader just says “Go, go!” to me and I dash off forgetting to even say “otsukare” to the team.
18:07 Catch the subway
18:13 Arrive in Tenjin Station. I stay underground for a bit but since I’m not too familiar with the underground I go up once I see a sign for the Fukuoka Building. When I get on the top streets and cross Showa-doori, I notice another person running. I wonder, “Are they going to the play too?!” but then it hits me: the lights on these two blocks must turn green at the same time. So I dash off after this guy and just barely make it across the next light. I keep running!
18:23 Arrive at the Fukuoka Shimin Kaikan (normally a 15-20 minute walk from Tenjin Station, depending on pace)
18:25 Am seated in my 16th row seat sweating profusely but with time to spare before the curtains rise!

After all that, the play initially did not disappoint. It was funny, GACKT was adorable, and there was pandering to the local audience by the truckload! One of my minor “complaints” about Nemuri last year (or whenever that was) was that GACKT did not participate in what little Fukuoka gags there were, but this time, the whole cast busted out niwaka masks while saying 「ごめーん!」during…I don’t even remember what scene it was. I was just geeked to see the masks. Later in the show, Benkei’s actor went down the left side of the audience handing out these autographed masks, saving the one signed by GACKT for a girl near the front.

About midway through, however, I started to wonder, “what is the point of this?” It probably didn’t help that I needed to use the bathroom and was waiting anxiously for an intermission that never came. Anyway, I had done very little reading up on the play, so other than the characters I didn’t know much what the story would be about. The sets were interesting, the costumes were cool for the most part (not impressed by the bootleg Jack Sparrow look on Yoshinaka ^_^;), the music was fitting, and the dancers did a great job. And Kage’s fight scene! WOW.

But still, as a story, I was left unsatisfied by this arc of the MOON SAGA. It felt anticlimactic. I know it’s part of a larger work, but the play should still be strong by itself, but that last fight scene left me thinking “…that’s it?” The use of wire work as cool and all, but…that’s it? I think I would feel like this play didn’t have a proper ending even if it weren’t for the Swarm of Green Ninjas scene from Nemuri Kyoushirou to compare it to.

The play ended, but then the cast did a slightly changed version of an earlier scene as an encore. (I assume it was an encore, as most of the audience seemed surprised by the cast reappearing on stage ready for that scene.) I can’t remember now if the credits rolled before or after this. In any case, as it was the last Fukuoka showing, I wanted to stick around and see if GACKT would peek out, but since I hadn’t bought any goods and didn’t want to end up in a long line (I had a seat close to an exit), nor did I want to make my friend wait, I busted out with the other patrons and went to get some goods.

I see Kage and think of Sephiroth, but my friend, a CLAMP fan, thought of one of their other characters.

It would be nice if shows were added at venues on Kyushu, then I’d like to see this play again and see if maybe the latter half doesn’t leave me so “meh” after having seen it once already. As it is, I was happy for the chance to see GACKT again for the first time in 10 months, and enjoyed the overall artistry of the play. Story-wise…I’m gonna have to wait and see what else the MOON SAGA has in store.

[This post has also been posted to my JET Blog Lucky Hill.]