Nemuri Kyoushirou in Fukuoka and the Great Detour

I went to the 4th performance of Nemuri Kyoushirou in Fukuoka at the the Sun Palace.  I got a seat on the right side of the 9th row.  All the seats in the front sections were filled, but the 2nd and 3rd floors were pretty empty, as were the back outer sections of the 1st floor. There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been written about it, save for the Fukuoka-specific gags, none of which GACKT participated in.  T_T

Well, the Rakugo Teller pretended to bleed mentaikou (spicy fish eggs for which Fukuoka is known; originally a Korean dish), and later Nemuri’s friends Kinpachi and that older lady busted out some Niwaka masks (little red masks that come on boxes of senbei).  ^o^ The Rakugo Teller also led the audience in a special chant done in Hakata, just that he changed the words to make it about Nemuri.  I’d seen this chanting and clapping at an enkai once before, but didn’t know it was a Hakata thing.

As for my reactions…I thought the sparkles on the screen representing Nemuri’s sword slashes were kinda weird in a stage play.  But when he fought the real villain and the sparkles turned to a red vs blue beam battle like when Sailor Moon fought Queen Beryl/Luke Skywalker fought Darth Vader/Harry Potter fought Voldemort/etc., I thought it was a bit much.  I thought the sound of Nemuri’s sword gleaming was nicely done, though I probably only thought so because I hated the way the same thing was expressed in Advent Children Complete (the “singing” of the Masamune I mean. Blergh.).  Loved the artsy fartsy New Age music at the intro.  I think the story isn’t terribly original, but that made it easy to follow.

I wish GACKT had had more lines.  I felt like he did very little for being the main character. ^_^;  Though the fight against all the green ninjas was great.  Even so, I did enjoy the play overall.

Now, not that I take stock in it, but the “Lucky DEARS Item” for Librans this month was the Fukuoka performances of this play. But man was I unlucky getting back home!  There was an accident that shut down the Nishitetsu trains and it took me two hours to get home (normaly it takes 20 minutes).  The accident happened just one minute after the train I was on had left from Nishitetsu Tenjin Station.  (Nishitetsu is the private rail company; its Oomuta Line runs nearly parallel to Japan Railways’ Kagoshima Line).  At the second stop, we sit on the track for a while, then an announcement comes that said something about a Limited Express train.  I was on the Express, and while it’s common to let the Local trains sit in the station so that the Limited ones can pass, I’d never seen an Express do that.  But, oh well, I thought.  Two minutes later there’s another announcement and we have to get off the train.  It switches its sign to “out of service” and I’m confused as hell.  Oh well, whatever, I’ll just get on the Local that’s sitting across the platform, I think.  I stand in that train for some 3 minutes before an announcement kicks everybody off of that train as well.  ^_^;

After 30 minutes and two packed trains from Tenjin letting off all their passengers and switching to “out of service,” I got worried and since I don’t understand train terminology for things that don’t happen every day, I couldn’t really understand the announcements.  The station master was busy trying to refund fares and answer questions.  So, I asked another passenger waiting on the platform what was going on.  She said she hadn’t been listening, and asks these older dudes, who explain there was an accident somewhere between where we were and Kasugabaru Station.  They ask me how far I’m going, and as it turns out the woman is going to the same station as I, she proposes we share a cab down to Kasugabaru Station, as the trains going down should be moving from there.

So we get a cab, and the woman tells the driver to take us to “Kasugabaru.” I thought that was strange given that that’s the name of both the city and the station, but thought maybe it was just one of those things that gets understood from context, since surely by then there were tons of people trying to get cabs and the drivers must’ve known something had happened to the trains.  The driver asks, “There was a train accident wasn’t there, so the trains aren’t moving?” The woman doesn’t answer.  He asks again.  Silence.  So I said, “Yes, I think so, but…” thinking the woman just didn’t want to chit chat with the driver.  But then, after 15 minutes of silence, the woman asks the driver if he knew anything about the train accident! Then he asks her where exactly he should be taking us.  The woman answers “Kasugabaru,” the driver is confused, so then I’m confused.  He asks her three more times, slightly rephrasing his question, and all the woman says is “Uhhhh…”

I was like @_@?  Is she actually not Japanese and doesn’t understand?  Is she deaf?  Is she mentally incapacitated some way? The driver seemed worried, so I piped up, saying, “I thought we were going to Kasugabaru Station because maybe the trains are moving from there.”  The woman says “Oh yes!” and the driver is relieved.

@_@??

Unfortunately, the trains weren’t moving from there either.  The station master told us the trains were shut down all the way down to…precisely the station we were trying to get to.  ^_^;  So the woman says to me, “we’re going to have to go to JR.” So, we walk for about 10 minutes to get to JR Kasuga Station.

Now, once there, the woman spoke to me freely, and I noticed that she talked a bit strangely.  I’m used to how Koreans and Chinese speak Japanese, and this was different.  So, I wonder if maybe she just has a slight speech impediment and so avoids talking to Japanese people, but felt comfortable with a foreigner.

When the local train came, it was PACKED.  JR Kyuushuu must’ve made a ton of money that night!

Really, from the station I first got stranded in, I simply could’ve gone back up to Tenjin, gotten on the subway, and gone to JR Hakata Station from there.  But since I didn’t know the nature of the accident, I couldn’t be sure JR would be okay.  Since the woman had seemed confident the trains would be moving from Kasugabaru, I just went along with her.  That said, it probably would’ve taken just as long, as the subway system was probably overwhelmed.

In the end, everything worked out.  I parted ways with my unexpected traveling companion once we reached our station. I got home at 11PM.

That poor taxi driver must still be wondering what the hell was up with those two people who didn’t seem to know where they were going! 😄

This morning (technically, yesterday morning now that it’s nearly 3AM), I told my supervisor about the whole adventure, and she told me she’d seen on the news that a car had been on a railroad crossing in the path of the Limited Express, but she didn’t know whether it was that the car had stalled, or the person had stopped on purpose.  If it was on purpose, the guy accomplished his goal.  Perhaps jacking up the trains was a final “F.U.!” to the world.  ^_^;

Also this morning, the teacher who thinks it’s infinitely hilarious that I’m a GACKT fan engaged me in this conversation:

Teacher: So how was the play?

Me: Oh, it was good! I could understand the main points of the story and enjoyed seeing GACKT.

Teacher: I was talking about you to 3-1 yesterday.

Me: Oh?

Teacher: I told them you were a miihaa.

Me: *Thinking of the Spanish word* Mija?

Teacher: Miihaa.  Do you know this word?

Me: No.

Teacher: *Laughing* Look it up in the dictionary.  *Laughing*

Me: Okay. … “Lowbrow”!?!

Teacher: ミーハー! *Runs off laughing*

Me: @_@????

So, my Mac’s dictionary tells me it means “lowbrow.”  Rikaichan says “poser,” as does Jim Breen’s.  Eijirou says “groupie, fangirl/boy.”  The Japanese Wikipedia says “someone who follows trends and is easily influenced.”  These are all different in significant ways, and I’m not sure which to believe.  I was pretty pissed off about the teacher having this conversation with students behind my back (students I don’t teach at that).  It’s unfortunately true that foreigners are often not taken seriously in Japan, and when you’ve got the teachers doing stuff like that, what message does it send to the students?  Even if the connotation of “miihaa” is not so disparaging as “poser” or “groupie,” it feels like I’m being made fun of, and for what?  What do the students learn from that?  That it’s funny when foreigners are big fans of Japanese artists?  It’s one thing to tease me to my face, but I do not appreciate the kids being involved in it.

*Sigh* Sometimes I feel like I’m not allowed to like anything.  If I mention that I’ve ever seen an anime, I get called an otaku.  If I like GACKT, I get called a miihaa.  What the hell am I allowed to like then?  What is it that people think is “normal?”

No wait, I already know. You’re only allowed to like ARASHI and EXILE.  ^_^;;;

Whatever.

Haha, it seems the Great Detour of this blog post isn’t in reference just to trains.

GACKT’s Real Age Confirmed

I had an unusual amount of time today due to a schedule change, so I translated this article from Mainichi Shinbun about the press conference for the stage adaptation of “Nemuri Kyoushirou Burai Hikae” where it was confirmed that GACKT’s real age is 36 years old.  There are some parts I’m not sure of, those I put in italics. I estimate this translation’s accuracy to be at least ninety percent.

Interestingly, if I understood this correctly, GACKT didn’t mean to carry on with the vampire biography, it was a bit of an accident.  If I did understand that correctly…well, I find it hard to believe. ^o^  Anyway, here’s the link to the original Japanese article, and my translation. (EDIT: After watching this video of the press conference, I can confirm that GACKT said the 1540 birth year was meant as a joke.)

http://mainichi.jp/enta/mantan/entama/graph/20091105_2/?link_id=REH05

~~~~Translation:

At a press conference on the fifth [of November] at SHIBUYA A-AX in Tokyo’s Shibuya district for the stage production of “Nemuri Kyoushirou Burai Hikae”, based on author Shibata Renzaburou’s swordsman novel from which came the master swordsman hero “Nemuri Kyoushirou” who will be played by GACKT, it was also announced that GACKT, whose age up till now had not been released to the public, will turn 37 years old next year.

The late Ichikawa Raizou, who had formerly played Nemuri Kyoushirou, died suddenly when he was thirty-seven.  When it was revealed in a video at the beginning of the press conference that next year GACKT would turn the same age Ichikawa had been at his death, there arose an anxious stir from all the fans in the hall. GACKT smiled wryly as he said, “It’s not that I didn’t release [my age], it just so happened that at a live show the MC said ‘[GACKT] was born in 1540’, and suddenly that ended up spreading all over the world. For the sake of appearances, it wouldn’t do to change from ‘age unknown.'”

“Nemuri Kyoushirou” is the protagonist of “Nemuri Kyoushirou Burai Hikae,” a period novel that began serialization in 1956 in “Weekly Shinchou.” The 1963 movie version with Ichikawa in the lead role as the nihilist swordsman hero with mastery over the 無双円月殺法 {Peerless Full Moon Killing Technique???} was a big hit.

Asides from this stage production, GACKT plans to act as and give expression to Nemuri Kyoushirou in various media for his “NEMURI x GACKT PROJECT.” The stage production, which is the first part of the project, will begin next year on May 14th at the Tokyo Nissei Theater. There are plans for performances all over the country.  The draft and script will be handled by scriptwriter Koyama Kundo, who wrote the script for the movie “Okuribito” [English title: “Departures”].

“I’m grateful that I came across this character,” GACKT said.  “I read the original work. Because Nemuri Kyoushirou is a Half [half-Japanese] who tries to mimic the Japanese, he is full of nihilism and dandyism…I thought, this book is for me.” GACKT told the crowd that to prepare for his first leading stage role, he wanted to drop 5 kilograms [11 pounds] in addition to the 5 kilograms he’d already lost from this past summer’s tour.  “I want to play a swordsman [who is] like steel…you could get hurt just by touching him.” Showing such extraordinary desire, GACKT sent his fans the message, “Please look forward to the Nemuri Kyoushirou played by a GACKT who is completely different from the one you’ve known.”

–By 栗原拓郎 [There’s more than one possible pronunciation for this name, and without hiragana I don’t know which one it is.  All I can tell you is the author is a dude.]

November 5, 2009

~~~~

GACKT, GACKT, GACKT…will you not be satisfied until your body can double as a medical student’s anatomy chart?  Are you trying to be able to see your liver, kidneys, lungs, and other internal organs? *Sigh*

In case it’s unclear, the actor who portrayed Nemuri in the 1960’s died back in 1969.  When I reread the sentence I realized it could be taken as “he suddenly died recently.”

Oh yeah, I didn’t translate “Burai Hikae” at all because I’m not sure how to take it and the English releases of Nemuri Kyoushirou movies have titles that are renamings (that is to say, not simple translations).  “Burai” means “villain” or “thug,” “hikae” means “restraint” or can be used in the sense of “chronicles” or “memoirs” in other compounds.  But I’m not sure it can be taken as “Villain Chronicles” or something like that.  Maybe I’d know if I’d heard of this series before, but oh well.

Honestly, if I’ve understood what I’ve read about this Nemuri Kyoushirou character, I can’t say I want to see GACKT playing him.  To say nothing of the rhetoric about what it “means” to be Japanese.  But maybe I should hold judgement until I’ve seen more Japanese sources about it.