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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Ginza

Friday, April 03, 2015

Ginza (Tokyo), Japan - 2015

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 03/04/2015 14:28:02

I've never been much of a drama fan. Most dramatic performances confuse or bore me, and those precious ones that don't are few and far between. After watching Spirited Away and reading the wikipedia article it mentions that No-Face is wearing a kabuki mask. He was actually wearing a mask more similar to those used in Noh theatre (wikipedia has since been corrected) - but it was enough to get me researching various Japanese theatre styles. After a few hours of this (Wikipedia is a fickle mistress, ever devouring time) I decided we should at least try to catch each of the big three styles: kabuki, noh and bunraku.

Kabuki was first, as we were staying not too far away from the Kabuki-za theatre and they offer single-act tickets (of a six act play) that go for around an hour or so. We were probably going to arrive early enough for act 4 - but decided to try for act 5 in-case it was busy. Turns out it was very busy indeed as once we finished taking photos of the theatre we joined queue with close to 100 people in it. The queue was numbered, and we were 91 and 92 - the first 90 people were allowed to sit while watching the show. Cursing our poor fortune we spent the next hour standing in the queue so that we could spend another hour standing to watch a play in Japanese.

Looks pretty impressive - but like everything else the Kabuki-za has been rebuilt after disaster. Not like everything else however - is that is was rebuilt four times

Once the play started we were standing up behind a guy that had a video monitor providing English translations for the narration and character's lines. We both agreed that it was fortunate that we were forced to stand, because otherwise we would have had no idea what was being said - making the play impossible to follow (was hard enough with the translations). I quite enjoyed it, but was surprised at how hammy or over the top the acting was - especially by the men that were playing the role of women. It actually made the play more consumable and enjoyable for me - but I had figured it would all be very serious. Towards the end the story became much more dramatic and I started to understand how the traditions of kabuki have persisted for so long - it was a very enjoyable hour.

No Rush
We were not allowed to take any photos in the theatre (most places had signs preventing photography) so instead allow me to share another example of Japan's numerous rules

We also headed down to Chuo Dori while in Ginza, an expansive shopping strip that is closed to car traffic from midday on Sundays. Plenty of high-end retailers lined the streets but we only really spent time in the Sony building checking out all the neat audio and video devices. For lunch we were told that the basement level of the department stores could provide us with tasty meals and that was certainly the case. The sushi and sushimi I devoured was better than any I had eaten before - simply melting in my mouth.

The first of the limited edition anniversary edition PS4 in the classic PS1 colours - found in the Ginza Sony building

We were able to watch the sushi chef prepare our meal - and I could not fault him (nor the wasabi he was using)

Dark Watch
Watches are certainly not cheap in Japan - imagine how much a whole watch building would cost!

This is the 4th in the Super Fun Chronological Japan Travel Catalogue series
GET 1 - Nikko, Japan - 2015GET 2 - Ueno (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 3 - Akihabara (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 4 - Ginza (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 5 - Asakusa (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 6 - Shinjuku (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 7 - Harajuku (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 8 - Shibuya (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 9 - Odaiba (Tokyo), Japan - 2015GET 10 - Kawaguchiko (Five Lakes), Japan - 2015GET 11 - Yokohama, Japan - 2015GET 12 - Kamakura, Japan - 2015GET 13 - Osaka, Japan - 2015GET 14 - Kobe, Japan - 2015GET 15 - Hiroshima, Japan - 2015GET 16 - Himeji & Nara, Japan - 2015GET 17 - Kyoto, Japan - 2015GET 18 - Iga, Japan - 2015GET 19 - Nagoya, Japan - 2015GET 20 - Takayama & Gero, Japan - 2015GET 21 - Sakura & Bonus Wrap-up, Japan - 2015
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