Saturday, 25 December 2010

Culture Day in Tokyo - Kabuki theatre and the Hard Rock Cafe

 Christmas Eve and we've a day of Culture booked by way of a Kabuki performance; an art form of acting where masked faces give emotion by way of voice intonation, and very little, slow movement is made. 


Slight blip on the metro this morning - found ourselves in the 'Women Only' carriage - OK for me, but not so for Col; realising our error, we apologised profusely and moved up a carriage asap before Col got himself arrested! Maybe there is an element of truth in the Tour Guide book rumours of perversion during rush hour?

Off we went to the National Noh Theatre to collect our tickets, waited around until 30 mins to spare, then found out at the information office we were actually at the wrong theatre.... PANIC......  £50.00/ticket and we're about to miss it!!  Dived into the first taxi we could flag down and zoomed off to the other side of town to the National Theatre Japan - 5 mins to spare before the performace started - phew.....  Honestly, how were we to know that the Kabuki performance wouldn't be held at the Kabuki Theatre?

Above:  picture of a typical Kabuki character - one of the scary, meaner ones!  

Below:  a photo of the National Noh Theatre - which we should not have been waiting at!!!  P.S.  If you look closely, you may spot a rare sighting of Col in a photo...

You're not allowed to take photos inside the Theatre once performing has started; a shame, because the costumes were really fantastic, and the face make-up for the masked appearance was incredible.  It should also be noted that the performers do not line up and take a bow at the end - I was hoping this would be my opportunity for a costumed photo, but it didn't happen.  Below is the stage area.

It has to be said, the show was absolutely amazing, and certainly an experience not to be missed.  The storyline is one of loyalty, disloyalty, love and sacrifice'.  The fight scene was particularly interesting - I've never witnessed such an inactive fight, where the samurai waved his hand (almost) to knock over the marauding enemy (who were fighting with bunches of flowers)..... and went on for 5 hours!!!!!  This was after they skipped Acts 1 and 2 at the beginning, just giving an introductory write-up in the theatre guide, started at Act 3, summarised Acts 5 and 6 by way of a story-teller, then again skipped Acts 8, 9 and 10 before going to the final Act 11.  Also, each Act contained a number of different scenes and background changes.  They perform different schedules of the Acts on different performances.  Strange how it still managed to make sense (sort of) to a non-Japanese speaking visitor.  Admittedly, there were three breaks, and had we known how long it lasted, we probably wouldn't have rushed so much to not miss the opening!  

The Theatre itself was an impressive building, with a really beautiful, art-filled interior.  The lights were like dandelion heads once turned to white puffs, but made of crystal for the ultimate shine and glitz.  I should also mention the heated seat toilet/bidet - totally unexpected!

Once we'd had our fill of Japanese culture, we made our way to a 'trendy wine bar' for a bowl of pasta; then off into town where we found a Tokyo take on the Hard Rock Cafe.  Had to go in just out of curiosity really....

The Staff were great.... really into the Christmas spirit.  Stayed for a couple of bottles, then off home (absolutely reeking of an ashtray - smoking is still allowed over here - hadn't realised how quickly we'd got used to the ban).  Needless to say, I was slightly merry, but Col got us back safely...

Elvis wannabe....

[Below:  Col was very polite and only photographed the top half of this Santa's helper - they seemd to be wearing indecently short serving outfits; felt embarrassed for the staff who had to keep taking meals upstairs!!]

A young, trendy couple - he went to University in Manchester!

A great day and night out.....  Christmas tomorrow - hope Santa hasn't forgotten us.  


  1. Hello there, I´m writing my BA thesis on kabuki and was wondering if I could use the picture you have of the stage in my essay?

    Best regards,

  2. I love your interesting post regarding Kabuki Theater and your posted images as well. I have collected kabuki theater book from at PIJ now I wanna to collect Kabuki theater dance dress from there.It will really great to me.