First, Rakugo, the Japanese version of storytelling... the main differences between Western and Japanese style storytelling are that people train for years to perform rakugo, and they tell traditional stories rather than ones about themselves, with lots of two-way dialogue - but it is similar in it being funny and engaging. This was my third English language rakugo show, and my second seeing Tatekawa Shinoharu at The Footnik in Ebisu. In his introduction he said something that really resonated: he does English-language rakugo because non-Japanese people tend to go to see rakugo/kabuki/noh/etc as a 'cultural experience' but he wanted us to just enjoy it as Japanese people do without thinking about it as a worthy or especially cultural. Looks like he is telling ghost story rakugo on Saturday! See below.
Nerd Nite is going from strength to strength and is probably one of the most interesting English language events in Tokyo at the moment. The highlight was a talk from Steve Marshall, a magician who told us not about how he does magic, but why we believe in it and why we are are always so astounded. Not only was it really compelling, he made a table float and alerted me to a whole Tokyo scene of magic bars. Now all I want to do is go to bars and have magicians amaze me while I sip my G&T... Here's one I think he mentioned. Another Pechakucha night this week meant another interesting and mixed bag of talks about arty endeavours. I particularly enjoyed a talk by a freediver (is that the word? Diving deep without oxygen?) who had lots of photos with her swimming next to whales. Very cool. Though rather her than me... I also got to hear the Financial Times editor doing a talk, which was very cool. Oh, and comedy sumo slam was brilliant. I really like this show - it's spontaneous and clever and witty. I'm hoping I get to perform in it sometime...
So in conclusion... what a great week for spoken word!
Our Top Picks for Cool Things To Do in Tokyo in the Upcoming Week
Fri 30 Sept - Hooray, my favourite improv show of the month is tonight: Improvazilla. It's always super, but tonight in advance of Thursday's glory, your very own Perfect Liars Club MC and Brit About Town (me) is going to be performing! It's my most famous story and you're going to love it. See you there? Or if you're in the mood for theatre, The Hard Problem is screening from today til Wednesday at Toho Nihonbashi and Roppongi from its run at the National Theatre in London. And over at Bar Gari Gari it's another Drunk Poets See God night of songs, poems and stories.
Sat 1 Oct - Looks like there's English language rakugo ghost stories by the brilliant Tatekawa Shinoharu this afternoon at 4pm at Koper English Ginza School. Also, a new David Hockney exhibition opens today. Californian landscapes I believe - it's in Nihonbashi til 12 November. Oh, I may have forgotten to mention there's also a Dali exhibition on at the moment.
Sun 2 Oct - I mention the Tera de Marche market in Ueno largely because I'm charmed by their logo.
Mon 3 Oct - I can't find anything particularly fun tonight. Maybe this is your night for seeing The Hard Problem.
Tue 4 Oct - There's a new night tonight called Supplement: Tokyo about design, art, visual culture, fashion and writing. It sounds interesting at it's at Temple University in Azabu Juban.
Wed 5 Oct - It's the regular Good Heavens Comedy Club - always lots of laughs.
Thu 6 Oct - Drop everything, people of Tokyo. It's the night you've been waiting for all year. And it is finally, gloriously here! Don your Sherlock Holmes garb and head down to Good Heavens in Shimokitazawa because tonight is the grand launch night of the best show ever, Perfect Liars Club! Reserve tickets here to ensure you get a seat. It starts at 8pm but doors will open at 7!
Your help please:
I so want to see Your Name at the cinema but my Japanese just isn't good enough. If anyone happens to hear of a screening with English subtitles in Tokyo, please let me know!
Oh, and we have visitors from Scotland next week - any good ideas for fun things to do? Thanks!