Friday, October 19, 2007

文化発表会 Culture Festival/Talent Day

On Wednesday all students, teachers, faculty and many parents gathered in the 体育館 たいいくかん, gymnasium for an all-day cultural blitz. Students, teachers, the PTA, and even several old timer's associations put on various performances from singing and dancing to drama and quiz shows. The kids get a huge kick out of performing and the teachers are running all over the school like chickens with their heads cut off. It's quite frantic from the morning until well into the afternoon for all involved.

This year about 20 teachers put on a drama about the state of humanity. They wore costumes and did a wonderful job performing. One teacher dressed in a bright red kimono and wore pigtails. She was imitating a child and she did a fabulous job. The play involved three "gods" who stood on the stage the entire time. They were watching over the humans who would come on the stage at intervals that represented different time periods in human existence. For example, the first humans looked like cave people, the second looked like 19th century peasants, the next group were from World War II, and so on.

After each performance the gods would come down from their pedistals and comment about how human live is strange and all the things that humans do, both good and bad. It was full of comic relief and mixed between the comedy was a serious message about living a morally straight life to help make society better.
There were several other great performances. One class put on a Korean Salmanori concert as well as a ear shattering Jang-Gu bashing. Jang-Gu are Korean drums shaped like an hour glass.

The biggest surprise of the day came from a group of geriatrics who were well into their 80s who appeared on stage in these matching happi like costumes, sat in a 正座 せいざ (Japanese style sitting where you bend your knees and place your legs under and sit on the back of your calf muscles with your toes crossed under your bottom.), and then they started twirling these batons to the beat of some trendy song. It was amazing as the crowds supported these old farts with lots of cheers and clapping, not because they felt sorry or obliged to do so, but because these "geezers had their A-game on that day."

At the end of the day the brass band played about 10 songs and then it was over. I thought it would be borning before going but it actually turned out to be a pretty enjoyable experience.

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