Yesterday (Friday) was the 27th annual Tanigawa Bukasai School Festival, or most closely translated, Talent Show. The talent show is different than American school talent shows in that it is mandatory that every student do something. All of the first graders sing two or three songs together. This year the second graders made really gorgeous stained glass windows out of colored tissue paper to various Disney themes, while reading a history of Disney World. The real meat and potatoes of the show, and the area that presents unquestionably the most cross dressing, is the third grade presentations. The third graders have to perform a play per class (at Tani-chu there are 5 third grade classes). Some students are designated writers, others create sets and costumes, while others still act in the play. Some classes go all out, while others do not.
This year one class did a traditional Hokkaido dance. It is a great dance, I believe it was the Eisa Dance, maybe also known as the Dance of the Fisherman. The kids really pulled it off.
Another class did a drama involving school and cross dressing. I didn’t understand it because they spoke too fast for my limited Japanese to understand. It was primarily spoken, so I had no clue what was going on half the time.
By far the most entertaining was a class that did a scaled down version of Peter Pan. Complete with one of my favorite teachers, Okamura-sensei, as Smity. At one point Okamura-sensei and Peter Pan duke it out. Okamura-sensei was doing all kinds of crazy funny anime-esque movements with his sword and poses. Smity and Pan even had a super slow mo battle that ended when Okamura-sensei went back to normal speed and slapped Peter Pan on the head, ran over to Caption Hook (played Pablo Picasso) and got a high five. It was very funny.
The next class did another dancing number, that I do not entirely remember. Huh…
Then there was the last class. This class did a musical play about a magic box of matches that when struck granted you a Christmas wish which involved all the class not currently on stage to come out shaking garland wearing skull caps that made it appear as if they had a top knot like the samurai, all while a pop-electronic Latin samba was played. The main characters were a sassy oba-san (old women) played by a cross dressing boy, a homeless girl selling the matches, a homosexual police officer in love with his superior, a drunk (complete with tie around his head and pant leg rolled up), a talking dog, a hooker, a kid in a very large hat, and a flamboyantly dressed samurai who I can only assume was Father Christmas himself. Did I mention this play was written ENTIRELY by 14-15 year olds? I can only imagine watching this play is what being on hallucinogens must be like.
After the madness that was class 3-2’s “meaning” of Christmas, it was time for lunch. Post lunch we had a presentation on the evils of smoking, complete with a video shot at Tanigawa in which students allowed cigarette smoke to enter a gauze pad, the pad was shredded and liquefied, then poured on earthworms in a Petri dish. Result: the worms tried to escape, then died - horribly. At our school we have a big anti-smocking campaign. I think it is probably the subversive work of the “Pro-Lung” lobbyists you hear so many Republican’s complaining about.
Our drama club put on a rather complex and emotional presentation that was 99% dialog driven, and thus completely lost on me. They acted well, I guess not knowing any of the context. I wish I could understand what they were saying. The drama club has some really good English students in it, and it would be nice if I could have enjoyed there talents in their own language. Sigh… Study Andrew!
The last highlight from the show was our middle’s school band. The Tanigawa band is not the best middle school band, but I love them. They end up playing songs that are, in all honesty, probably a bit too hard for them. But gosh darn it they try. I would rather hear a slightly weak version of the Mission Impossible Theme, than a perfectly done version of the BЬ scale. This year the band played, the Mission Impossible Theme. They also played Tequila! Complete with the entire band stopping, at the appropriate times, and yelling “Te-ki-ra!” It was very cute. But best of all, and what had me rocking out, was they played “The Cruel Angel Thesis”! I was completely blown away by the awesomeness of this turn of events. For those that do not know, “The Cruel Angel Thesis” is the opening theme to one of the most famous, and interesting, anime: “Neon Genesis Evengelion”. Eva (as we hip anime fanboys call it) is one of my favorite anime, and is the reason I got into anime to begin with. I remember Jeff burning all the episodes onto several CD in some really crappy Real Video format and letting me borrow them because the hotline site that he got them from went under prior to me being able to get the entire series. The series was not out on DVD in the states so it was a fan sub. But after watching it I faithfully bought the series when it finally did officially come Stateside. Listening to the main theme was like coming full circle for me first hearing it in the US and now in the country of its birth. It was one of those “Wow. I live in Japan.” moments.