This is a bit late as well, but I’m doing my best to catch up! I’m sick with the flu currently and in an attempt not do go crazy from cabin fever, I figure I’ll work on these posts a bit more while trying to also come up with a coherent lesson plan for Friday (if I’m able to go to work by then).
In January, I went to Tokyo with a couple Hama JETs to see the stage play for舞台「 戦国Basara 4」 皇 (Butai Sengoku Basara 4 Sumeragi). If you aren’t familiar with that name (and you probably aren’t), it’s a video game based off of historical events and figures in Japanese history. Specifically, this game focuses on the Warring States period of Japan. In the game, you can play as a variety of characters with different weapons and backstories; at first I was skeptical about it, especially since it was all in Japanese. I thought it would be too difficult to understand or catch on to, but oh man was I wrong. The game is so addicting! I love it! I ended up buying it shortly after playing it and try to make a point to play a couple stages at least once a day (usually in the evening before bed). It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but it’s been helping my Japanese a lot because I can read and listen to the dialogue; some of it is in old Japanese too, so that’s interesting to hear. My teachers are floored I play it. My students too!
Sengoku Basara 3 was actually released in America under the title of “Devil Kings” to play off the popularity of “Devil May Cry” but it didn’t really take off. In fact, in Japan, the popularity didn’t grow until SB3 either; the game focused on the Battle of Sekigahara which is one of the biggest points of Japanese history (Ieyasu Tokugawa unifying Japan etc). It’s also been adapted into an anime, but the anime doesn’t follow the original games at all. A special season was made called “Judge End” that is VERY loosely based off the “paths” of Sengoku Basara 3.
Aaaaaanyways, side tracked for a moment, there’s a stage play about the game that’s been running for about 10 years. This year is the 10th anniversary. Each play is usually based off of a different game or point in the general story; sometimes they do their own thing, sometimes they try to follow the game. This particular play focused on the character Sen no Rikyuu from SB4 Sumeragi (the most recent Sengoku Basara game). When I first heard that there was a stage play, I was skeptical (once more) about how good it could be. I mean, the majority of the game is fighting; highly stylized fighting. How were they going to match that on the stage? I was especially worried about how they were going to do Sen no Rikyuu’s character; he has split personalities that change in an instant and the only way to know which personality he is, is based off his hair. When it’s braided, he’s Wabisuke. When it’s down and straight, he’s Sabisuke.
But! I was impressed with how much thought when into it. The opening was one of my favorite parts as the characters are all introduced with a small fighting scene. They had these white panels gliding across the floor with pictures and colors being projected onto them while the characters dashed around them. It was amazing! My favorite character, Tenkai, wasn’t in this play, but three of my other favorites, Mori Motonari, Chosokabe Motochika, and Shibata Katsuie were. I wasn’t sitting next to my friends as I had bought my ticket WAAAAAY after they did, but I still had a decent view! At the very beginning, Yukimura and Sasuke ended up walking really close to where I was sitting; the cast often times will show up in the audience. Two characters, Nagamasa and Tsuruhime did it later on as well.
My favorite part by far was when Motonari impersonated the Sun Goddess’ voice to get Tsuruhime to do something; he was caught in the act by Sasuke and Yukimura and his face, OMG his face was absolutely priceless. I want the DVD of the play JUST to have that look on my laptop background. Once I get the DVD in April, I’ll be sure to post a picture of it because it’s just so perfect.
(pictures above were taken by Capcom, not me; Sabisuke is the guy with the fans)
The play itself was amazing. It was all in Japanese (minus Masamune’s random Engrish), but without consulting A or P, I understood about 40% of it. With their help and our collective thought we have about 75% down. There’s a few parts we’re unsure of, but once the DVD comes out in April, we’ll be able to watch it again and maybe bring that percentage up.
I ended up buying a bit of merch (I’m a sucker for badges and photo sets, don’t judge me) as well as the 10th anniversary collaboration CD. I hadn’t planned on getting this, but they were playing it before the play and during intermission and I needed it O_O They took instrumental theme songs from 12 characters and gave the vocals. Some are… eh. But the majority of them are really good! It came with a special DVD, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.
We decided spur of the moment to visit the Basara Café that was nearby the theatre. It was a really good decision! The people we sat next to were really nice. The dishes and drinks were all inspired by characters that were in the play. I couldn’t have Katsuie’s drink because it had alcohol in it; but I did manage Motochika’s drink. You got random coasters too with every dish/drink you ordered so we each ended up ordering two food dishes and three drinks each. P was a trooper and did two of the three alcoholic drinks.
Recently, as in last Sunday, it was announced that they would be doing another play in July; based off the title, A and I were believe that it might involve my favorite character, Tenkai/Mitsuhide, and Nobunaga. We aren’t entirely sure, but from the title, it sounds like it. We’re hoping Maria show’s up too since she was a new character in 4/Sumeragi, but hasn’t been in either of those plays yet. Even Sakon and Katsuie have had some face time and they were newly introduced then as well. Needless to say, we’re planning on going to at least one play. We want to try for the finale in Osaka, but it’s really hard to get in to.
I ended up joining the fan club as well and just in time! They’re having a fan meeting event at the end of May! Already put in my request for both time slots; mainly because I can’t pick one over the other. The afternoon session has Katsuie and Motochika’s stage play actors while the evening session has Tenkai’s game voice actor. Figured, put in for both and see what happens!
In other news, work is trucking along! The end of the school year is fast approaching (March 18th is my school’s closing ceremony), but I’m enjoying the classes I have left with my students! I’m not sure if I’ll get 3rd years again next year, fingers crossed I can visit at least a couple times! Also, time to catch up on Embarrassing Moments.
Embarrassing Moment #8: Splashing your breakfast smoothie ALL OVER YOUR FACE AND HAIR. Yeah. The one day I decide to bring breakfast to work, this happens. I had uncapped my thermos to stir my smoothie and I guess I didn’t screw it on tight enough or the right way because next thing I knew, it was all over my face and in my hair. I ran to the locker room, a few of the teachers trailing behind me asking what was wrong and then promptly had to clean the trail I had made (it had blueberry in it, it might have stained). For the rest of the day, all my students asked why I smelled like blueberries; I was going to lie and say a new perfume; my JTE’s thought it would be hilarious to tell them what really happened.
Embarrassing Moment #9: When your students realize what a fangirl you really are (ES). So, at one of my Elementary Schools, the teachers know I listen to Visual Kei and attend concerts on a monthly basis. Usually the first thing they ask me is “Any new concerts?” after a week or two of not seeing me. This launches me into showing pictures of the concert/event I might have gone to since they last saw me. The students love looking at my phone and seeing my pictures and since it’s before class and with the HRT, I usually speak Japanese. Therefore, the students can understand me (unless my broken Japanese is really THAT bad). So this means, students get to hear the fangirl side of me.
And there’s a new thing I wanted to start that is somewhat similar to Embarrassing Moments; The Things I Live For. So these are things that happened to me that make me happy or remind me why I’m here and why I love what I’m doing. I’ll just do three for now, but I have a list!
Things I Live For #1: Students requesting a class with me outside my usual class period. This happened just last week when I was asked by my first year JTE that one of my classes had asked me to do a second class after their usual one. When I asked about the class they have after mine, Social Studies, he said they had asked their teacher if it was okay to have an extra class with me since they were so ahead with their Social Studies work. She said yes and so next step was for me to say yes to teaching back to back classes with them. This particular class (1-1) happens to be one of my favorite first year classes; they have the most energy (sometimes a bit too much), but they love my lessons and are always participating, even the girls. So how could I say no?
Things I Live For #2: Having an in depth and deep conversation about Sengoku Basara with your students. This actually happened at my elementary school that I visit every Monday in a class that I’ve had trouble keeping the attention of the students in. Well, more like there’s a group of boys that are REALLY hyper all the time and just have a hard time focusing on class. It’s not their fault, and I really do try to incorporate physical games to keep them motivated and somewhat focused. Well, before the start of class, I was setting up the activity I had planned for them; while I was setting up, the group of boys came over and started to poke around my stuff. When I turned around to tell them to stop and go help pass out text books, they were looking up at me with huge eyes. I have two keychains on my pencil case; a keychain of Motonari and a keychain of Katsuie. We ended up having a long discussion before the start of class (and one boy proceeded to tease me that all my favorites die at some point in the game) and when they sat down, I was surprised at how attentive they were. They were the first to volunteer for my activities and even asked the class leader if they could walk me back to the staff room so we could talk more Basara. It’s a simple thing but… set my heart a light >.<
Things I Live For #3: Students approaching me outside of school. This has happened a few times already, but only with my ES students. Twice it happened with the same two kids (Oiwake students) and once with another two students from another ES (Kamijima). The ones from Kamijima even went as far as to walk me all the way to the train station so we could talk. The students at Oiwake speak a mix of English and Japanese to me which is always fun. Again, it’s the small things >.<
And that’s all I can think of now! But I’m sure I’ll have a post or two up later for my VK stuff (cause boy am I behind on that) and about the upcoming Graduation! Keep your eyes open!