A Night at the Yose
With a one year old son, a baby on the way, three teaching jobs and of course, my PhD studies I haven't been able to go to downtown Tokyo and visit the yose (comedy theatres) like I used to. Tonight however, I was granted a one night release and was able to run over to Asakusa and catch a few acts at the Engei Hall and although I was only there a couple hours it was a thrill. Besides the Engei Hall and the great performers you can catch there I love all the nooks and crannies that you can explore in Asakusa, providing many chances for the amateur photographer in me.
Tonight I wasn't able to go around too much to take pictures however as I was trying to get to the theatre by the evening intermission and then catch a friends performance. Running to catch a bite to eat beforehand I was surprised to find two members of the political humour group "the Newspaper" there, meeting there before their own performance at the Engei Hall. It was a fun chance to talk about comedy and politics with them before their performance and was just another reason I love Asakusa. It's easy to run into comedians and other performers in unexpected places here.
After basically inhaling some food I made my way to the theatre just in time to see a good friend of mine, Tachibana Futaba, a female hanashika (rakugo performer) entertain a surprisingly full house. I first met Futaba when she served as an assistant teacher at the rakugo class for amateurs I attended at Nittere Gakuin a couple years ago. Although their numbers have increased there are still only a few female hanashika in the traditionally male-dominated world of rakugo. Besides Futaba I really wanted to see the Newspaper and their political humor. As I have written here before there is far too little political humor in Japan today. Both acts didn't disappoint and although I wasn't able to talk to Futaba for very long (due to an engagement afterwards) it was fun to touch base.
The rest of the acts were also very entertaining but mostly it was just great to be back in Asakusa and the Engei Hall for the first time in a few months. I'll have to come back sooner next time.