三枝美江子先生がダンス指導されている國學院栃木高校の文化祭のミュージカル部公演「Half A Six Pence」を観に行ってきました。初めてここの文化祭公演を観たのがちょうど10年前、そのときも「Half A Six Pence」でした。
I visited Kokugakuin Tochigi High School where a friend of mine taught dancing and choreography to the student of the Musical Club as an instructor. There was a cultural festival of this school, and the Musical Club members performed Half A Sixpence. It was the second time to see this show since I saw it ten years before at just the same place.
That motivated me to visit Folkestone, England where it took place in.
Last weekend was happy days for me because I deeply experienced a British taste last Saturday and Sunday. From the beginning I preferred the USA to the UK or other English-speaking countries, but my affection has been shifting to England for years since I happened to read Kaoru Mori’s Emma, a romance manga of a maid in England in the Victorian Era who falls in love with a member of the gentry.
On the first day, the first thing I did is to see Oliver! by the Musical Club of Kokugakuin Tochigi High School playing for the school’s cultural festival held in this weekend. Oliver! is, as you may already know, an English musical based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist. It’s the story that Oliver Twist, who has missing parents and is in a workhouse, is forced to get out of the workhouse and gets involved in a group of pickpockets. He tries to pick a pocket of a well-off lady, who finally takes him in and brings him up, and then he gets happy.
As I already wrote in this blog many times, I’ve kept in touch with Mito Saigusa. She is a choreographer teaching dance and choreography to the students of this club. I come and see their performance for the cultural festival every year in order to see her too. Of course she was well this year as well.
This year’s show satisfied me much more, because its scene was in England in the 19th century so it was just for me. I was very happy with that.
After seeing Oliver! I left the high school to drive to British Hills, the educational facility located in Fukushima Prefecture operated by Kanda Institute of Foreign Languages, with Medieval British-style buildings in a 50-acre land. Each building is furnished with the fixtures modeling the era of the building. From the beginning it was only for the students of this Institute, it’s been open to public for several years. More than a half of the staff working there were non-Japanese, ranging from Englishmen, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and more. As the official language in this area is English, even a Japanese attendant talks to you in English, because British Hills is for teaching English to guests.
A two-hour drive from Tochigi took me British Hills. It was almost on the top of a mountain, more than 20 miles far from the nearest motorway exit. Once entering into the site of British Hills, almost all traffic and informational signs on the road suddenly turned into English, just like crossing a national border into a different country.
Continue reading “Deep in England”
October is a month of fruits, readings, sports, art, and — more than those — festivals. There were various kinds of festivals in the Kiba Park, which was close to my house. The biggest one was the Koto Kumin Matsuri festival from the 16th through the 17th of October.
It was the third time for me to see this festival, so there was nothing new in it. Everything was almost the same as usual. All I did there were to eat Indian foods bought from stalls inside the park and to watch a performance by Vivace, a marching band consisting of only female employees of ALSOK, a Japanese security company.
In the same days, there was a festival by the students of University of the Sacred Heart, which had been built in the former residence of Empress Dowager Nagako, the previous Emperor Hirohito’s wife. This university is for women only, so it’s usually closed to people other than the students of it, except on special days like the festival. I wanted to get inside the university because I wanted to see the historical houses inside, such as the former house of Nagako and the chapel of the university. During the festival the university was open to public, so it was one of perfect chances to see them which wouldn’t come so many times.
After seeing the Koto Kumin Matsuri, I went to Hiroo to see the festival of University of the Sacred Heart called Seishinsai. I took the subway to Shibuya and there I took a bus to Japan Red Cross Medical Center, where I got off the bus and I had a gate of the university. After ID check at the gate I got inside and walked along the path for several minutes then I had the Palace, the former house of the Prince Kuninomiya, where his daughter Nagako had been raised and lived until she had married the previous Emperor Hirohito.
The Kuni House, the site of a main entrance of the Palace, where Empress Nagako departed to the Imperial Palace on her wedding.
The Marian Hall, an auditorium of USH. The Latin phrase on the top made me feel it was gorgeous.
The chapel, used on a daily basis for masses and prayers. An alumna of USH can use it for her wedding.
The interior of the chapel, where the student choir practiced singing. I heard their sounds reflected to multiple directions on the round ceiling and resonated fantastically. I admired its gimmick of construction to help Catholics feel God’s Power.
In addition, there were an open-air stage, stalls selling foods and goods, and many kinds of events and amusements during the festival, but I left in haste because there were such young and bright boys and girls that a middle-aged man like me couldn’t stay any longer 🙂
指導する三枝美江子先生に会いに行ってきました。今年もお元気でした。今年は少しお若く見えたような気がします。毎年見に行ってる常連だということで配慮してくれたのか、今年は入口に立っていると、特別に他のお客様に先んじて最前列の席をご案内いただきました。おかげさまで維持員席でかぶりつきで堪能することができました 🙂 ちょうど理事長先生もお見えだったようでその専用席も用意されていたんですが、理事長席は２列目だったので、理事長先生よりも前の席でちょっと恐縮だったんですけどね。
This year I saw Oklahoma! at Kokugakuin Tochigi University High School. Every year I go to the cultural festival of this high school to see a play performed by the Musical Club. This club consists of tenth and twelfth graders of this high school, playing musical on an after-school basis. They have regular performances several times a year, and the biggest one is a show in the cultural festival in early September. Mieko Saigusa, one of this club’s instructors in charge of choreography, is the lady I know well and look forward to seeing once a year. That’s why I go to this high school even though I didn’t graduate from it and, to be sure, I’m nothing to do with it.
The city of Tochigi is about 50 miles to the north from central Tokyo. Car is the most convenient option to go there, but I went there by train for the last two years as I didn’t have my own car since I sold it two years ago. Nevertheless, this time I rented a car to get there faster and more comfortably.
Ms. Saigusa was fine, worked energetically, and looked a bit younger than last year. To my happiness, when I came this morning in front of the entrance door of the musical venue, she led only me to the front row of the spectator’s seats inside the theater where the show was performed, while other guests were still waiting in front of the door 🙂
Oklahoma! Finale from Masayuki (Yuki) Kawagishi on Vimeo.
The musical was perfect. All the cast members played almost as skillfully as professional musical players. I enjoyed it very much.
The synopsis of Oklahoma! is shown here.