This past weekend was the most fun I have had in Japan so far!
On Friday I went to my cousin’s girlfriend’s (who is Japanese) band’s performance. Sorry, if that is a little hard to follow. But anyhow, I went to this small venue where everyone knew everyone located in Shibuya. Yucca (the band) will have played together for ten years come May. They were awesome! It was so much fun to be in a place that you kind of have to know someone to find yourself there. I was with some friends from TUJ there and we just had a blast trying to communicate with everyone and listening to the show. I was able to have this great conversation with my cousin’s girl friend about working in Japan. She works part-time jobs, because of her commitment to her music. She even explained that she worked part-time for one financing company for 12 years. Now she works for different companies for short periods of time. When she joined the work force this is what she thought would be best for her, but now that she is getting older she is worried about not having a stable job. I was really hit with the reality of the Japanese work force. Not everyone is a salary-man.(Check out Yucca!http://www.yucca-sounds.com/)
They next day I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a class field trip for the annual 2012 exhibit. Some of the Artists exhibited used a lot of Japanese in their work and made it difficult for me to understand, but over all I was really impressed with the show and the museum in general. It is laid out very well and well organized. They had papers for foreigners to read too which helped inform the viewer. Plus the art was incredible. Japan is known for its animation art and manga, but there is really more than that here. The fine arts that come from Japan are something to really look into. They really inform a lot about the culture, and the huge changes that have taken place in Japan since WWII. I feel like art really speaks about history in an interactive way.
On Sunday I was able to go with my host family to their Japanese dance class. This was amazing. I found myself in a traditional Japanese house, bowing politely, and drinking real green tea. The teacher was an older woman who teaches individuals or families, and is a huge part of their lives. She has worked with the Yamada family since Sakura (10) was just a baby. After the dance lesson the teacher let me try on her silk kimono, and taught me some dance poses. I even did a few of their drills with a fan. It was an amazing experience. The teacher kept trying to say things to me in English and was so excited that I was there. I felt so special. At the same time she was very precise on how things were supposed to be done. She made sure I bowed and repeated the polite expressions when meeting everyone. She herself had been apart of kabuki plays and showed me pictures from performances. The costumes and make-up made her unrecognizable. We also shared a love of different styles of kimonos and the fabric that makes kimonos. I can’t wait to go back again and sit in on another class. I feel as if I learned so much in just one afternoon.