I left work, later than planned, and drove across base to park at the bank by the main gate. Then I started the walk to the train station. Normally, I leave for too much time for this walk so I arrive 10 or 15 minutes early, but since I left work late, I knew it would have to be a very fast walk to make my train. Making the right train was important because I was meeting my friend on the train and then she and I were meeting other friends at our destination. I walked very quickly and made it in record time – for me (11 minutes). I was a bit sweaty, my shins burned, and I got there with enough time to contemplate why I am so crazy about being ontime that I practically ran to the train station to get there early.
After one train change and an hour of travel we met our friends. There was enough time catch dinner before the play and one of our friends had already walked around to see our options. He took us to a 500 Yen pizza place (500 Yen is about $5). It’s Tokyo, so there’s no small, medium and large. It’s not Pizza Hut. We each ordered a pizza – I chose asparagus and bacon – and a drink. They were bigger than we expected, about six slices per pizza, but so delicious that we ate all of the food we ordered. Then we headed toward the theater.
It was about a ten minute walk to the theater. At this point, it’s almost 7 pm, we’ve had an hour and a half of traveling after a long day and an especially long week, and we’re full of starch and cheese. A nap sounded much more appealing than a 2 1/2 hour play.
But then I started reading through the program. This was no ordinary production of R&J. The stage was set up with two framing white curtains – one vertical for Japanese translations and one horizontal for English translations. The play began and the Montagues came on stage with their British, Irish, Australian and American accents. Then the Capulets in Kabuki-style make-up and speaking Japanese. It was fascinating and entertaining. I was also completely impressed by the foreign and Japanese actors who transitioned so seamlessly from speaking English to Japanese – sometimes using both within a monologue. And this production was quite humorous. Well, you know, until everyone started dying.
I would have never seen anything like this in the States, and it is a slice of life that I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to experience.