mbarker: (BrainUnderRepair)
a.k.a. like father, like daughter?

When Aiko walked into her schoolroom, a line of children stood in her way. "Your father is Shigeru Mizuki!" "He's famous!" The girls giggled. "Why didn't you say?" "Can I come to your house?" Aiko pushed past them to her desk.
school bells... )
Yoshiko wailed and jumped into the bunk beds, burrowing into the blankets and pillows. Fumie took Aiko's arm. "Aiko, you can't fight like this. You have to be the big sister." Aiko looked at her and said, "Just leave me alone."

<To be continued>
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
That rakugo show that I really liked? There was a little teaser on at lunchtime.  7/25, 8 pm, there's going to be a new show. Looked like they are taking the three men -- Sogen, Shiso, and Kosojyaku -- and putting them into a spinoff. Not sure if this is a one night stand or continuing show, but I'm looking forward to it.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
I think they shouldn't have told us it would be a grand finale. It was good, make no mistake about that, but . . . it didn't feel quite like a grand finale to me. It did have some very interesting stylistic points. For example instead of the bouncy theme music and background pictures with credits that we've gotten used to, this started with slow almost distorted music, and jumped right into the story!
Details, details )
And as Soso cries in the hospital hallway, we get the theme music and credits running over his happy tears.

Then Kiyomi with a flat tummy lying on a hospital bed, saying that there is much more time now, and there will be many more good times ahead.

The end.
mbarker: (Burp)
That rakugo show - Chiritotechin - is having its final week now. And I am a bit concerned that the rumors of a grand finale may be a bit too enthusiastic.

So far this week, at least, things aren't quite that grand. Good, solid episodes, although a bit fluffy, but . . .
The spots . . .  )
I do know that there is one more day. So . . . maybe they'll push it up a notch tomorrow.

Stay tuned. At least for one more day.

(What am I going to watch in the morning next week? Argh.)
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
This was the next-to-the-last week (3/24-29 will be the last week!), and I'm afraid it was kind of floppy.

I think the writers were trying to do some short bits and fill time, maybe tie up a few loose ends, before we do whatever the grand finale is. So we had fun, a bit of comic confrontation between the writer and the uncle, more talk, another comic scene, a bit of set up, and a swerve into the last performance in the old house, which was the big scene for the week.
more details . . . )
Now, Saturday was great. Part of what I really appreciated was the interlaced grinding of the chopsticks, with no voice, just action. But . . . most of the other scenes this week were fun, but didn't really move things forward? My wife kept asking me, "Are they still filling time?"

Well - on to the last week, and we'll see what the finale is. Apparently we're going to build a practice hall for Osaka.

Stay tuned. One more week.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
just a quick overview of last week (3/10-15). It was actually fairly important, developing the character of Kosojyaku a bit, setting up a crisis over who will continue the name of Sojyaku, and with a fun twist on the poor uncle . . . but there were a couple of days that felt as if they were stretching things out to fill time.
Stuff and nonsense )
So we find out that Kosojyaku really does love rakugo (his furosato is rakugo). And Saturday really was a good show. But we've only got a couple more weeks to get everything in!

What about uncle getting married? Stay tuned . . .
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Last week's rakugo show was pretty interesting. That would be March 3 to 8. The focus was the first student (Yusuke) who is a liar, and his first kosa (public performance). Along the way, they worked on what the heck little brother is doing, and set up this week's crisis (but subtly!).
Piles of details . . .  )
We got to watch Yusuke try to avoid giving his performance to a dinner party, and get caught at it, thus learning that there are no small audiences. And that people are like painted chopsticks, you grind and polish them, and beautiful patterns come out.

Coming next week . . . what happened to Kosojyaku and his performance of Hatena No Chawan? He certainly was practicing.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
NHK BS 3 (the high-vision channel here in Kansai) is holding a rakugo special today. From high noon until 6, then from 7 to 11 - 10 hours of rakugo.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Someone asked in mail about the rakugo piece I'm writing. Just in case anyone else is confused, I'm not writing an original rakugo piece. The blog entries are all based on the NHK show being presented right now on NHK called Chiritotechin. There are quite a few blog entries around in Japanese about the show, but I guess I'm one of the few writing in English about it.
More Details for the Curiouser and Curiouser Crowd . . . )
Sorry if I misled anyone - the tales of Rakugo that I am blogging about are on TV. So I'm writing blog postings about a TV show that tells the story of a woman and other students learning to perform rakugo, which of course includes them doing performances - and not infrequently, they dramatize the rakugo stories to make it even more confusing. And when you peel the layers away, down at the middle there's some good stuff about life in Japan . . . or maybe anywhere.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Okay, let's catch up a bit.

Friday, and a chunk of Saturday, were background. We finally heard the story of why Ako's father left the little chopstick painting craftshop and built a factory, and why Grandma has been so angry with him - with a very special resolution.
Details for the hobgoblin of small minds . . . )
So we picked up with Soso getting a new suit - he finally has one that fits, instead of the hand-me-down that leaves his arms and legs poking out. And little brother, despite father telling uncle all about little brother's skill at painting chopsticks, announces he is quitting! And that's where it was left on Saturday.

They sure know how to leave an audience hanging.
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Just a little reflection on the rakugo stories.  It's kind of interesting to watch the daily 15 minutes, with cliffhangers and hooks and conflicts, and to see how the writers have shaped this to fit the weekly 6 days. But there are so many loose ends and characters that seem to demand more time.
Examples . . . )
Frankly, I can see how the last four weeks are going to trundle along and probably end in a stunning climax (the actors have started turning up here and there on TV, explaining that filming ended Feb. 22, and the end is in the can, but it's a secret!). But there are so many loose hairs drifting around - and that's both part of what makes this fun and what will make it as frustrating as can be when they wrap up some part of the main story and characters, but leave the rest unresolved.

Stay tuned, right?
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
This has been a setup week, with lots of odds and ends. Some that particularly caught my attention:

It's hard to figure out when a liar is telling the truth. But welcome back anyway.
The longer version . . . )
Hatena no chawan - look at that  tea cup - a rakugo story about misinterpretation
More story . . .  )
Leading up to Friday's tale of why the factory owner left the little chopstick shop, which I'm probably going to have to tell another time - maybe after we find out what they're going to do on Saturday.
mbarker: (ISeeYou2)
Whoops. Forgot to finish up last week's story. Let's see. On Friday, we were left with Kiyomi on the phone, saying hello, yes . . . and looking around the table at the other students, Ako, and the new student, Yusuke, who seemed to duck.
Lots of details . . . )
So Yusuke lies, and lies, but . . . we'll keep him!

Couple more little scenes on Saturday. First, Soso is in the garden, and Kiyomi asks him if he is still thinking about Yusuke. He says yes, but at least he'll talk to parents. And there's a card in the mail. From an old lady in Senri, thanking them for student, talking about great teacher, good rakugo. Soso starts to smile, then thinks, and says, "Lies, right?" Kiyomi, "No, I think it's real." Soso, "Nah, lies, I think." Having a habitual liar around sure makes reality fray.

Second, Kiyomi walking into the garden, and Ako at the gate. Kiyomi, "Sorry about all the fuss. I wondered about meeting you." Ako, "I'm going home. Get married." Kiyomi, "What? Who?" Ako, "Oh, anybody." Kiyomi, "Huh?" And Ako, "It's all lies. Because of you, my life is a wreck."

To be continued! (Just to make sure we come back on Monday, I guess.)
mbarker: (Burp)
Drat, got behind again. Let's see . . . Short version: Monday was a comic ending to the funeral sequence. Tuesday, we meet a possible student. Wednesday, we start a new rakugo story about lying. Thursday, we notice that the new student isn't very dependable. And Friday, Soso and Ako remember old times, with a phone call setting the hook to get us to watch on Saturday!
More details than anyone wants . . . )
The phone rings. Kiyomi says hello, and then "Oh. Yes." Holds the phone and looks around the gathering. Various reactions, including Yusuke apparently hunching down. Not one word from anyone, just Kiyomi (the camera) scanning the group, and them looking back with reactions. Great acting opportunity!

And that's where they left us, wondering just what the phone call is about, and who?

Stay tuned!
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Let's see. Catching up - Saturday?

The show, with flashbacks, was interlaced with the teacher dying. And then we got a visit to hell - and it looks like kind of a nice place to visit!
Here we go . . . )
End with flash scenes of upcoming bits, including a new student, Kiyomi checking his cleaning, and A-ko accusing her of lying.

One part that I really appreciated about this show was the mixture of laughter and tears - reminded me of the smiling and crying faces of drama.

Stay tuned! About 6 more weeks to go.
mbarker: (Burp)
mizu mashi (水増し) - Mitsuko kept muttering this as we watched the rakugo story this week. It refers to adding water to stretch something out. Padding, inflation of figures, and so forth? And sometimes stories get a dash of water added to fill the time?
Details, details . . .  )
So - Monday did the setup, and Friday picked up the action. But we spent three days just paddling in the watery soup, looking back at memories. I kind of think someone couldn't figure out how to keep the action going, and the tempo slipped. I think it might have helped if we had a new rakugo story introduced, or more details from Jigoku Bakkai, but there wasn't much.

Now what will they do on Saturday? Finish the show, and have the death of the teacher? Stay tuned (but skip the extra water, we're soaked already:-)
mbarker: (Fireworks Delight)
Just to round out the week with the rakugo show . . . Today was a hospital scene, with Kiyomi doing a bit of improv rakugo based on her uncle's antics, PLUS a final lesson for the students in the practice room at home, with the teacher doing the Sites of Hell.
a bit more detail . . . )
Finish up with flash highlights from upcoming episodes, all teasing at what will happen next.

Very cool. And now I wanta know what's going to happen next:-)
mbarker: (Default)
Quite a week - let's see if I can figure out a good summary? Teacher collapses, Kiyomi promises to do improvisational rakugo, and many, many tears?
All the nitty-gritty stuff . . . )
Now the fun question is - will the teacher die on Saturday? I'm betting on a hospital bed scene, perhaps with a bit of the sites of hell and the demand that Kiyomi do an improv story - or maybe all of the students? And close with him dead?

Stay tuned!
mbarker: (Me typing?)
hum - Saturday's episode in the NHK drama wasn't quite what I expected. Oh, they touched a little bit on some of the threads they had hinted at on Monday, but mostly, it was a tie-up for the week - and left most of those threads hanging!
Some details . . . )
So we've got the mother hanging around the school, the teacher sick, and Kiyomi trying to figure out how to do improvisational rakugo - plus the other little conflicts that were hinted at last week still hanging fire.

I'm hooked!
mbarker: (Me typing?)
Very interesting week on the NHK drama. Basically, they started with a bunch of teasers on Monday, then set them all aside and did background sketches of each student this week. I'm guessing, but I suspect we'll pick up the action again on Saturday, with the tension and depth of understanding that the week has given us.
Bits and pieces . . . )One more obvious student, and there's two days left in the week - do a background tomorrow, and then pick up with an action-packed Saturday episode? Sounds like a plan?

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