Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sept. 16-18, 1953 Preparing to Leave Tokyo, Bonnie Returns to the Forbidden City and B Goes to Kabuki

Diary Entry:  Sept. 16, 1953

"Usual picking up until Jennie Louise (B's cousin) came at 11:00.  Talked awhile.  Went to lunch at Forbidden City.  Children's first experience with chopsticks.  Long drive to Jennie's in Yokohama.  Lovely army house high on a hill.  Bob had wonderful time with Amy & dog.  Excellent dinner--good visit.  Joe took us to station in time to catch train back to Tokyo.  Children so good.  Back in hotel at 11:00.  Tired but happy."

Diary Entry:  Sept. 17, 1953

"A morning of classes and laundry.  Children had a little lunch party with Janie Levine.  Took a walk down Yoyoki and found B a laquer pipe & myself a pr. of gold Kutani candlesticks.   B has gone to meet an Education professor of Tokyo University.  Wrote letters to Sorensens and Wattersons.  Prof. Kaigo took B to a real Japanese dinner--men only.  He was really wined & dined."

Kabuki-Za Theater, Tokyo, Sept. 1953
"Tokyo has many movie houses and theatres, but the Kabuki theatre in Tokyo is world famous for its unusual stage plays.  The plays tell historical stories, family problem stories, or stories where good overcomes evil.  All of the plays are used over and over and are very old.

The parts are played entirely by men and boys who are dressed in fine costumes.  Boys whose fathers are Kabuki actors can begin to appear in plays when they are five or six years old.  They must work hard and can never hope to be famous actors until they are at least fifty years old.

The Kabuki stage is very large and has a runway on one side which goes to the back of the theatre.  Actors perform on this runway as well as on the stage.  The stage is revolving so that beautiful settings can be changed quickly.  Some settings are raised by elevator through a trap door in the center of the stage.  Flowers and painted backdrops add to the lavish settings.

The Kabuki plays are different and exciting, and the Japanese people will often spend an entire day watching play after play."
(Dragon-fly Land:  Japan,by Bonnie Belshe, 1955)

Diary Entry:  Sept. 18, 1953

"Meetings, packing.  Miss Kanda brought children books. Gave her a tiny bottle of Coty perfume.  She was very pleased.  B went to Kabuki for a little bit, finished packing everything.  Trunk in middle of floor ready to go. Being met by university cars."

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