This morning I was looking at the list of my repertoire of rakugo stories and realised that quite a few of them have not yet been performed in public.
These are the stories that I learned during the pandemic when public performances were not possible. Some of them have been “demonstrated” at the rakugo club, which no longer exists, but not in public performances.
Here are the stories that have not yet seen the light of day:
Gush Gush (だくだく)
Habits of Four Men (四人癖)
Stupid Neighbours (粗忽長屋)
Gonbei and the Raccoon Dog (権兵衛狸)
Yawning School (あくび指南)
The Matsuyama Mirror (松山鏡)
These are some of the masterpieces in the rakugo tradition, and I have to give them life by performing them in public!
I completed a full-immersion Māori programme (Te Ataarangi through Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi; continuing on to the advanced level, Te Kaupae 5& 6, next year!)
Note: One of my dreams is to perform rakugo in Māori someday so that I can give my taonga to this beautiful Aotearoa!
As you can see, this year indeed was a very crucial year in my rakugo journey regardless of all the lockdowns and my current status as an unemployed performer. All this was possible especially thanks to all the people like you… who are still reading this article all the way down here 😁
We never live alone.
Thank you so very much for being a part of my life!
May 2022 be a year of unity, empathy, and some good stories and uproarious jokes!
Here’s my special thank you to:
Asia New Zealand Foundation, Creative New Zealand, Auckland Council, Christchurch Art Gallery, University of Auckland, Embassy of Japan, Auckland Council Libraries, Onehunga Community Centre, NZ Japan Society, Paul, Echo, & “Kazuma” Janman, Yasheeka Bertram, Kirsty Sharp, Bevan Chuang, Athena Dennis, Kristine Ohkubo, Miki, Alex, Fiona Amundsen, Dr Valance Smith, Kanariya Eiraku Shisho, Kanariya Jincho, Kanariya Aimu, Kumiko Imai, English Rakugo Association, Aoteya Rakugo Club (Pukeko, Raki, Sakura, Ichigo), Fookes Family, Yee Yang ‘Square’ Lee, X, M, & M, and my supportive family members!
* This list is in a random order and not conclusive. I hope I didn’t miss out anyone…
Thanks to my voice issues, I’ve been finding my creative outlet in writing this week. Hope you are not sick of reading my version of War and Peace.
The title today is a…
but I am telling you more about the film project that I mentioned in another post.
It is an Asia New Zealand Foundation funded film project, and it will be directed by the dangerously talented film director/ academic extraordinaire, Fiona Amundsen.
This will probably become one of the most important works in my life as a rakugo performer and a human being.
It is all Fiona’s concept, and I just happen to be someone with the knowledge and skills that she needs to complete her project.
As a film director, an aikido practitioner, and a good human being who understands the utter stupidity of war, she came up with a concept to combine the remembrance/ reminder of the mistakes humans committed in WWII, the aikido concept ofZanshin, and the Japanese traditional storytelling of rakugo.
We connected closely especially because of our stance on war, and we have decided to create something that would hopefully show better options for fellow humans.
As some of you may know, I lost my great grandfather and other family members in Nagasaki, and my grandpa and great uncle were both hibakusha.
So I have a very strong reason to get involved in a project like this.
We have just started working together yesterday, so I thought this is a good time to let you know.
For those who want to know more about this project, please read Fiona’s interview. It was written for Tokyo Biennale, but we are trying to create the New Zealand version of this film/ installation.
Hope you had fantastic Christmas and New Year’s celebrations with your beloved ones! If you are interested, you can check out what I was up to during the holidays on my Twitter.
As the Heisei Period is coming to a close in less than 3 months in Japan, I am feeling this groundless hope for a new beginning! I can already feel that this year will be AMAZING!!!
It’s already been 10 days into 2019, and I guess it’s about time to disclose my Rakugo resolutions for this year!
As I tend to be unrealistic about my goals (& I almost always don’t reach them…), I have decided to set realistic goals that are reachable yet not too easy this year.
Here are my resolutions for 2019!
Do 50 performances minimum: As I am traveling most of January, I have 11 months to accomplish this. Due to my health, this might be a bit challenging but doable!
Learn 12 new Rakugo stories minimum (1 of which has to be my original story)
Learn 30 new Kobanashi (short stories/ one-liners)
Finish 1st draft of my Rakugo book: It’s been about 70% done for a very long time…
Wellington tour: If you are a Wellingtonian, please host me!
Improve “small talk” skills: This is probably the most embarrassing goal to share here, but I really suck at small talks. If you know me well, I am an enthusiastic conversationalist when it comes to “big topics” (ex. politics, philosophy, or even meaning of life), but I am very poor at the initial stage of relationship building. My Rakugo career would probably go further if I mastered this skill, which I really should have learned when I was a teenager.
Now I have shared these publicly. There’s no going back!