Another Poem of Hope

Good morning, everybody! Hope you are having a fantastic day regardless of the temporary challenge we are facing TOGETHER right now!

My friend just forwarded me the following poem written by a priest in Ireland.

I found it beautiful and uplifting, so I wanted to share it with you.

Let’s not forget to sing the song of life!

Lockdown

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing

Brother Richard

Introducing CliniClowns Japan!

Hi all, Eishi here! Hope you are doing well, wherever you are on this beautiful planet!

I will be updating this blog regularly from now on as I have a lot of time in my hands at the moment 🙂

Today I’d like to share about CliniClowns Japan.

They are a group of clowns who visit sick children and sometimes adults, often with terminal illnesses, to bring humour and smile to the otherwise stifling environments they are in.

If you have watched the movie “Patch Adams”, you know what they do (though the real Patch is actually a doctor as well).

They are also called “caring clowns”, “clown doctors”, etc. depending on which part of the world you are from.

As some of you may know, I was initially trained as a clown myself. My initial goal was to become a clown doctor.

However, caring clowning was not yet recognised in 2003 when I completed my training in Japan. Then, I moved to New Zealand, and this dream was completely forgotten. (But I have realised that whatever I do I am a clown anyway- once a clown, always a clown 🙂 )

I recently learned that my closest friend from the clowning school became a clown doctor. He’s been traveling all over the world with a simple aim of cheering people up. Truly a beautiful human being.

Anyway, he is a part of “CliniClown Japan”, and they have just started a YouTube channel. Please follow them to increase their visibility! It is the people like them who need to be recognised in this world in the process of healing!

This Poetry Summarises it All

Hi all, Eishi here! Hope you are doing well!

This is the first post since the “lockdown” started here in New Zealand.

Reading back to the entry below, it is amazing how much has changed in such a short time!

Earlier this month, my master and I had our first “Oyako-kai” (Master-Disciple Recital) here in Auckland. Through this performance, my master indirectly expressed his permission for me to be his disciple, not just a student.

Due to its success, some REALLY exciting opportunities were offered to me…

In short, I was on top of the world!

Then, the virus…

Pretty much all of my performer, actor, producer friends lost their jobs overnight… including myself. Wow!

Being the person I am, my first reaction to this situation was… curiosity and hope.

Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely saddened by the sufferings that people in some parts of the world are going through.

As the husband of a medical worker, I myself have a high chance of getting the virus, too.

Yet, I cannot help but feel hope for a better world.

I can already see humanity getting united.

There is this sense of unity among humans for the first time in a very long time.

We are in this together!

This is THE opportunity for us humans to reexamine what really matters to us.

This is the time to dream of a world that is not greed driven.

The reduced carbon emission, due to travel restrictions, may mean that we could heal this planet at least a little bit.

This is the time for a paradigm shift!

I believe that humans are temporarily in cocoons to get ready to fly farther as beautiful butterflies when we are through this!

You might have read this poem before, but it really summarises what I cannot describe with my limited vocabulary:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”   

Kitty O’Meara

My 15 Years in Comedy!

About a week ago, I randomly realised that I had been performing comedy in New Zealand for almost 15 years.

Time flies, indeed…

Though I have changed the forms of my comedic expression, I have been pretty consistently involved in comedy until today. It’s nothing to do with my suitability or will power, but it’s like a bad addiction that I can’t get rid of.

I started my comedy career as a stand-up comedian.

I don’t remember the exact date I did my first open mic, but it was in the first week of November in 2004. The MC of the night was my favourite comedian, Mark Scott.

I was pretty average as a stand-up comedian (just good enough to make tens and tens of dollars), but stand-up taught me the basic of the western comedy like its timing, delivery, and the Kiwi sense of humour, which was the hardest for me to pick up.

There were some highlights and lowlights just like in any old career.

I disappeared from the stand-up scene when my wife and I decided to start a family. It was my attempt to become a responsible adult… but it wasn’t quite successful.

Remember? I’m an addict.

As the lure of comedy was too strong, I soon started getting involved in improv comedy with a hope that I wouldn’t have to spend hours writing materials anymore.

I was wrong.

I still had to practice quite a bit. There were heaps of workshops to attend.

I did some awesome scenes and devastatingly awful scenes along the way.

Again, I was quite an average improviser. I still have so much respect for good improvisers. If you master improv, you can pretty much accomplish most things in your life.

In 2016, when I was just about to turn 40, I questioned myself what I really wanted to do with my life. It was clear that I wanted to do rakugo, the Japanese traditional comedy I learned when I was a teenager.

Rakugo has been a big part of my life since I was around 10. When I was at university, I loved rakugo so much that I attempted to become an official apprentice of a rakugo performer.

I chickened out at the last minute because I didn’t have confidence to survive the traditional, feudalistic training. I gave up the traditional pathway to learn the art and instead decided to study theatre in America where I spent the next 5 years of my life.

I was very lucky to meet my English rakugo master Kanariya Eiraku, who was willing to teach the art to me in a long distance relationship. I am very delighted and proud that his art has been receiving international recognition in recent years. I am very excited that I will possibly perform with him next year both in New Zealand and Australia!!!

After all these years of performing comedy (4 years in Japan, 5 years in US, and 15 years in NZ), I eventually went back to rakugo where I started.

This reminds me of the parable in Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”.

I already had the treasure when I started out.

Many years later, I finally realised that I had been carrying the treasure all along!!!

Now I know what my real treasure is.

If you are reading this paragraph, you must be either my family, close friend, hardcore fan, or stalker. Thank you very much for your continued support!!! I still do what I do because of the people like you!!!

Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!!!

Enough reminiscing.

Now get back to work!