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 Master’s Performance in Auckland!!! 英楽師匠オークランド公演!

Image result for Kanariya Eiraku

日本語の記事は一番下にあります。

My Rakugo master, Kanariya Eiraku, is coming to New Zealand for a performance (5 March) AND a workshop (4 March) in less than a month!!!

This is probably the first time in history for an English Rakugo master to perform AND teach in New Zealand. You really don’t want to miss this rare opportunity as I don’t know when he will visit here next time.

He is an internationally recognised performer and has toured in US, UK, Denmark, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Laos. His work has been introduced in various media in the world including NHK World and Rafu Shimpo. He is kindly dropping by Auckland on his way to performances in Sydney.

This show will be very significant for me as well because it will be an “Oyako-Kai” (Master-Disciple) performance, just the two of us. This is considered an immense honour in the rakugo world, and I really want to have a full-house to honour him. The capacity is smallish and only 50 (possibly extended to 60), so be quick to secure your seats!!!

You can purchase tickets from the links below:

PERFORMANCE

WORKSHOP (Participants to the workshop are treated to a complementary rakugo performance on 5 March!)

Hope to see you there!

Also, as this is a self-funded project, any generous funders are very, very welcome! Please contact me from here.

(日本語)

遅ればせながら明けましておめでとうございます!

タイトルにありますように、来月3月5日(木)に私の英語落語の師匠、鹿鳴家英楽師匠がオークランド公演をすることになりました。

鹿鳴家英楽師匠は英語落語の草分け的存在の一人で、今までアメリカ・イギリス・デンマーク・ジョージア・カザフスタン・ラオス等の国々で活躍され、NHKワールドやその他の世界のメディアで紹介されております。

今回はシドニー公演のついでにオークランドに立ち寄って下さることになりました。

親子会(師匠と弟子)として公演をしてくださるという大変な栄誉で、私としてはやはり満員御礼でお迎えしたいので、もしよろしければ皆様と楽しいひと時を過ごせたらと思います。

50~60人という小さな会場ですので、なるべく早めに下のリンクからチケットをご購入下さい。

英語落語公演のチケットはこちら

英語落語ワークショップのチケットはこちらワークショップ参加者は5日の公演を無料で鑑賞することができます。

3月4日(水)にはワークショップも開催され、見るだけではなく実際に演じる方法を学ぶこともできます。

また、サマーホリデーの直後という時期的な問題もあり、オークランド大学からの会場提供を除き、公共団体からの助成金がゼロの状態で運営しますので、もしサポートを頂けます団体様、個人様がいらっしゃいましたらご一報頂けましたら幸いです!ご連絡はこちらからお願いします。

5 Year-Old Rakugo Master!Seriously!

Readers, be prepared to melt today!

Ahem, I have at least two people whom I can safely call my “fans”.

They are the half-Japanese, half-French sisters who have been coming to my rakugo performances since the beginning of my rakugo career here in New Zealand.

That’s right, if you have been following me for a while, it is the sisters who make me origami medals every time they come to my performance (the one hanging from my ear in the photo).

The other day I bumped into them at my local library.

The older sister looked super delighted to see me and excitedly said,

“You know what, I just went to that Okiku’s well in Kobe you told me about!”

She was referring to a rakugo story called “Okiku’s Dishes”. For those who are not familiar with the story, here’s the youtube clip I made ages ago (you can always follow my youtube channel, too!).

I was already impressed that she actually went to a location in a rakugo story.

“It was a bit scary, though!”

Then, she said, “You know what? I perform rakugo for my family and friends!”

Whaaaaaat?

“What stories do you do?”

“Jugemu! I can say his name!”

“Oh, really… how cute! She’d probably know only a part of the name, surely!”

So I thought.

Then, she started reciting the name of the Japanese boy with the longest name ever.

PERFECTLY!

I was so impressed that I asked her mother if I could record her, and here it is. This is the voice of a future female rakugo master!!! Are you ready to melt?

But hey, this is not the end!!!

Her younger sister also volunteered to recite the name of Jugemu for me!!!

Here you go!!!

This so far has been THE highlight of my rakugo career!!!

Pop Goes 2019! Recap of This Year

Have I told you I’m the last minute person?

It seems like Year 2019 is almost over, and it is already the New Year’s Eve here in New Zealand.

Tomorrow is 2020.

Unnecessarily a futuristic sounding year.

Perhaps, a movie called something like “2020: A Space Odyssey” would really take off.

I just wanted to thank you very much for all your warm support this year!!!

Rakugo is literally IMPOSSIBLE (bold, capital, italic, and underlined) without the audience, so I really owe you everything!!! Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!!!

Here’s my belated annual report of what I have achieved this already retro sounding Year 2019:

  • I performed rakugo at a conference for Kiwis who are going to the 2020 Olympics.
  • I performed rakugo at the Consul General’s residence for the Auckland Consular Corps, a group of consul generals from various countries. The Consulate General of Japan Website has a few photos from the performance.
  • I have launched the rakugo club, and we now have 5 active members. Also, we have been offered to use Albert Park Keepers Cottage as our base.
  • I got involved in developing a play called “The Wall” with Babel Theatre and delivered a rakugo master class for them.
  • I had my animation voiceover debut on “Tales of Nai Nai“!!!
  • I found a producer who is willing to help me promote my rakugo in New Zealand and beyond from 2020!!!
  • And all the fantastic shows at The Spreading Tree, high schools, retirement homes, libraries, and others.

All these were possibly thanks to your loving support!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I would like to give special thanks to (in the alphabetical order):

Asia New Zealand Foundation, Auckland Council (Creative Communities Scheme), Auckland Libraries, Auckland Museum, Auckland Playback Theatre, Babel Theatre, Baruk Jacob, Becky Kuek, the Consulate General of Japan, Creative New Zealand, Fumio Togashi, Sifu Gary Young, Ian Kennedy, Janman family, Julia& Tessa Clement, Kanariya Eiraku Shisho, Kanariya Jincho, Kirsty Sharp, Kristine Ohkubo, Kumiko Imai, Miki, Musashi Restaurant, Naoe Hashimoto, New Zealand Japan Society, Square & Sums, The Spreading Tree, and my loving whānau!!!

Happy New Year, everybody!!!

Introducing Rakugo Characters No.3 [Inkyo 隠居]

One of the most common characters in rakugo is Inkyo (隠居 いんきょ). He appears in a countless number of stories, and many rakugo start by a visitor knocking on the door of Inkyo’s house.

“Inkyo” literally means “to retire”, but it usually means a retired old man when it is used as a title.

Inkyo is the elder, the go-to person in the community. Everybody respects this gentle and wise leader. He is the source of wisdom.

However, he can also be vain and superficial. He sometimes has hard time accepting his ignorance. He can be misleading to cover up his lack of knowledge though it is often not on purpose.

As I wrote in the article called The Definition of Rakugo?, almost all characters in rakugo have flaws, and Inkyo is not an exception. Their flaws make them real and immensely likeable and approachable. They are like us, doing their best to live and enjoy this thing called life.

If you have missed the first two characters, here are the links:

Character No.1: Hachigoro

Character No.2: Kumagoro