Saturday, 23 February 2008

日本と言う冒険 The Japan Adventure

As you might remember from another post, I am going to free Japanese classes lead by volunteers every week. Last month my teacher from Thursday's class informed us that an international festival was coming up, and that the Japanese classes were to send representatives to hold little speeches. She asked me if I could imagine holding a speech and I replied woohoo and yay!

Now in my first 原稿 manuscript I intended to talk about the bad things foreigners have to deal with in Japan, balance it out with good things and arrive at some synthesis. I would talk about Japanese people sitting away from foreigners in the trains and subways and of the new foreigner laws forcing every foreigners to give finger prints to the Japanese government for a life time sentence. The latter is justified with the danger of terror attacks on Japan, like in every other country. However the only act of terrorism ever executed in Japan (e.g. the gas attack on the Tokyo subway) was committed by Japanese people, who do not even need an ID and do not need to give their finger prints either, while foreigners have to carry a foreigner registration card.

However this speech had some problems. The topic I chose was not an easy one, even in German or English talking about such political issues, especially when the terrorism pretext, in which many people still believe, is included, proofs to be a very delicate difficult matter. Speaking about it in a language, which I am still learning and improving on is therefore sheer madness.
On the other hand time and location were just not fit for such a speech, since the festival aimed at bringing foreigners and Japanese closer together and abolish fear and doubt. Such a speech in such a scenario can easily backfire.

After my teacher made me realize this truth, I agreed and changed the topic entirely and decided to make a "cabaret" like one man performance talking about my adventures in Japan. As a title I choose 日本と言う冒険 The Japan Adventure. I will post the original text at the end of this post and give a translation for it.

厚木国際フェスタ Atsugi International Festival

The program was at follows
1. 挨拶 Greetings
2. 太鼓演奏 Taiko Drum Performance
3.スピーチ Speeches
4. ピアノと笛演奏 Piano Flute ensemble
5.インド踊り Indian Dances
6. パーティ Party

The 太鼓 Taiko Drum Performance was as great as last time, I really love those 太鼓 Taiko drums and the way people play them. What I also noticed and liked was, that the half of the drummers were girls and the other half boys :)

Then came our speeches. I was nervous like hell and got stuck at some points, mainly because I had to learn to speak the speech from my memory in advance to allow me to act while speaking. But in the end it turned out quite well and people were laughing and anticipating my next act (I partitioned my speech in Intro, Outro and 5 acts). Apart from me there was another really cool speech from a girl from Costa Rica. Her speech was 日本で三つの好きなこと or in english 3 things I like about Japan. First was Natto and last was the free Japanese classes, but the middle one was very cool. There she would talk for 5 minutes about a very special toilet she found in an organic fair trade store in Atusgi, and how wonderfully decorated the toilet was, so that after she did her business, she would not leave the toilet for 10 minutes. Then she all recommended us going to this toilet and see for ourselves. More than that, after she finished she told us that she'd like to sing a song from Costa Rica and started singing. They played some music as background, but it was never practiced beforehand, so nobody knew, that she would be singing for over 10 minutes. After 5 minutes however the audience had sightly enough and the moderator grew timid. After 7 minutes they cut the music, but after she still didn't stop singing turned it on again and everybody had to last till the end. Ho ho I like that, she's a real rebel in my eyes. Also cause like this she brought some Costa Rica culture to everyone and in the end benefited the cause of the festival.

Next was a really nice duet between a piano and a clarinet. And after that a group of 7 Indian dancers, who performed two really cool dances, where they would incredibly move their head horizontally to the right and left without turning it. I tried it myself and cannot even move my head one inch in this way. They also used their eyes in a cool way according to the dance. It's the first time for me to see a dance like that, where the focus is on the strafing head and the eyes.

After that there were three hours of party, were foreigners and Japanese were given opportunity to get to know each other and make friends. In all of this three hours I could not eat a single snack or take more than a sip of tea, because all the time, people wanted to talk to me or take pictures with me. Sometimes people didn't even wait for other people to finish talking to me and just grabbed possession of me ^^. Because of my performance (see below) also all kinds of little kids were coming to me to have a sword fight with me =D
It was really cool, and I got the numbers of about 5 women! (... which all are at least over 70 years old ho ho!). No seriously some nice people offered me nice things like teaching me and friends how to make そば Soba noodles from scratch or offering me a home stay, if after I return to Germany I ever want to come back to Japan. :)

スピーチ原稿 Manuscript for my speech
(English version below)



うん、初めて自分の国を離れますよ。 他の国と文化を初めて体験します。 楽しみにしています!

"あーそうですか? では気を付けたほうがいい! じゃーね!

気を付けること? 危険ですか? おーいちょっと待ってよ!逃げないでよ。 なぜ気を付けろと言ったのかな?


最初に   富士山

あー 綺麗ね。 写真で見たことがある富士山かなあ。

よし行こう。 あー あのバスは富士山へ行く。 

ええ ひとつだけ? なぜ そんなにたくさんの人が富士山へ行くのかなあ。

あー 着いた! やっぱり高いね! しょうがない登ろう! 

信じられない!  この国は 山を登るときさえ人間渋滞だよ。

あー 動いている! 頂上が見える! 

わ~ 着いた~! すっごく大変だった! でも どうして若い人も、お年寄りも、皆んな難しい山登りが出来るのかなあ?

すごいと思う この国のひとは。

次に 未来

山はもう結構だ! 次は町だ。 行きましょう!

ええ もう一回山だ? 高い! あれっ! 


山っぽいビルディングだよ! 凄い。 なに? 200メートル以上?

信じられないこの国! では入りましょう!

ちょっと失礼します。 お手洗いへいってきます。 

あーー。 あれっ?! 便座が温かい? おかしい。

あれっ?! 助けてくれ!

トイレが故障している。 お水が吹き出してくる!

第3 武道

僕は男だ!やはり強くなるしかない。 この国は武道で有名だね。 

では決まった。 武士になるぞ!

道場へ行こう。 なぜ皆は黒い衣装を着ていますか? 

あそう 忍者なんだ。 今何をするべきですか? 

痛い痛い! いったい何が起こっているの?

僕はああまた投げられた。 初心者だっていうのにーーー 


第4 地震

逃げるしかない。 最近逃げるばかりだけどたぶん遠く行ったほうがいいかもしれない。

あれっ! いったいなに。。。

"地震だ 地震だ 危ない"

どうする? あーアニメで見ました。 巨人だ!


おーい巨人辞めた方がいいよ! 俺は武士なんだ。

終わった! ほーほーほー やっぱり俺の方が強かった。

では帰ろう。 ええ なに? 

地震のせいでバスも電車も止まってしまった? まさか。


最後に お遍路

うぇうぇ! 人も町ももう結構です! 自然行きたい。 


凄い! 四国でお遍路ができる。 そうしましょう!

わー あの格好いいお遍路さんの着物着れますか? ありがとう!



でも寒い 四国の山の上の正月は。 雪が降っている。


"おーい君! 俺はここに山小屋を知っているよ"

あーありがとうございます。 おじさんの家ですか? 

"違うよ! 仏様が造ってお遍路さんのために無料で開いているのさ。 実は俺はホームレスなんだ。"



すごくきれいよ! ホームレスさん上手だよ! 

少し援助させてくれませんか? 絵を買いたいです。

"いいえいいえ 友達になったのでもちろん無料でプレゼントしますよ"

でもさ! ホームレスなんだから少しをあげるのはいいとおもう。 



ありがとう! では山を降りましょう。 さようなら。 

今日は本当に寒いね。 夜までに旅館を見つけられるかなあ。

やっぱり見つけられなかった。 しょうがない。 そとで寝るしかない。 

寝るには寒すぎる! 運動して暖めよう。 すこし温まった。

寝てみよう。 寒すぎるよ! 運動して暖めよう。 すこし温まった。

あー ご来光だ! 運が善かった! 

"おーい君! 温かいコーヒーがあるよ。 







"へえーお遍路さんですか 昨日どこに泊まりましたか? ええ外で? 仏様のように泊まってすごいとおもいます。ちょっと援助したいです"


いいえ。いいえ。 受けとれません! やさし過ぎる!

"いいよ。いいよ。 取っておきなさいよ。 

息子があなたを高知までつれて行きます! あそこに用事があるから"


これが日本での今までに体験した冒険です。 一生忘れられないすごい体験をしました。

ありがとう ございました!

Tha Japan Adventure
(English Translation)

"Is it the first time you are going to Japan?"

"Yes, the first time to really leave my country. The first time to really experience a different country and culture. I am all excited about it."

"I see. In that case you'd better be careful. See ya!"

"Be careful? Is it dangerous? Hey wait! Don't run away! Hmm I wonder why he told me to be careful?"

And that's how last year in July I ended up coming from Germany to Japan.

Act I: MtFuji

Boah how beautiful! I've seen that one on pictures, that must be Fujisan. Yeah let's go, I want to go there. Oh cool there's a bus heading for it and there's still an empty seat in it. Huh? Only one empty seat? I wonder why so many people go there.

Cool I'm there. Woah! As I though it's really tall. Well decided is decided, let's mountain climb.

Oh my, I am only half way to the top, but there is an incredible amount of people here, so that going on has become really tiresome. I don't believe this country! On a mountain that high you can get stuck in a human traffic jam! Incredible!

Ah people are moving...
Oh I can see the top...

Fianally, I reached the top, yesss! But wow! There are so many people here! Both young and old, I wonder how all of them manage the tough climb. Amazing this country.

Act II: Future

I have enough of mountains, let's go to the city.
Huh?! Another mountain? No wait that's a building there. And a really tall one too. A building like a mountain! What? Over 200 meters high, amazing!
Incredible this country!

Well let's enter it. Ahem! If you could excuse me for an instance, I'd like to go wash my hands. Ahh, huh?! The toilet seat is warm? How strange! I wonder what these buttons are for? *press press*
Ahh! Help me! The toilet is broken! It is spraying water at me!

Act III: Martial Arts

*running away from the toilet*
I am a man! As expected, I have no choice but to get stronger! This country is well known for its formidable martial arts.
That's decided then. I will become a martial arts fighter!

Okay let's see where the next Dojo is. Aha!
Hmm I wonder why everyone in here is wearing black garments. Oh because they are Ninja, I see. Well and what am I supposed to do now?
Ouch Ouch! What in the world is going on?
Ah man I have been thrown down again. I know that I am still a beginner, but --- Ah man again...

Act IV: Earthquakes

I had no other choice but to run away again. Lately I have been running away a lot. Maybe I should go a little away from here.
Ah! What in the world is happening?

"Earthquake! Earthquake! Danger!"

Damn it! What should I do?
Ah I've seen that one before in Anime! It's a giant.
I bet this huge Buddha there is causing the earthquake.

"Hey giant! You'd better stop that, because I am a real Ninja!"

It stopped! Ho ho ho, as I thought I proofed to be stronger.
Well that being settled let's return.
What? Because of the earthquake all buses and trains were canceled? Damnit what should I do now?

Act V: A Pilgrimage

*sniff sniff* I have enough of both humans and cities. I wanna go to the nature. And think about my future in the midst of trees and mountain rivers.
Great! You can do a pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku. Yes that's what I'll do.
Woah! I can really wear these cool pilgrim's cloths on the pilgrimage? Thank You!

Alright let's start.
I don't quite understand this map, but I have a compass, it should be ok. But damn! It's really cold here on top of the mountains on Shikoku around new year. There is a lot of snow here. And I got neither sleeping bag nor a place to sleep in. Damn it, I guess I am in real trouble.

"Hey boy! I know a mountain hut in this area, where you can sleep!"

"Oh wow! Thank you mister! Is it your hut?"

"Oh no! The hut was built by a real Buddha, who opened it for free for all pilgrims."


"You know, in reality I am nothing more than a homeless person on a pilgrimage for his whole life. But I like to draw and have some pictures here. You want to see some?"

"Hey man, they are wonderful! You are really talented. Damn, I want to support you a little and buy a picture from you, can I?"

"No Way! We have become friends, so of course I give it to you for free as a present!"

"But but since you are homeless, I think its ok to give you at least a little. Please close your eyes!"
*puts a 10.000 Yen bill in his pocket*

"Well we are leaving now downhill. Thanks for everything and take care!"

Oh man! It's really cold today. I wonder if we'd be able to find a place to sleep until the night breaks in.
As I feared, we didn't find anything. Well there's no other choice, but to sleep out in the open.

Ok let's try to sleep. Damn it's too cold. Let's do some exercises to warm us up. Ok we are a little warm now, let's try to sleep. Damn it's too cold. Let's do some exercises to warm us up. Ok we are a little warm now, let's try to sleep....

Ah the morning sun! I am so glad...

"Hey boy! I have some warm coffee over here. Don't you wanna come over and rest a little in my home?"

"Oh wow how nice!"

"You know, my 77 year old mother also made this pilgrimage for over 70 times, mostly not for herself but for other people."


*the mother arrives and speaks with the voice of an old lady*
"Ohhh pilgrims! Tell me, where have you slept last night? Ohhh on the outside? Incredible. You have slept like real Buddhas. I want to support you a little."

*tries to give us a 10.000 Yen bill*

"Oh no way! Wah can't accept that, that's way to friendly!"

"No no it's ok, take it! nd my son here is going to the station, he will take you with him!"

So after all this old lady proofed to be the real Buddha alive.


So that were my adventures in Japan until this day. They have become wonderful experiences, which I will not forget for my whole live.

Thank You!

Final Remarks

When I was speaking the speech above, I was dressing according to the act. E.g. with a black bandanna and a plastic katana in the Martial Arts part, and as pilgrim in the last part. For Fuji and the giant I was showing the pictures you can see above. And for the toilet I was using a chair.
In the end I was jumping around the stage quite a bit ^=^

looking forwards to new adventures

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