Today Somemaru had two shows, at different venues. The first show was at the Hanjôtei. I am thrilled that Kamigata Rakugo finally has its own yose again (est. 2006, the first in the post-WWII era). Somemaru finished today’s Hanjôtei appearance with an auspicious dance to celebrate the New Year.
On the way to the next show we stopped by the temple Isshinji, near in Tennoji, to pay a visit to the grave of Hayashiya Somemaru II (1867-1952), which essentially serves as a symbol for this great artistic name, and its history, which dates back to the first Somemaru (c. 1831-1877). The second show of the day was at the Isshinji theater, where the current Somemaru performs annually.
At both venues I received otoshi-dama from elder storytellers. When I get money gifts in this fashion it is my obligation to go directly to Somemaru, show him the envelope(s) that holds the money, announce who it is from, and tell Somemaru “thank you.” After all, if I weren’t associated with Somemaru, I wouldn’t receive such gifts. It was a busy day, but it was nice to get back into the swing of things with rakugo after the holiday hiatus.
Finally, I have to share one more picture. We ran into this sign that reads “Aizen san,” for a nearby temple and pond. A second possible reading for the Chinese characters is “Aisome san,” the name of this pupil, who is currently undergoing training with Somemaru.