See you soon いってらっしゃい

Today Somemaru left for a weekend of shows in cities like Izumo and Takamatsu. I went early this morning to help with preparations for departure, and to drive him to the shinkansen (bullet train) station in the afternoon. Since I won’t be joining him on this trip I have the weekend off. This is a rare luxury, so I will use the time wisely to clean up my own place and do some reading, etc. See you soon, Shishô.

今週末、師匠は出雲や高松などで落語会があるので、今日出発なさいました。午前中は出る準備を手伝って、昼すぎに車で新幹線まで送りました。今回は僕は一緒に行かないので、今週末は暇になりました。自分の時間ができるというのは本当にありがたいことです。時間を上手く使って、自分の部屋を掃除したり本を読んだりしょうと思っています。師匠、いってらっしゃいませ。

Learn on Your Own 自分で習え

Somemaru had to teach Sumiyoshi odori (dance) at the Hanjôtei today, so after breakfast we changed clothes and headed out. It is always fun for me to wear yukata (thin, cotton kimono, usually worn during summer months, or for practice, work, or something else that might make you sweat), but today was my first time to drive wearing one. I got several strange looks from other drivers, and even a couple policemen. Somemaru got a kick out of this.

After dance practice Somemaru had a meeting with the manager of the Hanjôtei. Somemaru proposed ending music and dance classes (narimono kyôshitsu) for a number of reasons, the most significant being that only a few out of 15 or 20 zenza seem to actually be learning anything. Somemaru pointed out the fact that some masters, despite Kamigata rakugo being such a musical art, don’t really feel it’s important to learn anything besides storytelling. In this, some hanashika do nothing but shinsaku (lit. newly-composed) rakugo, which most often leaves traditional instruments out altogether.

Somemaru today expressed that he feels a brief indroduction to the basics of yose bayashi and dance is important, but following that formal introductions to outside teachers can be made to young hanashika who are truly intent on learning arts that will enable them to make their rakugo more “colorful” (hade). The result of today’s meeting was a decision to discontinue the narimono kyôshitsu as of March 31. If in the future there are serious requests for another class with regular meeting times, there is a chance that things will recommence, though, perhaps, with new guidelines for participants.

All this said, Somemaru truly feels that it is important for hanashika to learn outside (non-rakugo) traditional arts like Japanese dance, yose bayashi, etc. This, he says, will help them make their art more enjoyable to listen to and watch. Personally, Somemaru is a big fan of kabuki. He seems to have entire plays memorized. In fact, he even subscribes to the Kabuki Channel. Hardly a day goes by that we don’t watch kabuki at his house! Not surprisingly, Somemaru has many shibaibanashi (kabuki-inspired rakugo stories, which have a long history in Osaka) in his repetoire. Again, Somemaru feels practicing various arts is very important. Experiencing various things is important.

Speaking of having experiences, when I was a minarai apprentice of Katsura Bunshi V (1930-2005) he said half-jokingly that hanashika also need to spend time drinking, gambling, and carousing. Apparently hanashika need to know about these “three paths of pleasure” (sandôraku) since they are often found in rakugo stories.

今日、師匠が繁昌亭で住吉踊りを教える日だったので、朝食後に着替えて出かけました。浴衣を着るのがいつにしても楽しいけど、今日は初めて浴衣を着たままで運転しました。通っていたトライバー、そうしておまわりさんまでも僕の方へ見ていて「えっ?」みたいな顔をしていました。師匠がこれに笑っていました。

踊りのお稽古の後に、師匠が繁昌亭のマネジャーと会議がありました。鳴物教室を暫く止めましょうという話になりました。その理由の一つは、長いことをお稽古しても、前座15〜20人の中から数人しか上達しないからです。確かに一門一門のやり方があって、教室がなくても構わない方もおられるでしょう。噺以外必要なもの(芸)はないと思っているかたもおられるし、ハメモノがあまり入らない新作落語ばかりやっている方もいます。

定期的な教室を行うより、たまに興味を持つ前座に寄席囃子や鳴物などの簡単な入門ワークショップをやった方がいいかもしれません。その後、自分の落語を派手に(面白く・深く)するために他の芸を本気で習いたい前座がいたら、染丸師匠などがちゃんとした師範を紹介することも考えてくださるかもしれません。結局、今日の会議の結果は3月いっぱいで鳴物教室が暫く中止になることです。将来的に、教室をお願いする人がたくさんいたら、鳴物教室がまたできるでしょう。

落語でない芸、鳴物、踊り、その他、を勉強することはとても大事だと染丸師匠が心より思っています。例えば、師匠の場合、歌舞伎の大ファンで、歌舞伎の台詞・曲・舞などをたくさん覚えています。歌舞伎チャネルまでも予約しています。さすが!師匠の家で歌舞伎を見ない日はなかなかありません。当たり前のことかもしれないけど、師匠の落語レペトリーに芝居噺(歌舞伎から取った、または歌舞伎の影響がある噺)がたくさん入っています。ですから、鳴物教室が一時期なくなっても、師匠がそれぞれのお稽古は大事だと思っています。それぞれの経験は大事です。

経験の話を申しますと、五代目桂文枝の見習いをしていた時、ある日に文枝師匠が冗談半分でこういうこと言ってくださいました:三道楽(女、酒、賭け事)は落語によく出るから、噺家に三道楽も必要。

Bunraku and Shikishi 文楽と色紙

Today Somemaru was still in Tokyo, but he was kind to leave me with tickets to the Bunraku theater. This afternoon I enjoyed the New Year’s (lit. “Welcoming of Spring”) program that the National Bunraku Theater is putting on during the month of January. Somemaru thinks it is important to learn as much as possible about–not to mention view/listen to–popular performing arts that have flourished since the Edo period. He says knowing more about these will help one ultimately know more about rakugo. In that sense, this was a field-trip day for me.

Without any time to waste after the show I had to speed to Shin Osaka station by car to pick up Somemaru. Once home he brought out various art supplies and calligraphy brushes, to make special, framed shikishi (square piece of high-quality paperboard, for writing poems or painting pictures) as thank-you gifts for the directors of Rinseikai, his official fan club. Somemaru is quite the artist/calligrapher, as you can tell by the photos below.

今日、染丸師匠はまだ東京にいらっしゃいましたが、とても優しいことに大阪で行われる文楽のチケットを僕にくださいました。今日の午後に国立文楽劇場の迎春、一月部の芝居を見に行ってきました。染丸師匠が思うには、江戸時代から繁盛してきた演劇・芸能をできるだけ知った、見た、そして聴いた方がいいとのことでした。なぜならば、これらを知っていたら落語のことがもっとわかるからです。こういう風に考えると、今日は僕の学習旅行でした。

芝居の後、時間を無駄にする間もなく、車で新大阪まで師匠を迎えに飛ばないといけなかったです。帰ったら師匠は色んな絵の具や筆を出して、林染会(師匠のファンクラブ)のメンバーの感謝色紙を作り始めました。この写真を見たら師匠が絵も書道もとても上手だと分かります。

Harp, Driving, Housekeeping ハープ、運転、家事

One of the worst cellphone applications is the harp-tone alarm clock. I set the “harp” for 6 a.m. to get up and be able to leave by 7, but I slept soundly until 7:05, when I heard a sweet harp playing. With my head on Tempur pillows that Somemaru gave me, and a harp being strummed next to my ear, I thought I had died and gone to heaven… “GET UP!!” I suddenly yelled at myself. “You have to leave RIGHT NOW!!” I coached myself out of bed and into my pants. Without coffee, a shower, or shaving, I was off running for the station in a baseball cap. I guess there’s nothing like cold January blue sky to open your sleepy eyes. Just save that harp for bedtime.

I had to head out two hours early today to pick up breakfast for everybody then drive Somemaru to Shin Osaka to get on the Shinkansen (bullet train). Somemaru has four shows over the next two days in Tokyo.

I got Somemaru to the station on time, then headed back to his place to fold some kimono, and clean his house. After I got everything done there I went home to put my bedding away and clean up my own place. After that I spent the day reading, and practicing rakugo and shamisen.

翻訳を大変お待たせしております。

Early Morning 早朝

This morning I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to be at Somemaru’s with his car. I had to drive him and Aisome to Osaka Airport for a flight to Tokyo, where Somemaru will be performing January 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9. I will only be playing driver on the Osaka end as they make a few trips back and forth, so this will afford me some time to catch up on some reading and personal errands.

On my way home I picked up some Osaka references at Kinokunia Bookstore in Umeda. I recommend these works if Osaka dialect and old maps interest you:

Makimura, Shiyô, ed. Osaka kotoba jiten (trans. Encyclopedia of Osaka Language). Tokyo: Kodansha Press, 2009 (28th ed., now in paperback, 772pp. + 13pp. index). ¥1950.

Hondo, Akira. Osaka kochizu mukashi no annai: yomi toki Osaka dai ezu (trans. A Guide to Yesteryear through Early Maps of Osaka: Reading and Comprehending Large Illustrated Maps of Osaka). Osaka: Sôgensha Press, 2010 (paperback, 210pp. + 3pp. index; numerous black and white images of illustrated maps, one larger color map [insert] of early modern [Jôkyô 4, 1687] Osaka). ¥2000.

翻訳を大変を待たせしております。