September 27th, 2011
|12:29 am - ~A Wonderful Day~|
Some days are just so perfect you wish you could re-live it once more. Today was one of those days for me.
A few weeks ago a student told me that at the Hakataza theatre in Fukuoka there was going to be a showing of the musical "The Three Musketeers" (in Japanese "San Jushi/三銃士"). The main actor playing d'Artagnan was Yoshio Inoue, whom I had heard a little bit of because he had performed in shows with ex-Takarazuka actresses before. The actress for Milady, the main villainess, was Sena Jun, ex-Top Star for Tsukigumi in Takarazuka. Sena was one of my favourite Top Stars in Takarazuka but since she had retired by the time I came to Japan I couldn't see her live on stage, but now was my chance. I knew the story of the Three Musketeers, I liked the story, I knew I'd love the costumes, and on top of that I get to see Sena in person, so off I ran to the nearest ticket counter and got myself a ticket (after some fumbling around with my wonderfully non-articulate Japanese).
So today was the big day I had waited impatiently for. Last night I was so excited I didn't even sleep! At 7:30am I started getting ready, donning an all-black outfit of dress shirt and pants, with a red tie for emphasis and my red top hat to give it that little extra quirk. I headed for the bus station at 9:10am and got there with plenty of time to spare for my 9:45am bus. On the bus I thought I'd be sleepy since I didn't sleep the night before, but I was wide awake.
The poster for the show outside the theatre.
After arriving in Fukuoka I headed for the theatre. It was my first time going there so I wanted to go there early, but luckily the route was really simple and a brisk 15 minute walk lter I was walking up the stairs of Hakataza, smiling at the many older ladies who gave my outfit a once-over with a raised-eyebrow. Inside the theatre there were lots of small shop stalls selling snacks and souvenirs. Most of the audience were milling about, looking at the merchandise so I decided to pass on the snacks (plus I planned to go clothes shopping afterwards so snacking before was not a good idea) and headed for a booth selling the program booklet for the performance. I bought one and was gifted with a photo of my choosing out of 6, I chose one with Sena in it since she was a big reason why I came in the first place.
Walking into the theatre my heart began racing like it did when I went to watch the Takarazuka performances before. Quickly I found my seat and sat down, checking around to see the layout of the theatre and take in the audience. My seat was 3 rows from the front towards stage right (if you're standing on stage looking out at the audience) so I could see fairly well. The orchestra in the orchestra pit were playing some lighhearted music to keep the audience entertained while we waited for the show to start.
Finally, the staff came out and asked us to turn off our cell phones and not talk during the performance, wishing us an enjoyable show.
Much like the first time I watched a Takarazuka performance, this musical felt like a dream. Not even 24hours has passed and yet I feel like I can't believe I actually saw the show. All of the performers were excellent, their voices amazing and the songs entertaining even though I couldn't understand a lot of it. They mixed some rock into some of the songs and dances which made them quite exciting to watch. I loved the fight scenes with the musketeers and d'Artagnan, it was all coordinated very smoothly and beautifully.
Yoshio Inoue's page in the program booklet.
Yoshio's voice is...holy hell, I don't know how he gets his voice to go so high. In his part as d'Artagnan he really brought out the young, brash and innocent side of the role, running around, getting into trouble, earnestly wanting to help and join the musketeers, and naively falling in love with Constance at first sight. Like I mentioned before, I had seen him a bit in video clips acting with other ex-Takarazuka stars, but in person he was a lot more charming. I think I've become quite a fan, everytime I saw him come running onstage his huge smile made me smile too without my realizing it (plus, he's cute too, and the d'Artagnan role really emphasized his boyish charms).
Sena's page in the program booklet.
Sena was everything I expected and more. At first when she started singing I couldn't help grinning at the fact that her voice still had that husky, otokoyaku style. I think her voice was probably even lower than Yoshio's and some of the other actors. She was gorgeous on stage, and I looked forward to every time she made an appearance. Even though she was a villain, in the end I couldn't help sympathizing with her. Also, Sena fighting with a sword? YES, PLEASE! Sena in mini-skirt? WHOA!
By the end of the show I think we applauded for a solid 10 minutes or so, some even giving a standing ovation. If I could I would love to see it again (or buy the DVD...I don't know if TohoStage produces DVDs for their performances).
1 - Sena Jun photo gifted with purchase of program booklet.
2 - Program cover
3 - Main cast
4 - Relationship chart
So after the show it was 4:30pm and I headed back towards Tenjin, one of the shopping districts in Fukuoka. I went directly to Vivre, the shopping centre that had an entire floor for gothic lolita/punk/Japanese street fashion stores and hit up my favourite shops. Usually when I go to Fukuoka it's for work training, so I just go a little earlier and come back a little later to squeeze some time for shopping, but it's not enough time for clothes since I need to try them on and stuff. But today since I had more time I had decided beforehand that I'd shop for clothes. Recently I had re-gained some of the weight I had lost over the summer so I was a little apprehensive about the clothes fitting. All of the stores carried just Medium sizes (though the mediums varied by brand) and before I haven't had much luck finding particularlys shirts, pants or one-pieces. I could only squeeze into squirts as the waist was elastic and hips free-size, but shirts were too tight around the boobs and the upper arm, pants on the waist and thighs and one-piece on...well just everything (sometimes I couldn't even get into it).
My first stop was Putumayo, a not-so-expensive brand I liked to check out. I found a side-strap skirt that fit pretty well, and bought it;
Looking around the shop I decided to chance it, buying a white blouse (in the picture it's the black version, but I bought the white one. It also came with a tie as a set) and a black-and-white vest (the picture is the pink version) without trying them on first;
Second was Kera. Kera's shop carries many brands so it's a good stop to check on the brands that doesn't have stores in the region. I bought an Atelier Boz tuxedo-style trench coat (in the picture it doesn't look like a trench but on me it goes down further);
An adorable Marble brand black with white frills blouse and skirt set;
A black blouse with huge expanding sleeves and cravat (white version pictured, skirt not included);
A Chinese-styled corset with kind of a...semi dress at the bottom (sorry, couldn't find picture and am too lazy to get camera), and a pair of Chinese-styled leg warmers to go with the corset outfit from Qutie Frash (the pictured ones are red, mine are purple since my corset is purple. It kind of looks like a pair of pants in the photo but actually it stops just above the knee and then it hooks to this pair of shorts like a garter belt to make sure the leg warmers don't slide down);
All in all I spent about 140,000 yen (around $1,500 I think), but damn the self esteem lift I got from being able to FIT into SO MANY CLOTHES!! There was only 1 vest I tried on that was too small, and the store clerk told me that that size ran on the small side so even she can't fit into them (and she was really slim). Even the 2 pieces of the clothes from Putumayo that I didn't try on at the store fit great when I tried them on at home. The blouse was even a little too big, that's the first time it's ever happened to me from one of those shops, something being too big on me O__O
I budgeted about 4 hours for shopping but after 2.5 I ran out of money and decided to hit the road home. Lugging my loot of the day with me I went to the bus station and took an early bus back, got home around 9:30pm.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What an amazing day. Definitely I'm going to try to go see more musicals in the future now that I know how to get tickets and stuff. It's just so much fun, dressing up for it, relaxing for a few hours while watching a good story unfold, and being in the company of such talented actors and actresses.
Man I want to wear my new clothes to work tomorrow, but it's totally against the dress code XD