Wednesday, October 11, 2006

More fiddling ...

Following up on yesterday's post, I have spent an (unproductive?) morning looking for the Japanese translation of "Tradition". Although I haven't been able to find the lyrics themselves, I did manage to settle the question I asked yesterday (which no-one else answered). The word they are singing is "shikitari" which means 'a tradition'. It actually does appear in my Japanese-English dictionary, but not in my English-Japanese one. Which just goes to show that sometimes, in order to find something, you have to know what you're looking for first. I'm not sure what that proves, but it proves something, I'm sure.

Anyway, the source of this answer was what proved to be an interesting article on Fiddler, that provides an interesting look at the musical itself, and its place in the folk-lore of American Jewry. (Particularly loved her "gay beats goy" comment, referring to Harvey Fierstein taking over as Tevye from Alfred Molina).

For what it's worth, the reactions I received (on- and offline) to this post were almost as interesting as the video itself, ranging from "F*^&%ing Brill" from the wonderful Stephanie, through chuckles and giggles, to things like "ohhh! I've got to see Fiddler again!", and finally, to the somewhat bemusing (and dare I say, condescending) "why would they bother?".

Personally, the video continues to enchant me. I was in an amateur production of Fiddler as a teenager (I was one of the sons, doing, by the way, the very same moves that the sons are doing in the Japanese rehearsal - even the original Jerome Robbins choreography is apparently a matter of unalterable tradition, it would seem), and it has had a special place in my heart ever since. So every time I watch this Japanese version (and I have watched it many times since first seeing it yesterday), I get a small shiver of delight - it brings back so many memories, even though none of them are Japanese. That's probably because the video is of a rehearsal and I can remember our own rehearsal pianist tinkering away on some plunky upright in a church hall somewhere as we plodded through those very same steps.

And as for the gay man's inexplicable attraction to musical theater, well, some things are apparently a matter of ...

Shikitari!!

3 Comments:

Anonymous noorster said...

I watched the clip three times back to back this morning, and I think I agree with one of the comments on YouTube:
"I expected this to make me laugh and instead it actually made me weepy."

12 October, 2006 00:01  
Blogger bullfighter6.2 said...

Sorry for not being so helpful from Japan!
I only got chance to watch the clip today. How strange!

But the Japanese love adaptations of things. When I first arrived here, I turned on the t.v. to find a production of Anne of Green Gables being done in Tokyo. It was strange to see them all dressed up in Victorian Canadian dresses, with the Union Jack flying in the background. Odd.

It does bring back memories of theatre - specifically the production of Sound of Music I was in in highschool.

The Stratford Festival Theatre did an amazing production of Fiddler a few years back, complete with revolving stage. It blew everyone away.
This Japanese production is odd in another way. It seems to be a fully attended show, but there are people walking around in the background and the actors are semi-costumed. One dude is in a grey t-shirt, another in a spring parka. Is it just an open rehearsal?

I shouldn`t get started on the oh-so-many bastardizations the Japanese are famous for. Personally, I think they should stick to things beginning containing the word Samurai.

14 October, 2006 01:18  
Blogger Nominally Challenged said...

Noorster - I couldn't agree more.

Bullfighter - I'm pretty sure it's a rehearsal. They've invested too much in getting the choreography right, on the one hand, and the tinkering piano seems a give-away also. I still think there's something enchanting about this production - it doesn't bother me that it's in Japanese, and it doesn't strike me as odd that it should be. But perhaps I have a rose-tinted view of Japan that you, after spending these past few years there, don't share. I'm sure that you will one day write something summarizing your experiences over there, and I really look forward to reading it. I'm sure it will be an eye-opener, and probably highly amusing :)

15 October, 2006 02:20  

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