Japanese Opera: Yu-zuru

Yu-zuru is the story of a man who helps a crane in trouble, and in return, the crane turns into a women to repay her debt to the man.

I received a flyer some time ago advertising a Japanese Opera, and since it was relatively cheap for students, Nicky, Erin and I all decided to go. It was my first time making an account and paying for something completely in Japanese, so I was pretty excited. The opera was held at the only opera house in Japan that is university run, so naturally they favor students in their pricing.

The opera was directly after our tea ceremony class though, and on the opposite end of town, so we had to rush home to change. It was a good excuse to dress fancy, so I wore my best black dress and heels, and did my hair to the side over my shoulder, with one of Nicky’s fancy hair ties. She also let me borrow a black shawl. I think I looked pretty good, though we didn’t get any pictures of me that night (something that is turning out to be pretty common, as I am the photographer on this trip).... anyway, naturally, the first thing we have to do once we’re dressed is get to the opera house.... by bicycle.

I got so many looks! It was hilarious. Biking as fast as we can in dresses and heels and done up hair down the streets of Kyoto, on a orange, green and red bike. It’s actually not hard to bike around in a dress or heels, just somewhat embarrassing.

We got to the opera house ten minutes late, but it turned out to be a blessing since, as the show had already started, we were allowed to take the closest seats available to the door, which gave us a fantastic view of the opera from the second level.

I thought the opera was interesting, if a little hard to follow. I liked the story, and the singers, and the songs, but I thought the set could have had a little more effort put in. It didn’t change at all.... I think the prettiest moment was when the crane, as a woman, cried as snow fell through the bamboo. It was a very Japanese story, with no happy ending, but the man had misused his gift, so I felt it fitting he should be left with nothing. Over all, a good story. I’m looking forward to the next play we’re planning to see in November.