Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Puppeteer at the Consulate-General of Japan’s reception

I got dressed rather early for the Aki Matsuri reception at the residence of the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle. I’d already checked my outfit with Nora on Thursday before the last rehearsal started. She couldn’t go this year but she has gone several times. She gave me the idea that the little black dress was in good order and that wearing my michiyuki over it would be just fine.
127 - proof
They included both a map and written directions in with the invitations…and they were easy to follow. I left early too because the invitations had words like “things will begin promptly” and “6:30pm Sharp”. I ended up a whole ½ hour early. The house of the Consulate was old and beautiful with brick paths and Tudor windows and exterior. There were two greeters outside and just inside I found a table with a name badge all prepared for me. The room was downstairs and it had a door out to the back garden and lawn. Standing out there you seemed to be on the very pinnacle of Queen Anne, looking down on to the Seattle and the Puget Sound.
I felt a tad awkward on first arriving, because it seemed that there was no one I knew yet arrived. But Tom was there and he introduced me to the Senior Aide for Information and Cultural Affairs who was so kind enough as to give me his business card so I can tell you for a fact that I just reported exactly who he is. There were many introductions after that which put my Japanese to the test. I said ‘nihongo ga dekimasen’ because I learned to use dekimasu in Japanese class two years ago in March and I wanted to use it…sort of like Eliza Dolittle “The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.” How sad my Japanese has become! I found myself understanding a lot more than being able to reply—which is frustrating. There were many speeches at first—which naturally were spoken twice, once in each language.
Then we all went outside to watch the sword demonstration. I remembered as I fished in my purse for my camera to turn my cell phone on silent mode…this was a good catch because I do have a Monday calendar event. I would’ve been mortified if it went off during the demo…it would’ve too. I took quite a few pictures of the demo, but I was only pleased with a few of them.
096 - determination
After the demo, we were invited back in to toast the Aki Matsuri and partake of the banquet of food. I tried a little of everything. It was rather good. I sat with several women in the chairs along the walls and enjoyed good conversation. I heard several reports of children enjoying the puppet shows and got several compliments on the large crowds we gathered and entertained. However, all the folks in attendance were organizers and they all were manning tables or running errands during the puppet shows. One person did say he stopped to watch briefly and several mentioned that their children enjoyed it. Everyone was in agreement that it was a really good location for it.
Towards the end of the evening, several of the younger crowd had a little fun helping each other get pictures of ourselves on our own cameras. That was nice. I think everyone was glad to get a proof-of-attendance picture. People seemed more relaxed then. Alcohol was being served and even if you don’t actually imbibe, does allow the atmosphere at a Japanese function to relax a little.
All in all, this puppeteer enjoyed herself and felt welcomed and appreciated by the event.

Speaking of appreciation, I would like to thank the following folks for attending the shows on Sunday:
• Christy and her friend
• Pat
• Diana
• Scott
• Frank
• Don
• Diana
042 - Frank Don and Diana
Mimibunko also did us the honor of watching our show Sunday morning. They gave me hugs afterwards as well as good feedback!. It was a pleasure to share the stage and the green room with them.

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