Monday, October 16, 2006

The story of the Brother's Club

...is a quick translation of the title of the play I just finished up this past weekend. It ruled - I got to drink during the play in keeping with my role of drunken Army brat (it was Budweiser though. bleh), got to dance and get friendly with a pretty fine actress (get your thoughts out of my pants... you dirty, dirty person), and was then forced to bellow numerous obscenities whilst beligerantly altercating with another occidental. Yeah. The play itself only lasted about 20 minutes or so, and we were supposed to sing "Danny Boy" at the end, but most of us didn't really know the words so we faked it. No one was the wiser.

I would have to say that the culmination of the whole production was at the end - they most definitely saved the best for last. The first two nights, we were accompanied by a band of 4 - drums, bass, sax/clarionet, and piano. For the last show on Sunday though, they were joined by the brass section of a 40's style big band, and they added a couple swing numbers to their repertoire. Now the other nights the band leader invited people to dance if they wanted, but of course no one did so we had to. The last night though, a couple from the crowd got up and actually started swing dancing - rather well I might add. So yeah, better music, better atmosphere, more dancing, full house... good times to be sure.

And but of course there were after parties to go along with everything. We talked all the girls into coming out with us on Friday, so we dragged them out to an all-you-can-drink place (that's soooo much easier to say in Japanese) and kept them out way past our bedtimes. ;P There was also another party that everyone went to after the whole thing was done on Sunday, followed by a nice little karaoke session and a stop by a ramen place to cap things off before passing out. I can only think of one thing that might have made it better.

So - the Jazz Festival and now all this have shown me that Sendai has quite a jazz scene history. The play itself was written by this guy whose mother worked in the original "Brother's Club", which is an actual place in Sendai that was taken by occupational forces as the local watering hole post WWII. In addtion to being known as a jazz club, there was plenty of debauchery as it was a quasi-legal bordello from the sounds of it. Officially no prostitution was allowed though. The place itself still stands to this day, but is now just a restaurant that does a number of different styles from Chinese to Italian. This producer (and also the pianist in the band) just happen to do shows from time to time at my place of occupation, which is how I got the gig in the first place. I'll say it again - I love my job. ;P

...and on that note, I have about 2 weeks of laundry and cleaning to catch up to and haven't touched my Japanese books in about as long, so back to it.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why are you complaining about having to drink Budweiser beer? Just because the bottle says "Budweiser" doesn't mean it needs to contain it! I assume it was a bottle anyway, as a can would have been an anachronism in a immediately post WW-II Japan setting.

darg said...

Yes, but in this case it did contain the swill known worldwide as being the "king of American beers." To me the travesty is that there actually are halfway decent beers in the US, but unfortunately because Bud has all the money that's what people know. Give me a Blue Moon or Yuengling over Bud any day!

And yes you're right - it was a bottle. I did hear later from my Japanese tutor that the mambo didn't gain popularity in Japan until after the occupational period though, so our production was not totally unanachronistic. Good word by the way, bravo.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure of the dances that would have been in vogue at that time, as I wasn't born yet. I recall swing as being part of the forties scene and perhaps the jitterbug or boogie-woogie would have been in as well. Of course this is off the top of my head, so I wouldn't place a wager on it. I imagine it wouldn't be hard to do some web searching and get the answer if it is still important.