Thursday, October 27, 2005

We are Gentlemen from Japan

If you must know who we are
We are gentlemen from Japan

Last Friday, I had coffee with a student just back from two weeks in Japan; he was helping a colleague settle in for a Fulbright year there. Most days, I read Ty’s blog about his year in the JET program: he’s teaching in Japan. Out of the blue, last month, I got a postcard from my oldest friend who was on vacation in Japan.

What’s a homebound Anglophile to do? Well, that was me, tapping my feet to The Mikado on the train this morning. Very little can beat Gilbert and Sullivan. It’s not exactly Japan—it really is pretty far from Japan—but the Victorian version of what might be interesting about Japan is hilarious, rousing, lovely, and makes a nice counterpoint to the vagaries of the commute.

When I first got my iPod, I loaded it with the Fernham equivalent of smooth jazz: lots of Brazilian jazz and soulful world music, nothing too loud or strange. That was lovely. But now, the floodgates are open and I am just putting every single thing onto it. It makes shuffle a little unnerving (Willie Nelson came on the other day. How can that be? Well, he’s on the Johnny Cash retrospective…), but I must say that it’s lovely to have the Gilbert and Sullivan option.


Anonymous said...

My daughter has virtually *all* show tunes on her iPod. A few days ago, we took her to see "Good Night, and Good Luck." While we were waiting for the movie to start, what was playing, but the music from Mikado (without the words). Two people in the audience were singing along -- my 12-year-old daughter, and the 60-plus-year-old man sitting right behind her.

Nora may not have understood the film (which was exceptional), but she understands Gilbert and Sullivan!

Bud Parr said...

I love Gilbert & Sullivan!

If you like soulful world music, you might like Mercedes Sosa's lastest album, Corazon Libre. She's an Argentinian singer, with an updated Folklore sound (notable for it's heavy drum beat, virtually absent from this most recent album)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to Ty's blog. My son goes to a Japanese immersion school--math, science and health are all taught in Japanese by Japanese instructors. (and this is a public school!)..He's only 8 but his fluency astounds us. I know he'll love this blog-- Wen

genevieve said...

Anne, did you see 'Topsy Turvy' - on the making of The Mikado, it's a wonderful film. There's also a terrific thirties film of the operetta which is very atmospheric.
Last year my youngest daughter performed in 'Hot Mikado' which I approached with trepidation - but the adaptation of G&S to a Chicago jazz idiom was right on.

Unknown said...

Wow! all very exciting--and most exciting of all to see that so many of us bookish bloggers are hungry from G&S talk. Very amusing. I have to rent "Topsy Turvy"--have only seen a bit of it. Anyway, you all made my day! Thanks!