Last two days were spent engaged in an English camp with a bunch of high school kids. The venue: a strange oil rig like monolith out in the middle of a harbour north of Wakayama in Osaka prefecture. As far as any of us English speakers could make out the place seemed to be an educational establishment centred around the theme of 'oceans' and so it was that, at 9am, I found myself playing the Rizla game with 12 Japanese teenagers in the 'Antarctic Ocean' room. Contrary to my expectations, the room was very warm. And not particularly Antarcticy. It was orange.
The kids were great. I surprised myself by having an extremely good time. There was a treasure hunt with a pirate theme. I attempted to maintain a pirate style demeanour for the duration, saying 'Arrrrhhhh' and 'Me heartys' and such. The kids thought I was insane. In Japan pirates are a little different. I blame One Piece. The white team won the treasure hunt despite having got lost and actually leaving the designated compound for 20 minutes and having absolutely no idea how to get back. I was the leader of the white team.
Day the second and a performance of short play looms. White team rehearses 'Puss in Boots'. I direct. I have a vision. Actors trample upon said vision. My heated diatribe concerning voice projection goes unheaded. I espouse the virtues of Stanislavsky as opposed to a Brechtian approach. The white team choose to ignore me. I tell them they have no hope of joining the RSC and let them get on with it. We perform the play. We win. Scratch that. They perform the play. They win.
Prizes are given out. The white team recieves first prize; a huge bag of sweets and chocolate. I congratulate them. They worked hard. I go to collect my bag from the teachers room. As I go to leave, the white team are all grouped in front of me. They give me a box of Apollo from their prize bag and say 'arigatou'. And I imagine that they have no idea they just created one of my favourite moments in Japan.



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