An Englishwoman like me performing traditional Japanese picture storytelling - Kamishibai - in Japanese, but with an English story, is only a tiny bit less odd than triffids in tokyo. But that didn't stop me last week: I performed my very first Kamishibai to a group of 40 or 50 intent (read 'polite' rather than 'rapt') 4 year olds.
In Japanese, Jack and the Beanstalk is 'Jack to Mame no Ki'
It was one of those serendipitous accidents - I didn't mean to land myself infront of a big class with my hastily drawn pictures and super simplified storyline. But by some sort of linguistic mistake (I'm now practically famous for those), after I mentioned my work in progress in passing - 'Jack to Mame no Ki: Kamishibai' - appeared on a schedule. When something appears on a schedule here in Tokyo, it means that it is happening, unless you can give a good reason why not. I don't have the Japanese.
So, tingling with nerves and deading yet more abject humiliation, I went for it
A bit sheepishly at first
Then it just got too fun and I forgot to be sheepish
The highlight was definitely the bit near the beginning where Jack brings home a bean from the market instead of money and the shopping. Here is the offending bean
And here is Jack's mum when she sees it
What started off as a terrifying prospect ended up being immense fun. For me, at least. Who knows how much of my Japanese narration actually made sense? I've decided not to think about it - best just look forward to the next one.
I have a sudden urge to buy colouring pens.