Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Les Miserables at Hakataza!

Yesterday, I went to watch Les Miserables at 博多座 (hakataza - Hakata Theatre). It was by a Japanese cast, so yup, the entire thing was in Japanese!

The steps to Hakataza
I've been to watch musicals in Singapore (I love Wicked), so I imagined that going to a musical in Japan would be the same - just in Japanese. But I was so wrong. After you hand over your ticket (but before you enter the theatre and take your seats), you'll take the escalator and enter...

A market. Seriously. It's not one or two stall selling snacks. There were many stalls selling snacks, omiyage, jewelry, programs (ok, the program is a given), DVDS, even kiwis! I don't know if this is normal, but I was quite shocked. And because of that, snacked so much.

The musical itself was awesome! I realised it was a little harder to catch the words in Japanese (plus, I'd already memorised most of the songs in English, so my brain was trying to translate, which weirdly made me understand less), but seeing the play and watching the movie are so different. The movie can zoom out and let you see the big picture, but the play is so much more intimate. The voices of the actors and actresses hit me with so much more force. And because of the stage (which means that we can only see one side), the way each scene was acted out was different.

Actually, I think the movie interpreted the play differently. At least, some scenes in the musical were in a different order from the play. It was interesting hearing Do You Hear The People Sing straight after ABC Cafe, but I'm not sure if it's that powerful.

Still... all the little kids were way too adorable!

When the musical ended, I think I clapped for about five minutes. Then waved. The cast was waving to the audience and the audience waved back (and yes, there was a standing ovation - it was done pretty late though).

I'd buy the soundtrack in Japanese, but it costs as much as my ticket. Which means I can't bring myself to pay that much money. Still, I'm looking forward to the next musical!


  1. Okay, now I'm genuinely jealous (I'm a fan of Les Mis). Do they sell the soundtrack at a general music store in Japan or just at the theatre? I'm curious what does the music sound like in Japanese :/

    It's also a common sight in Indonesia for that kind of market you mentioned about to be around in musical events. It sucks though, drained my wallet in exchange for foods.

    By the way, I passed the MEXT undergraduate scholarship written test and bound for interview next monday. Wish me luck so that I could study in Japan, just like you ;)

    1. Hey Ian,

      I haven't found the Japanese soundtrack at a music store yet (I did find the English version though). The music sounds exactly the same, but the lyrics are in Japanese.

      Congrats on passing the written test! Hope you pass the interview and get to come here!



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