So, as I said before, this weekend was Wicked-in-Osaka weekend. It was also supposed to be Emily's first time to USJ, but with heavy rain and warnings of strong wind for Sunday, we decided to abort and come back another time.
Osaka is Japan's second-biggest city, the commercial centre of Kansai (Western Honshu (the main island)) and is known as the 'tenka no shokudo' - "world's dining room" - for its vast number of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Here's one famous image of Osaka:
The Glico 'Running Man' is a large neon sign, a mascot for a confectionary company and popular landmark to have one's photo taken against. Personally, I'm more of a fan of this Running Man:
...but there's no accounting for taste.
Wicked was performed by the Gekidanshiki - the "Four Seasons Theatre Group" at the Osaka Shiki theatre near Osaka station:
These ladies were not in the cast for our particular performance. Possibly these two are from the earlier Tokyo production.
The set was pretty amazing. It included a dragon animatronic/puppet placed above the station for apparently atmospheric purposes:
In fairness, I took this picture before they announced that photography and recording were strictly forbidden in the Land of Oz.
Anyways, I enjoyed the performance immensely, as did my friends. I was surprised at how much of the Japanese I was able to understand, and I didn't have any trouble following the plot. The rest of the audience were similarly impressed - there were at least five curtain calls. The cast almost looked embarrassed to be so appreciated, and Elphaba and Glinda had to keep gesturing everyone else back on stage every time the curtain went up. I've never seen Japanese people so enthusiastic about something before, and actually I had wondered if they were enjoying it at all because the reception seemed a little cool during the performance. Maybe that's was just typical Japanese reserve, and they held their composure until the appropriate time.
Anyway, I showed my own appreciation through purchase, like a good consumer:
Actually, I hate the Wizard of Oz, but I'm willing to forgive it for creating a world that could be used by others.