The Mikado

Friday night, Anne and I went to go see The Mikado, the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Like previous year’s productions, this one was also produced by the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Society and was performed at the Touhill Theater on UMSL’s campus. The Mikado was written in 1895, a time when England was the center of the world and Japan was a far away and mysterious land. Setting the show in Japan allowed Gilbert and Sullivan breathing room for their satire and barbs that this show launches against British society.

I must admit that going to see The Mikado on the same day as the massive Japanese earthquake and tsunami was an awkward coincidence. The Mikado is a comic opera that primarily pokes fun at death and even at its inception was considered rather a dark comedy, especially for a Gilbert and Sullivan work. This combined with its Japanese setting suggested that some sort of announcement might be made before the performance, but none ever came.

During the day on Friday, I watched some of the video of the tsunami as it wreaked the Japanese coastline. I also monitored the progress of this wave as it raced across the Pacific Ocean, a substantial portion of our family lives on the West Coast. Fortunately, nothing more than a few boats were knocked about, at least in the vicinity of our family. I wake today to the news that one of the Japanese nuclear power plants could be melting down. This disaster’s script is beginning to sound like a bad Godzilla movie.

I spent the first year of my life in Japan. My Dad, a naval officer, was stationed there. It was too early in my life to remember anything first hand from that time, but stories from my folks have been passed down to me. This link is to one such story. One habit that was brought back with us from Japan was the habit of removing our shoes, when we entered the house. This habit is universal in Japan, but here in the states, it is a bit unusual, or at least my friends always thought so. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people in this their hour of trial.

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