Katsura Kaishi is the premier performer of Rakugo in English. He was recently awarded the Ministry of Culture award for Cultural Exchange. He has won numerous prestigious awards for Rakugo, including the NHK Japan National Television Award for Young Artists, the Ministry of Culture Yew Artist Award, The Hanjoutei Yose Theatre Award for Explosive Laughter, and others. He is one of the most popular storytellers in Osaka, Japan. Up until now, Rakugo could only be seen in Japan. But, in order to bring this art form to the world, Kaishi has, since 1997, performed in over 12 countries including England, Australia, Canada, India, Brunei, and The Phillipines. In all he has performed abroad over 200 times! In 1999 he made his debut at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal, Canada. In 2007, he presented a full “Yose” lineup Off-Broadway, a full week of sold-out shows that drew the attention and acclaim of both the Japanese and American media. He is currently touring the United States on a Ministry of Culture grant for cultural exchange.
Having been awarded the Japanese grant for cultural exchange, for the purpose of introducing Rakugo to the world, Kaishi begins his journey on April 1, 2008 in New York. From there, he will travel by car to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Los Vegas, Chicago, and other cities and towns on a grand American tour ending again in New York.
Piling just his living essentials and his Rakugo tools kimono, fan, hand towel, cushion, and unique sense of humor, Kaishi will perform Rakugo in English in more than 30 States.
And not just in theatres! Comedy clubs, schools, on top of bar counters, on the back of tractor trailers... Kaishi can turn almost anything into a platform for Japanese traditional comedy! America, prepare to laugh your heads off, Japanese style!
Monument Valley is a canyon with the enormous "monuments" of stone that is created by erosion over millions of years.
I looked up the red landscape with respect toward the history of earth and the power of nature.
The magnificence of the valley made me think my everyday trouble, even my existence, is so small.
My producer, Emi, insisted me to see this landscape and she particularly set up the show here as a part of tour.
Now I understood why.
Monument Valley is part of the Navajo Indian Reservation. Even nowdays 9 families live in the area without any gas or electricity.
We first visited Monument Valley, Mecca of Navajo, before the performance inviting Navajo.
The Actor, John Wayne, was well known for loving this valley. Numbers of Hollywood movies have been filmed here. This is exactly world of Western!
Time passes very slowly around here…
I feel so relaxed…
The dog is relaxed too…
The horse is also relaxed…
Wow! He is too relaxed!!
We decided to challenge to a horse riding.
I felt the huge rocks were approaching right above us.
Riding a horse across marvelous landscapes is such a great experience! Following to the dog and horse, my own daughter is now relaxed TOO MUCH.
She fell asleep on horseback…
Oh, no! You are going to fall off!!
We enjoyed taking pictures as there were so many different shapes of stones.
This is the place that tourists come from all over the world!
I heard all different kinds of languages here and there: English, French, Spanish, and Japanese.
We took family picture for New Year's postcard for 2010.
Having received so much power from the great nature.