Writing about my trip experiences to Osaka was amazing. Learnt something with wonderful lady Mrs. Manri Kim and Taihen Performance Troupe was complicated but interesting. Consisting of different language and culture, spending time with them has opened my eyes and heart to be stronger, the lessons I had to learn from them and self-acceptance. I shall write about one experience which stands out for me personally, hopefully to portray the essence of what this group has done for me.
Mrs. Kim taught me don't be afraid to admit when I know I am wrong. It is not a sign of weakness, but shows character and responsibility. Others will respect me for that. Always do the right things, even when everyone does as they please with no consideration for the feelings of others. Never compromise my values and beliefs, even if it means risking ridicule and rejection. That‘s what I learned when I was told the brief history of Taihen Performance Troupe during lecturer on Sept 8, 2007. After the corruption the “Maha Laba” village in late 1960’s – there were started another activist of Cerebral Palsy group called “Blue Grass” (weed). They expanded gradually – which they created ideas of independent living. I be acquainted with the “Blue Grass Policies” and according to Kawakita san I was very lucky because Mrs. Kim hardly ever talk about that.
They created their own ideas with limitation view and they faced many problems by that viewed. According to Mrs. Kim, they denied everything formed by non disabled, but they didn’t create anything by their own. Cerebral Palsy people couldn’t recognize themselves and they still need non disabled help. It was very hard for them to move –contradiction is not the logic way .At 1983, Ms Kim found that disabled body can create a piece of art and exposed it on stage.
It was genuine art from physically disabled. And I learned something. Taihen started with “zero”. Moneyless, no experiences, korukos and so forth, but they have the genuine & great art. Like my situation right now. Not easy to learn everything instantly – everything must come from our own experiences.
Firstly, I need to change my perception how I viewed my own body. Change the ideas and view and how I view the others body. I think these circumstances are hard to change – but I have to change for my future. Try to start with something genuine and truly, not just surface. The hardest part is when I try to use non disabled assistant by their own will and to be true to myself. Live my own life and don't allow others to decide what is best for me. If I do, I will be unhappy because I am untrue to myself. Refuse to run away from the things that scare me. Confront these situations and overcome my fears so that I may grow as a person. Don't compare myself to others. I am unique special being and therefore I should express my individuality. “Ki and Katsugen” practice for example, something strange for me. I am very bored because it didn’t work sometimes but my curiosity about the practice keep me to try hardest and every trials keep me strong, Sorrow and troubles keeps me human. Failure keeps me humble, Success keeps me glowing, but only God keeps I go.
Both rehearsal and performance for every time was totally different on 25-26 Sept at Ogimachi Park. According to Inoe Tomoko, they must improve their performance for each show. I still remembered, one day when I showed Mrs. Kim photo of Koizomi Yuske; she told me that he (Koizomi san) is very talented actor on stage.
Now I saw by myself how talented he is. Koizomi san has big responsibilities when he performed on stage. He needs to guide the bedridden performer like Kimura-san. Because he and Fukomuri san not severely disabled, they must adjust their movement and made it clear. They mustn’t to interrupt the performers like Kimura-san or Ms. Kim It was very challenge and at the same time they needed to express themselves. Koizumi san is amputee & Fukomuri san is Cerebral Palsy. Innoe san and Kitakaddo san also Cerebral Palsy. But they not severely like Ms. Kim & Kimura-san.
From the second full dress rehearsal I knew what Ms Kim means – that the disabled performer don’t need to repeat the same movement, but they need to express the same feeling/expression on stage. For example in scene 2( The Legend of Maha Laba Village),cultivating scene; I saw she did the different movement on Sept 26 full dress rehearsal in the same scene but that movement still express the same meaning of the story/performance. There is beauty to be found in a body which has experienced cerebral palsy, moving across the ground. It is an honor as well to be allowed to watch their struggle as they perform movements we take for granted. The mere act of rolling over becomes artistic because they know more about art than I do. They perform from the heart with love. With lack background in performing art, I am an extremely serious person. They taught me that the foundation of art lies in expressing your love through a medium. The ability to do so sincerely is what ultimately affects your audience. My lesson with them ended in Oct 8 2007, but I knew that those experiences are merely the tip of the iceberg. I also had interviewed by Minoh Post for their weekly magazine. Minoh Post arranged interpreters during my lecturer and workshop activities. With a month more to go, I know there are more realizations to come and many more lessons to learn. These are all things to be thankful for. On the holiday, I still had time to visit Kyoto, Kimura san hometown. I also visited Hemeiji Castle, Osaka Castle and Kitakaddo san brought me to Kobe where it easy to find “halal” meat and food there. She also took me to try “shushi” but unfortunately it not my taste. All of them are very kind and they tried their best to make me feel comfortable. I also noticed it was great experience when how Mrs. Kim and Taihen performed theatre in the park. On the previous holiday, Innoe san brought me to the cinema and we saw a film. It was about Kazao Uno biography – the great man who dances with his soul. How impressive it was.
I resided at Kawakita san apartment. I really appreciated what Ms Kim and Taihen members did there. They all disabled and they co-operated with non disabled. Together, they created excellent relationship and they understood each others. What can I saying; Osaka City is friendly disabled city. Here I learned something about self independent living especially for severely disabled. Taihen or "Art of body expression" is not only about performing art. It had self independent concept for severely disabled. May be if I have time, I would like to write something about Kimura san. He is one of Taihen performer and he is severely disabled. I am very proud of him. Can you believe - he is a great performer on stage. Not only on stage - also has he had a great life. He only can speak just two words "yes and no" but he live alone with his assistant without family help. He live in Kyoto and when they have rehearsal, he come to the rehearsal centre by train with his personal assistant
I was taught as professional performers we need to aware about two matters; the time management and responsibilities to the audiences. They come to our show and they paid to see the great art/performance from us. It was very interesting trip for me and from my point of view; wonderful lady Mrs. Kim built again the “Maha Laba Village” by her own way. My trip to Osaka was very meaningful because that maybe the first and last I traveled outside Malaysia. I was alone, penniless and it was during fasting month. Yes of course – if I just hear, I will forget and if I see, I will remember. If I do, I will know it and when I discovered the experiences maybe I can use it.