Waseda Shibuya 2016 Seiransai

Or the lack thereof…

Just wanted to make a quick post for those that wondering if I would be making a video about a certain Japanese senior high school.

For three years, I’ve paid a visit to a certain senior high school reasonably close to where I reside. Some may know it as the only high school in Singapore that is comprised of primarily Japanese students with a smattering of international students that are also privileged to study at an institution such as it.

Once a year, the doors to this magical place open, and it is swarmed by many a weeb. All eagerly trying to compare whether the joushi kousei that they see in animes are replicated in real life before their eyes and taking the opportunity to practice their broken weebspeak borne of animanga (or as some may jokingly call it, animu and mango) with the students there. The teachers are ever cautious (indeed they have good reason to be – some of the peeps there are..a certain type of weeb) and watchful, ensuring that the students do not give out any personal information to “nice people” that range from ordinary otakus to potential stalkers.

But all that aside, it is also an opportunity for parents of Japanese kids to see whether this overseas school is the one which they would like their child to enroll in, and it is also a rather fun day for the students as their months of planning for it are finally exhibited to an overly enthusiastic crowd.

It was this atmosphere that I sought to capture in my first experience there back in 2013, a certain whimsical nature that caught my attention, and hence inspired me to make the video. Lacking the foresight to bring a tripod, I made do with shaky camera footage and saw a couple of dudes that were well prepared with tripods of their own to record the dance and band performances. They were kind enough to let me use their footage, and I set it to a shortened song by a popular fictional band, which worked out somewhat decently. And it was really nice to have the opportunity to take a couple of shots with the popular dance group Hide & Seek, which was something that continued in the following years.

Fast forward to 2014, and I was much better prepared. Took a lot of footage, spent more time editing the video and putting out raw footage so that students could also watch performances of their friends in the future when they had graduated and wanted to reminisce, and…set it to a really old song (Konbini, by Cokesi) that was probably unknown by most of the newer Vocaloid generation. It turned out well, but there was a certain sense of…familiarity, and perhaps some of the original magic was lost. One didn’t get lost walking around the school compound and the students there were nice as ever (tatamae it may be, but it’s pretty refreshing), so that worked out well. Unfortunately not all of Hide & Seek’s original members were unable to perform during their last performance, and it was bittersweet to realize that some of them would be graduating come April next year.

And 2015, a certain event happened around this time, but a video was still made anyway. And out of all three videos, I think this is really the best (rightfully so, since it incorporated most of what I had learned in prior video editing). Seeing Wasedance improve considerably in their dance skills and meeting the new members of Hide & Seek II was really cool, and the teachers/staff was quite nice to let me into their office to take shots of the tiny mascot that were incredibly helpful in the video editing process.

But perhaps all good things have to come to an end, and though I may still make more videos in the future, it feels quite sad to have missed this year’s one. Having band practice and generally not knowing that it was today and playing the drums for church service tomorrow, I will sadly not be able to attend, and make a video compilation of Waseda Shibuya’s 2016 Seiransai. And I’m also doubtful for the future as well as to whether I will attend, for I’m uncertain what my purpose would be. It would be nice if I could say I was an official videographer (being an unofficial one suited me just fine), but having made three videos of the same event…the novelty wears off after a while.

And yet, perhaps to the teachers there that have seen it so many times, they’d be like “hey, every year it’s the same program, but the students and activities are different, and there’s a different theme too! Every year there is a new student council proving themselves and executing the event and all that…”

Indeed. And it’s really nice to meet the same English (possibly African?) teacher year after year, he’s always perpetually surprised when I turn up. “You again! Haha, what brings you here on a yearly basis?” Kinda like that, he’s a really cool guy and takes things in his stride.

Perhaps next year or in the future I might return and make more videos of future Seiransai, but unfortunately for this year, it will not be coming out. I’m certain that the students will continue to do their best in showcasing the best of their school though, and that the Wasespirit (a made up word, there’s probably some equivalent for that in Japanese) will be as bright and friendly as that I encountered when I first visited in 2013.

~Roe.

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One thought on “Waseda Shibuya 2016 Seiransai

  1. Pingback: Waseda Shibuya 2017 Seiransai | Ramblings of Roe

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