CAMP SMEDLEY D. BUTLER, Okinawa — Lance Corporal Timothy Braithwaite and his wife, Melanie, were dismayed last weekend to discover that they had confused the word “kabuki” and the word “bukakke,” leading them to attend a show very different from the one they’d meant to see.
“It was pretty awful,” said Braithwaite. “Melanie and I haven’t been here long, haven’t gotten out to see the sights since I signed in last month. So now that we’re all settled and I’m in a nice predictable schedule at work, I wanted to take advantage of being stationed here. So I got tickets to this show from my staff sergeant, but must have got my terms mixed up.”
The Marine and his wife ended up sitting through a show which made them very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, when they tried to return the tickets for a refund, the establishment refused. The budget-conscious couple decided to return to the show and try to enjoy it rather than waste the money.
Soon they found themselves witnessing a wild, loud and frenetic display rarely seen back home in America, outside of internet videos and little-known parlors in immigrant quarters of large cities.
“There was all this noise, yelling and grunting at whatnot,” Mrs. Braithwaite said. “It was hard to follow exactly since I only speak English, but I got the general idea. Ladies and men were wearing elaborate costumes that they tore off without warning, the music only served to make it more alien. There was, ah, stuff … flying all around.
She said some members of the audience got involved, contributing and even helping. And even the audience members that weren’t "part of the, ah, proceedings got pretty rowdy."
"I was worried that I might get something spilled on me,” she said.
Braithwaite and his wife were mildly traumatized by the mix-up, but don’t intend to let one bad experience ruin an exotic foreign posting for them. They already have plans for more outings in the near future, including an attempt to attend the show they meant to see last weekend.
“This time, though,” confirmed Braithwaite, “I’m going to make sure I don’t get ‘kabuki’ and ‘bukakke’ mixed up. Lord knows I don’t want to end up in the wrong place again.”