Qufu – Far East University
Today was our third day in Qufu, and our third performance so far in China. The day started off with us going to the Far East University, and finished with performing in front of about 350-400 college students and professors.
During our tour of the University, we visited the music, calligraphy, and woodworking classes. In the music class, we watched some of the college kids practice Chinese Opera for the performance later on that night. It’s a lot of really loud and high pitched songs that all seem the same, but you could tell that the students and teachers put in a lot of time in making it look and sound really good. Brianna, Kenny, Adam, Jen and I all tried on ancient gowns that the emperors or empresses would wear, and then took a group photo with a couple other students from Far East University. In the calligraphy class, a lot of the Journey East members got to try writing with help from some of the Chinese students in the class. It’s quite hard to make calligraphy look good, so we got a pretty good appreciation for how beautiful and effortless they made it look. Overall the tour of the college was pretty fascinating. I haven’t been to many American colleges, but this one seemed pretty big, but inside one of the buildings resembled Leland and Gray. Not an exaggeration.
Before our performance, when we were walking to the auditorium from dinner, we came down the stairs and saw about 200 students standing at the door waiting to get in. I was shocked to see how many people were really excited to see our show, and we all were really excited to perform for them, despite how exhausted we were. The performance went well, and the Chinese seemed to like it, especially the clowns, and Kenny. At one point I looked out into the audience and I swear, every single kid and teacher had their phone up, taking pictures or videos. So with only a few flaws, our performance ended, and we got ready to watch the Chinese kids perform. The Chinese Opera was good, but seeing as how all of us were pretty tired, we just wanted it to be over. Although the Opera was kind of different from anything I had ever seen and not really to my liking, the Kung Fu was amazing. They started off dueling with bow staffs, and then did some solo stuff, but it got really good when two kids started breaking bricks in half, with their bare hands, and the best part was when one of the more fit college students, who had a pretty chiseled 8 pack, got bow staffs broken over his abdomen, back, and legs. He wasn’t the one breaking them though. The other performers were swinging the staffs like baseball bats at him, and when it ended you could tell he was in some pain, and he had some blood on his chest. Nonetheless it was crazy entertaining and it had all of us on the edge of our seats. We had a great time at Far East University, and the school board welcomed us with open arms, and it made for a great day in Qufu.