Since Japan is only about an hour ahead of China, the 29th Olympiad Opening Ceremony held last night was televised live in Japan, starting at around 9 p.m. It went till after 1 a.m., so I am a little sleepy today!
As opening ceremonies go, in which the host country treats the world to a taste of their culture, music and very essence, Beijing's entertainment was really breathtaking. You got a real sense of the rich and varied heritage represented in their many races, and developed through the history of civilization. The sheer numbers used in the mass demonstration of drums' grace and beauty in the first number was mind-boggling, not to mention a miraculous show of organization and preparation. And if you can believe it, all those hundreds of men had identical haircuts!
I didn't take notes, or I would comment on everything, but I enjoyed these particular highlights:
*The perfect formation of a filled-in circle (created by LED-covered-costumed adults), with the children in the center painting a green world to entice the birds back, and the birds responding to the call;
*the globe being circled by acrobatic runners, dangling on wires (attached to what, I have no idea!);
*the beautifully colorful, fairy-like flying individuals, also suspended on wires of no known origin, bobbing around like fireflies.
*I loved the Chinese characters for 'peace' (first ancient, then its more modern counterpart) formed by the individual keys of kanji (manned by one human each), again, miraculously timed and in sync with each other.
*They broke the bank in their use of fireworks; frankly it was a little overkill by the end, as I was distracted by how much pollution the fireworks' smoke was creating, and couldn't fully enjoy the beauty of it.
To say it was an elaborate show doesn't do the entertainment justice; there were traditional folk costumes and interesting modernistic costumes, too--all using a full palette of color. Traditional Chinese musical instruments played Chinese compositions as well as more familiar orchestral arrangements. You could sense the national pride of each participant, overjoyed to have this opportunity to shine for the world. I came away from the night's entertainment with a greater respect for The People's Republic of China, due to an elevated recognition of The People, themselves. Not a communistic government, clumped into a division of political systems, but rather a keener view of the faces of the largest national population in the world. It was a privilege to watch.
Thank you Beijing. What a show!!!!