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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » What happened, was this... » » Santa's Down, Santa's Down (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cartoonist
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Japan
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Many years ago, I did a Santa performance for hundreds of children, probably from the ages of 3-9 or 10 here in Japan.
Japanese children are world-renowned for their obedience and discipline, with several exceptions - one being Santa.

After the show, and through an interpreter, I was asked if Santa would like to shake hands with the children.
I said yes, got down off the elevated stage to shake hands (I was white gloved) and chaos ensued.

I was rushed by many and got knocked down to the ground, Santa's Down, Santa's Down.
For me, the most important thing was preserving the dreams of the innocent kids believing in Santa, so the only thing I wanted to do was keep my wig and beard intact to not shatter the kids' dreams.

As a martial artist, I know a bit about ground work having studied BJJ and other arts.
I curled up in a BJJ defensive position, like a turtle on its back, with my knees curled up and my elbows inside my knees, and my hands protecting my beard and wig.

Happy to say, no one was hurt, the kids' image of Santa remained intact and lesson learned.
I now never go out into large crowds as Santa unless I have several "bodyguards" as Santa is always nice and jolly and can never raise his voice to say "get back, get back."
imgic
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Moved to Seattle to see
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While in the Air Force, stationed in Okinawa, Japan I had offer to play Santa for a large Japanese Department Store event. Pay was good and it seemed like fun thing to do. The Santa suit was a bit of a squeeze as I'm 6 foot 3 inches, but we made it work. My understanding was I would appear on a stage, wave to the crowd, and then pass out small presents from a large bag until they were gone.

I come through the curtain and shocked to see about 500 poeple crammed in the outdoor courtyard...and they burst into applause as they saw me. The hostess then explained I would answer their questions (fortunately the fake beard and bushy eyebrows hid quizzical look on my face). The hostess began taking questions, and then translating them into English for me. I'd answer and she'd translate to Japanese for the crowd. I remember getting the reindeer's' names correct. Also remember them asking how old I was (Younger than the sun, older than the moon...sounded Santa like)

When it was time to hand out present, I thought I'd stay on stage and kids would file by...but no. They took me down into the crowd, where I was promptly mobbed. I was a bit shocked as all my interactions with Japanese people have had them polite and reserved. Fortunately, nobody in the crowd was over 5 foot tall, so after initial shock I thought I'd be fine. But that many people, swarming....I soon began to get very anxious. Worried about getting knocked down, swarmed, trampled. One of few times I was actually concerned about my safety. But I remained up right and quickly got rid of the presents.

Hostess told me how impressed they were with me, and asked me to do another event next weekend. I politely declined.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Russo
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WOW - two great stories of quick minds and love for the kids
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