Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019: Yuriko Kotani

As someone who has attempted to learn a foreign language and then felt far too shy to use any of it in its country of origin, I greatly admire foreign speakers.  Someone who is prepared to get on a stage at an intimate boozy club and attempt to deliver comedy, well you’ve got to admire them too. So, for someone from a completely alien culture to ours to deliver comedy in a second language that takes some bottle, step forward YURIKO KOTANI and her show SUMOSOMO.

Yuriko takes us on a journey from her home land, growing up in Toyota, Japan with a fascination of Western culture that she embarks on a student exchange to America which commences her love of our way of life so much that she emigrates to London, where she is still based to this day.

She talks about life as a female in Japan, with the traditional requirements and the stereotypes she encountered, which caused some adjustment when living in her new UK home.  Consequently, when she returns home, she takes back many of her new mannerisms and behaviour which are totally alien to her family. Such as hugging, which created a great deal of consternation when she attempted to introduce it during a family gathering.  And the word ‘Ish’ which doesn’t work back in Japan where everything is planned to perfection. Attempting to arrange to meet her mother one day at ‘Two-ish’ was met with confusion.

Yuriko has a lovely deadpan method of delivering her humour, as she assimilates the differences she has encountered, and how it was a struggle for her to bravely take the plunge into the world of comedy and she does seem genuinely moved that so many people would enjoy her show.  But we did, and long may she enjoy performing as it was a delightful hour in her company.

Steve Heald