Yurei Haunts Panama Hotel with Cafe Nordo, November 11 and 12

Posted on November 07, 2016, 12:16 pm
4 mins

Some of us know that the haunting season has only just begun. We cringe at the appearance of dead-eyed snowmen in storefronts. (Do they know how brief their time is on this planet?) We long to reflect on this liminal, darkening time. We give thanks for Yurei: The Lost Chapter of Hotel Nordo at Panama Hotel, November 11 and 12.

The artful dinner theatre troupe, Cafe Nordo, is working in collaboration with a group of artists of Japanese descent to tell an extended ghost story, just up Main Street from their home base, The Culinarium. The site of the performance, Panama Hotel, is a registered National Treasure. Its rich history is one of joyful community, terrible injustice and sorrowful loss.

Panama Hotel one of the first places that many Japanese immigrants to Seattle would come in the early 20th century and the site of the neighborhood Sento. During the Internment of Japanese Americans from 1942-46, it provided storage for the belongings of heirlooms and goods that could not be taken to the internment camps. There are still stacks of unclaimed luggage in the basement, undisturbed to this day. The stories of those who were never able to return inspire the performance of Yurei.

In Japanese, Yuurei (幽霊) plainly translated means “ghost,” but there is a subtlety of meaning based on the characters. Yuu (幽) implies faintness, ephemerality and seclusion, and when used in the verb form it means “to confine [to a room].” Appropriately, the flash performance of Yurei will take place in the historic rooms upstairs in Panama Hotel (which are usually occupied by guests of the hotel). The participating artists are Naho Shioya, Paul Kikuchi, Susie Kosawa, Joselynn Engstrom and Crow Nishimura.

There is a free, public viewing of Yurei on Saturday, November 12 from 5-7pm. There will be a limited capacity, and it is first come, first serve. If you want a guaranteed show, a more intimate experience, and a snack and saké toast, you’ll want to get a ticket for one of the two late night performances, which start at 11pm, following the regular performance of Hotel Nordo.

Ticketing options:

  • Attend Yurei, $40 per guest. Buy tickets online. (includes midnight snack and saké toast)
  • Attend Cafe Nordo’s Hotel Nordo AND Yurei performances, $117 per guest. Buy tickets online. (Includes 5-course meal, transport up the hill to the Panama Hotel, midnight snack and saké toast.)
  • A special package for two guests that includes both performances, an overnight stay at Panama Hotel, and a light breakfast, $500. Buy the package online.

For a unique, stimulating and haunting experience under the waxing light of a record super-moon, look no further than Pioneer Square and Japantown this weekend.


Cafe Nordo presents Yurei: The Lost Chapter of Hotel Nordo

When: Friday, November 11 and Saturday, November 12

Where: Panama Hotel (605 1/2 S Main St.)

This event is 21 and up. Panama Hotel is not ADA Accessible.

Lead image by Bruce Clayton Tom, courtesy of Cafe Nordo.

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.