Monday, 24 August 2009
Above: my first Taiko experience at Achi-mura Obon Festival
Last week I started Taiko, the Japanese drumming martial art/dance/music form. I discovered that drumming is a lot harder than it appears, especially when you have to play in time with ten other drummers. The big drums are hit with bashi (sticks), a pair of which I bought last week. They are about 15 inches long and about the width of a broom handle.
This week I was able to participate a lot more with the rest of the class, all of whom have been playing for at least two years. Our sensei is Art Lee, a professional American Taiko artist who was the first non-Japanese to win the Tokyo National Wadaiko Competition in 2005. I find him a remarkably unassuming man, lightly spoken and of a very calm and balanced disposition.
Anyway, I'm finding the Taiko great fun and a great workout every week (despite the fact that this week I managed to smash my thumbs until they bled). A little pain is supposed to keep you sharp, right?