Last Sunday I had another taiko performance. What I didn't realise what that there was a mini festival going on in the grounds of my yakuba, and that's where we would be playing. The realisation that I would most likely be playing to lots of people who know me, including dozens and dozens of the kids I teach at school, didn't take its time to sink in.
Actually I had nothing to be apprehensive about. The show went really well, and I received many compliments from both people I know and random strangers who passed me by afterwards. Awesome.
The banner says "Hanabutai", which means "flower stage."
As well as the rows of stalls of food and festival goods, one of the rooms in my yakuba were used to display my village's fabled handmade Japanese umbrellas. To say the least they are fantastic.
After the performance my taiko group headed to a nearby restaurant, the Radish (recommended by me!) which does really nice katsu. My second victory of the day was by far the sweetest. Allow me to explain. If lemon is put on my plate I always eat it. I find it nice and refreshing, and leaves a pleasant taste behind after a good meal.
Now, foreigners will be familiar with the word "challenge", but never will they hear it as often as being in Japan and having a native say "challenge" every time you look like you may not enjoy something, in this case food. Not one to miss such a golden opportunity, I scoffed my lemon after finishing my meal and looked expectantly at my group. They all looked horrified. I smiled and said "challenji." Bound by the unspoken laws of their own culture, they carefully picked up their lemon slices, looked at eachother, plopped the slices into their mouths and started to chew. The facial expressions at the table were absolutely priceless.
Food of champions!