Monday, 16 August 2010

Takagi Matsuri

A year ago I stood in a crowd of people I didn't know, watching locals join in with a festival dance. The smell of the food stalls behind me, the summer heat, the brilliant hanabi (fireworks) exploding overhead were almost overwhelming for the senses. As I watched the finale, a taiko group performed a song from their repertoire while a framework of fireworks burned furiously behind them. I remember thinking how awesome it would have been to be up there, drumming away while people looked on and clapped and cheered.

This year I was part of that taiko group, drumming away while the people of my village looked on, clapping, cheering and enjoying the extensive firework display around us. We were onstage for no more than ten minutes or so, but the intensity of the realisation took my mind off the unbelievable humidity. It was at that point I realised that, in just a year, I'd managed to do something I've always wanted to; to put myself into a foreign culture and become a member of the community. For the millionth time this past year, I'm so very glad I took the steps I did to be here...

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