Big wooden Japanese
drums that boom, booms you to your na`au (Hawaiian, for
"gut"). Not only do you hear the drum, you feel
it. So deeply that
it can stay with you for over 25 years.
There is nothing like it
the planet, and I dare say, the universe.
Every summer, during Obon
season, the villagers of Pahoa constructed a yagura
-- a tower for musicians -- and the taiko would be
hoisted atop it. Round and round, in circles around the
yagura under hanging lit lanterns, donned in our kimono or happi
coat, we'd dance our hearts out to the mesmerizingly rhythmic, deep beat of
Dance the night away with video clips
Bon Dance Bonds
Legacies Program: The Obon in Hawai`i
Obon was a time
that we were reminded to care for the well-being of others, the living as well as the dead, by giving and
sharing. No one was excluded. Although its roots were
Japanese, Obon, even back then, was a community activity,
welcoming everyone in the village, regardless of age, gender and
A few days ago at work,
I received a message from Brian, a young man who has visited
me yearly since he was a mere boy. He would be performing with
his Jodaiko Taiko
Club at the University of California, Irvine's Tomo no Kai Cultural
Night 2002. (The Tomo no Kai is a social and Japanese cultural
student organization that means "Association of
"Would you like to
come?" read the message.
Knowing all too well how
precious time is in the life of a busy college student, especially one
with a double major in English and Japanese, I was surprised that
Brian remembered our conversation in passing, over a year ago. Then,
this musically talented young man shared his huge passion for taiko
with me. He spoke of the taiko with great pride and
enthusiasm, and I
was impressed that his generation was rejuvenating taiko as a
modern performing art.
I let him know, that if
we were in town, we'd love to see him perform. He remembered and went out of his way to contact me last
Years later, the
memories of taiko's powerful sounds are still vivid, conjuring up
many happy moments of a long ago time in Hawai`i. We made sure
we stayed in town to drive down to Irvine and watch Brian
to proceed to
"Taiko! A Photo Album"
"Life is a Gift."
taiko rhythms still reverberating in my soul,
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
| what | archives