Taiko!

Sunday, March 3, 2002
Suburbia, California 

 Taiko!  

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 on 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 the taiko.

>>  HSB:  Dance the night away with video clips
>>
HSB: Bon Dance Bonds
>> Local 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 ethnicity. 

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 Friends") 

"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 week.  

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 perform. 

What a performance:  

>> Click here to proceed to 
"Taiko! A Photo Album"

 



"Life is a Gift."

With taiko rhythms still reverberating in my soul, 
Author Unknown

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.  


 "The only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

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This web journal was created on a September Morn, 
September 29, 2001
.
September Morn 2002