Saturday, September 1, 2007

Taiko + Suika = Fun Times

Taiko is traditional Japanese drumming, which is fun all by itself. But tonight, we got to do taiko and eat suika (watermelon). What else could a gal ask for?

A JET neighbor introduced me to taiko - I'll be drumming every other week as part of a class offered in the community. But today was special: it was the annual watermelon festival, held in a neighborhood just south of my apartment, complete with drumming, dancing and - yes - watermelon.

I arrived a bit late, but festival coordinators handed me a festival robe and invited me to jump right in. They'd set up a pair of drums near the neighborhood shrine, and I channeled my days in high school drumline and pounded away. A second festival area featured yukatta-clad locals dancing in a big circle - sort of the Japanese equivalent to line dancing, but much cooler. There were a handful of JETs who decided to participate - the neighborhood kids thought we were quite the spectacle (they were right!).

Taiko was a blast, but perhaps the highlight of the evening was the dinner - no, the feast - we got to enjoy at the taiko sensei's (teacher's) home. Drumming works up quite an appetite, and we got to gorge ourselves at a table full of delicious Japanese goodies waiting for us at their home - sashimi, noodles, shrimp, bamboo and rice. Sensei is over 70, but looks like he's in his 50s, so maybe there's something to all of this healthy Japanese food...

...or maybe it's the Japanese beer.

...or maybe it's all that drumming. I'll let you know!

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