I’ve recently returned from a visit to Vermont to see my sister and her family and to teach taiko at Robinson Elementary School in Starksboro. The kids did a great job — in 4 hours they learned the basics of rhythm and “kuchishouga”, the verbal teaching system for Japanese music. They came up with a fun little dance as you’ll see in the video above.
I got to see my sister teach one of her high school classes which proved for me a much-needed refresher course on the basic English sentence types. Thank you, Nicki!
I met with an inspiring farmer, Michael, who is raising three cows for his own food and talked to him about using the skins for taiko. Taiko skins are the one non-vegan thing I consume. I’m horrified by the torture that animals undergo in the commercial beef industry so I’ve been searching for a source of skins that allows me to verify the cows have been raised ethically. Michael plans to slaughter his animals in about six weeks and doesn’t have any plans to use two of the three skins. I now have a lot to learn about preparing skins, but hopefully I can find a way to put these cows’ skins to good use.
And last but not least, my brother-in-law, Dan and I, along with his close friend Brent, made maple syrup from scratch! Strangely, the experience felt somehow Japanese to me; the connection to nature and the season, working at a relaxed pace in the quaint, hand-made shed (called a sugar shack) with the sweet smell of the syrup. It was wonderful!
Thank you to all these friends in Vermont. I’ve returned to LA feeling energized… and a bit sticky!