Archive for October, 2010

Recent book reviews – October 2010

Sunday, October 24th, 2010


An explosion of taiko nuts on Facebook

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

On Monday afternoon at approximately 4:00pm I thought “hmmm…  the new Facebook group features look great…  maybe there should be a North American Taiko Community group.”  So I hit the little create group button.  It was kinda cumbersome adding friends so I only added 20 or so people to the initial group but that was enough because in just over 24hours there were over 800 members.  Crazy!  It was like an explosion of taiko nuts on Facebook.

On Ensemble has recently been looking for a new studio and we’ve been clearing out our storage locker and trying to find new homes for some of our equipment that we don’t use.  A drummer friend of Maz and I from Mt. Shasta will be inheriting our trusty old van and Sam the director of the Yamasong short film will be taking two flight cases.  We also had 4 beautiful suwari dai that Kris has built during our college years.  We used them at Stanford Taiko and in the early On Ensemble years but they’ve been collecting dust for years.  So I took a picture of them and posted it to the group and in 5 minutes had new eager homes for the shime stands!

I’m pretty excited about this Facebook group as a possible hub of online activity for the North American Taiko Community.  The next step will be to figure out how we can turn all of this connectedness into something that will actually be useful for all those taiko nuts out there trying to start groups, make drums, write songs and even make a living with the art form.  What kinds of resources might be useful?  Can we actually pull our collective online energy and do something interesting?  Or will it just be a welcome break from work?

Taiko 2.0 tickets on sale now

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Tickets for our big performance at the Cerritos Center have gone on sale!  This year our guest artist include Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer co-founders of Shasta Taiko, the extraodinary flutist Kaoru Watanabe and incredible multi percussionist Patrick Graham.  In 2007 we collaborated with the Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble, then last year we collaborated Kenny Endo for a return engagement.  Both performances were reviewed nicely and sold out so get your tickets early!

Taiko 2.0
On Ensemble with special guests
Saturday March 12, 2011, 8:00pm
Tickets:  $37/$49/$61
Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts

Kaoru Watanabe fue intensive, Dec 3-5

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Our good friend and On Ensemble collaborator, Kaoru Watanabe, is planning a three-day fue (Japanese flute) intensive, Dec 3-5, 2010. Kaoru is an amazing player and it sounds like a fantastic program!

Dec 3rd (Fri evening)
participants arrive, opening session

Dec 4th (Sat)
Morning session: fingering, breathing exercises, warm up routines
Afternoon session: repertoire – Sakura, Takeda No Komoriuta, Kaigara Bushi, etc- deal with ornamentation, phrasing, vibrato, etc. composition – discussion of Japanese scales, taiko with fue combination, etc.
Evening session: improvisation, extended techniques

Dec 5th (Sun morning)
Review and wrap up

Fee: $250 (includes meals)

Bon-taiko at WFWI fundraiser

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

My mother organized a fundraising event for Women for Women International at my parents’ place in Bear Valley Springs. More than 80 people attended, and my mom invited Maz, Courtney, and I to perform. It was a grand success. Congratulations, Mom!

Women for Women International is an inspiring support organization for female survivors of war. I learned that women represent 70% of the world’s poor. They perform 66% of the world’s work but only own 1% of the property. Approximately 70% of the casualties in recent conflicts are women and children (UNIFEM) and the forms of violence they experience include torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, and mutilation (UN). It was shocking and humbling to hear the stories told at the event, and after learning more about the organization, Hiro and I have since become monthly sponsors. It was an eye-opening evening!

Maz, Courtney, and I performed at the opening of the event, including bon-taiko, a style I’ve been particularly interested in for the last year or so. It feels like I have many more years to go before I’m confident about my playing, but if nothing else, I’ve made some noticeable improvement in the last year. Courtney and Maz were great, as always!

Here’s a video of our performance of a rough arrangement of Matsuri/Midare Uchi. Thank you to my mom and all the WFWI volunteers who made the event possible. We were honored to be a part of it!

Bon-daiko-inspired taiko piece

Use an old digital camera, gphoto2, and WordPress for automatic photo blogging

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

For the What We’re Eating feature of my blog, I needed a way to quickly take photos of our home-cooked meals. Using a dedicated camera and a simple script I wrote, the system prompts the user for a description of the meal, snaps the photo with the proper zoom and flash settings, rotates and resizes the photo, and uploades the content directly to the WordPress site so it’s immediately visible to the outside world… all with a single command! Read on to learn how to implement the system for your own automatic photo blogging!

Auto photo blogging with WordPress


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