All posts in the "Essays" category.

Toward a Sustainable Taiko Career

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014



For the last six months I have been contemplating my carbon footprint and how touring as an artist produces more than my fair share of CO2. I sketched out a long-term plan, talked to everyone I know, read books on the subject, took online classes, and thought and thought about it. The result is a 10-year CO2-reduction plan. It will eventually change how often I can travel by air with On Ensemble but I hope that with creativity and hard work, I can minimize the negative impact and maximize the benefits.

The essay above explains the project. I welcome any feedback, especially challenges to the reasoning behind the plan.

Taiko Composition and the Lure of Formality

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Here is a short essay I wrote for JD. He and I are “feedback friends” and he recently posted a video of his composition, Sekaiju no koe. Rather than specific rhythm or arrangement suggestions, I thought a wider-perspective response might be most useful.

I’ve been really inspired by Twyla Tharp’s belief that your performers should be your heroes and have been trying to find ways to write music that reveres my colleague’s strengths. This essay discusses a few of the questions I’ve been posing for myself.

If you’d like to join our circle of feedback friends, let me know! kris .at. on ensemble .dot. org


Copyleft and the Future of Taiko

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

I wrote a short essay for participants in my workshop at Taiko Conference about sharing and our community. Hope you like it!

More info about copyleft:

Hanabishi article – Hello from LA, June 09

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

My shamisen guild, Kineyakatsu, publishes a quarterly magazine for its members called Hanabishi.  The most recent edition includes an article I wrote after receiving my stage name.  Below is the scanned Japanese version and an English translation.  The photo is me with the head of the guild, Kineya Katsusaburo VII.



No Feinstein, No! Stand up for net neutrality!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I was very dismayed today to read that Senator Feinstein is trying to insert legislation in Obama’s stimulus bill to undermine net neutrality.  This is really slimy, and really bad for the internet.  I’ve sent her the message below.  If you agree, please send her your thoughts as well.

Regarding Net Neutrality

I am very disappointed to see that you are attempting to augment the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program so that it “allows for reasonable network management practices such as deterring unlawful activity, including child pornography and copyright infringement.”  This is a direct attack on net neutrality and I am absolutely opposed to it.

I strongly believe that net neutrality is critical for the health and progress of the internet, and that the internet is critical for the health and progress of American culture and business.  My opinion comes from my experience as a self-employed musician, and the great benefits I have received through the ability to share my work on the internet, and benefit from the work that others share.  I use Free Software to run my own web, mail, and dns servers, so that I am on equal footing with major music producers.  The democratic, equal nature of the current internet means that I am empowered to produce and grow as far as my music will take me.  I license my music under the Free Art License which makes it legal for others to share and build upon my works.  On the back of a fair, neutral internet, we are building a collaborative community for the betterment of all.

Please, please stop your efforts to undermine net neutrality.  The real power of the internet is its potential to redefine power structure; from central authority to the edges of the net, to creators like myself.  Please don’t side with the RIAA and the MPAA who seek to bring power back to the center.  These organizations do not work in the interests of creators.

Please, please, please reverse your position and support net neutrality.  Support creators!

Free Art License 1.3

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Most of my works (music, writing, photographs, illustrations, graphic design) are covered by the Free Art License 1.3. which allows others to freely share and build upon them.  The following is a brief explanation of the rules for using and sharing my works covered under this license.


Thoughts on Practice

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

A few friends have asked that I make my Thoughts on Practice essay available at our website.  Here it is!

(Updated 2012/05/25)

I have come to feel that practice presents profound lifestyle challenges.  My success or failure at maintaining effective, daily practice is like a measure of my health. When everything in my life is working well, I’m a good practicer. The essay above lists some of the tricks that have helped me thus far.

If you have any feedback or thoughts (technical or philosophical) of your own, please share them below!

Yes on Prop 2!

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

In general, I’m not a big fan of the whole California proposition system.  I don’t really feel qualified to make budgetary decisions and feel like a lot of the propositions are downright scary.

But I am excited about a particular proposition on California’s November 4 ballot — Proposition 2.  It requires that farms allow all animals to lie down, turn around, and stretch their limbs.  This is currently not the case in many factory farms, particularly in the raising of chickens, beef for veal, and in the gestation of pigs.  I visited a factory farm my freshman year in college and was really saddened by the pigs in particular.  They spent their whole lives in cramped, indoor cages and were so sad and unhealthy.  It was heartbreaking.

The proposition is remarkably short and clear.  It states,

…a person shall not tether or confine any animal, on a farm, for or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents such animal from:

(a)  Lying down, standing up, and fully extending his or her limbs; and

(b)  Turning around freely.

That’s it!  You can read the proposition in it’s entirety (four pages) here.

The arguments against the proposition seem very weak to me… basically they fear increased food cost and cite worries of increased salmonella contamination.  The argument that allowing animals to lie down and to turn around is a health hazard is absurd.  Search “egg laying chicken health factory farm” on google to see how unhealthy chicken factory battery cages are.

So I am leaning strongly toward voting yes on Prop 2.  More information is available at the CA Voter Invormation Guide website.

If you disagree, please let me know why in comments below.

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