World Taiko Gathering!

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

We had a great weekend at the World Taiko Festival. Or I should say Kris and I had a great weekend and Maz almost killed himself from overwork and exhaustion. I’d like to personally thank Bryan Yamami, Masato Baba, David Wells, Courtney Deguchi, Tomomi Hongo, Jen Baik, Jenny Maki Mimura, Brian Yamagata, Darren Endo, Yumi Saito, Elizabeth Ishida, Andrew ‘Chensy’ Chen, Keiko Harada, Doug Sakamoto, Kelvin Lee, Blaine O’Brien, Rachel Mock, Audrey Tu, Janelle You, Dan Porter and all of the WTG volunteers for all of their work and dedication to putting together an amazing weekend of taiko magic. Also thank you Lucas for coining the best taiko word ever.

I’d also like to thank Jason, Emily, Dana, Alexa, Donny, Tiana, Jenny, Tomomi, Jen, Maz, David, Blaine, Lisa Margie, Helen and Stacey for joining me in the massive Lion Chant that was performed to launch kaDON! I’ll be posting more about kaDON soon but in case you are interested head over to the website and see what it’s about.

Besides launching a new online taiko teaching venture I taught two workshops, was a panelist for a discussion session and performed at the opening ceremony and gave a speech at the closing session. My first workshop was for the youth program on “Imagination and Improvisation” and the other for one of the core concepts of Lion Chant. I was very happy with both workshops as I’m think I’ve finally found a way of teaching improvisation in a workshop that will give students the tools needed for improvisation. The Lion Chant workshop I was also very happy with as I’m finally starting to find ways to work within the context of a 2.5 hour workshop to teach something substantial with some depth. Part of this ties into the launching of kaDON as I feel freed from just teaching a line or a section of a song and can instead focus on a deeper understanding of the core concepts of a piece in the short time we have in a workshop.

I also performed in the three Taiko Nation concerts. I had a small part but it was just an honor to be a part of such a great concert. I’m really having fun playing more straight kumidaiko again and am fully inspired to explore more possibilities within a kumidaiko context.

However the absolute best part of of the World Taiko Gathering was seeing old friends and meeting new friends from around the world. Michelle and Isabel both said something at the closing ceremony that has stuck with me they both said to remember taiko is about people and the more I progress in this art form the more I see this is true. It really is about people and the wonderful connection we share because of this drum. The taiko community real is a special place.

Shastayama this weekend!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Kris and Maz will be heading up to Mt. Shasta for the 6th Annual Shastayama festival this weekend! For those of you that don’t know yet Shastayama is one of the coolest taiko festivals ever. Of course I’m a little biased because Maz’s parents and my first taiko teachers Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer organize the festival so don’t take my word for it go check it out for yourself! This year’s specials guest include: Taikoproject, Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble, Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe.

Mark Miyoshi

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Hi all.  Long time no blog!  I’ve had a nice, busy schedule in January.  Two gigs out in Vegas and a big show in Riverside with TAIKOPROJECT kept me on my toes for the new year.

Over the holidays I went home to Mt. Shasta and visited my parents.  During my stay, we went over to Mark Miyoshi’s to see the new, huge odaiko he’s building.  If you’ve never met Mark, he’s one of the most gracious, great, spiritual people that I know.  He builds taiko from scratch all by himself.  In Japan, you have workers who do each step of building a taiko.  One person who carves the inside out, one person who cures the skin, one person who puts the skin on, etc.  Mark does it all to amazing perfection.  He and his wife, Luisa, have chickens, a bee colony (of which I am enjoying the awesome honey from), make herbal tinctures, among other things.  Mark has been like an uncle to Shoji and myself.  The odaiko he’s building is the biggest he’s built and is part of a bunch of taiko he is building for display at The World’s First Global Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ opening in April, 2010.  Congratulations Mark!  This is a huge honor and it’s a huge honor to have Mark as part of my life.

TP Tour, First Leg

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

I’m surviving the TAIKOPROJECT tour!  Currently we’re in Stamford, CT.  So far we’ve had a school show in North Haven, CT, two school shows in Manhattan, a workshop and concert in Stony Brook, NY, a series of workshops and a concert in Philadelphia, PA, and a concert and workshop here in Stamford.  I’m exhausted, but I’m amongst good company.  The TP cast has been in good spirits even during rough stretches of the tour.  Gotta keep your spirits up on tour… otherwise you will be miserable!  We have to take care of each other.

dscn2109We got to have some fun days too.  We went to Joe’s Shanghai Restaurant in Manhattan two times already.  They have the best soup dumplings ever.  So good!  Here’s a pic of us (Courtney’s taking the picture) on the southern tip of Manhattan.  The Statue of Liberty was too tiny for a camera to pick up in the distance.  It was really cold that day, but got to eat good ramen at Ippudo (Jason’s suggestion) which warmed us up.  We also got to see Bryan’s brother (Wynn) perform with his awesome group, happyfunsmile.  Good times…

Tomorrow is a relaxing day.  We’re gonna do some shopping, maybe see a movie, and then cook for our hosts, Sandra and Dave.  Then on to Pomona, NJ for our first (re)generation show of the tour.  Byron, Darren, John, and Scott fly join us for the 2nd leg of the tour.

Academy Awards!

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Hello all.  Bryan, Byron, Courtney, and I from TAIKOPROJECT have been chosen to perform in the 81st Annual Academy Awards this Sunday, February 22 at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern.  Watch for us along with eight other “international drummers” and about 50 or so dancers when they present the award for “Best Song”.  We’re playing a 4-5 minute medley of all three songs.  Exciting!!!  I better charge my camera…

We’ve been rehearsing at local studios in Hollywood, but today we’re headed to the Kodak Theater.  Now we get to be in our element.

Who are you rooting for?  I REALLY liked “Slumdog Millionaire”, but I haven’t seen “Milk” yet which my mom and dad said was pretty good.  Oh yeah, and WALL-E was pretty fantastic too.

NY to Philly to Cleveland to Topeka

Monday, January 19th, 2009
With Kyo Daiko and Fruity

With Kyo Daiko and Fruity

Howdy all!  We all left NY on Saturday morning.  Thanks to the Buddhist Church of NY and Wynn for putting us up!  Kelvin and Shoji flew home and Kris and I continued the driving experience to Philadelphia for an Omiyage workshop with Kyo Daiko.  I’m returning in early March with TAIKOPROJECT to continue workshopping with them and for a concert.  After the workshop, Kris and I raced off to get a much needed oil change, then we met up with a few of the members at Yakitori Boy for dinner and karaoke.  Ana is awesome at karaoke!  She sounds like Shakira and Dolores O’Riordan from the Cranberries.  Thanks to Matt and June for organizing the workshop!


With Icho Mame Daiko and Fruity

The next morning we hit the road at 3:30am and drove to Cleveland for a 2pm workshop.  It was snowing and a bit messy, but we made it on time.  We ate at this old-school diner called “Marko’s Family Diner” around the corner from their dojo and it was an interesting experience.  The food was, well… diner food, but the people were awesome.  It was a place where everyone in the neighborhood would go to and everyone knew each other.  They would joke around and were really polite to us.  After eating we met up with Icho Mame Daiko at their dojo and taught them basic stance at strike.  Thanks to Steve for setting up the workshop and thanks to Nozomi and James for housing us.

We drove a good 14-15 hours today to Topeka, Kansas!  Next stop – back to Denver!

Turning 31

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Wow… I’m well into my 30s now!  This is unofficially my and Shoji’s 25th year of playing taiko.  Can you believe it?  How special it is to still be playing with each other.  Thanks Shoj for all the great years.

Last year was a pretty good year for me personally.  Although things were tough for loved ones around me, I felt like I did a lot of growing up.  I finally feel comfortable being the person I am.  It’s in my nature to be a follower and I’ve always been told I should make an effort to be a leader, but that’s asking someone to be someone they are not.  I feel like I can be a quiet leader and supporter.  I feel confident with the skills that I have to be strong.  I don’t have to be “over the top” or a “go-getter” to be respected.  I’ve finally found out that I just have to be myself.

Some highlights of being 30:
-Driving across country and back SAFELY with Kris.
-Putting on a successful show at the Ford Amphitheatre with TAIKOPROJECT featuring guest artists San Francisco Taiko Dojo and making Tanaka-sensei proud.
-Going to Japan once to visit Courtney, going back a second time to help Kris receive his “natori”.
-Playing with TAIKOPROJECT in Hawaii.  I MISS Hawaii.  Thank you to Kenny and Chizuko Endo for being a big part of who I am.
-Adopting two abandoned kittens that Byron (my roommate and fellow TAIKOPROJECT member) found.  We nursed them, gave one away to Yuri and kept the other one who Mika named “Tabi”.  She has three grey feet and one white foot.
-Courtney’s return from Japan!!!  A year is long.
Shasta Yama with On Ensemble.  Always awesome to play for the home crowd.
-Our home concert “Yobu”.  At first it started to feel like, “why do we do this to ourselves?”  But then, when the show started and we saw our family, friends, and fans, it was definitely worth it.  Thank you all for coming!

Here’s to another year.  Hope this one is better.


Friday, October 10th, 2008

Hi all.  I spent the last week in South Lake Tahoe with TAIKOPROJECT.  Actually it’s been just me and Courtney.  We presented 14 lecture/demonstrations for about 10 different schools!!!  I’m exhausted, but it’s been fun.  The kids have been great.

It’s beautiful up here.  Reminds me a little of home… except it’s about 3,000 feet higher, so I can really feel the thin air up here.  Hard to breathe!

Here’s a pic of me pretending to fish with bears (conveniently with my “KUMA” t-shirt) made out of moss.  The leaves are changing too.  This area is called Sorenson‘s where there were many aspen trees.  So pretty!

It snowed today!  Bryan and the rest of the gang are driving up tonight for our public show tomorrow.  It’s being put on by Peggy Thompson and the Tahoe Arts Project.  Thanks for everything Peggy!

Don’t forget about On Ensemble’s concert coming up in less than a month!!!

See you in LA!

On Ensemble is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).