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May 17, 2004


Well, I’m now finally a full member of the island’s taiko-drumming group, and my first performance was on Saturday, which completes an arc of weirdness that began two years ago in London, when, completely by chance, I saw them performing on the South Bank along with my two predecessors – the only other two westerners to have lived on this island, in all likelihood (I’ve told that story previously here). It’s complete madness: in a London street, I watch and enjoy a band from a small island on the other side of the world, and then I walk off without even finding out their name. Two years later, by pure coincidence, I am living on that small island, and my next door neighbours run the band. A few months after that, and I’m a member.

I began practising weekly with the group in January, but for the three weeks or so leading up to the concert, we were practicing for an hour or two every evening. My hands are getting quite nicely calloused, and I think I might even be getting fit. Taiko involves a lot of movement, and this particular group jump around even more than most (which was why when I subsequently saw other taiko groups in the UK, I always compared them back to the first one I saw, and felt that there was just something lacking…)

Most of the band members are around my age, and most of them have been doing taiko since they were kids, which means they now absolutely rock. It’s pretty daunting (but very fun) being in a band with people so outrageously good, but it’s a good incentive to get good myself. We’ve got more concerts coming up in July and August, and I’m determined not to make any mistakes next time round…

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