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Nagano Season Update

Shishimai in Iida city's Oneri Matsuri

Hello everyone.

I wanted to post an update, which I haven’t done in some time.

For the winter season 2015 to summer 2016, I was residing in Nagano prefecture Japan where I pursued new advances in music and performance by participating with my friends there in festivals, competitions and performances.

I started the season off supporting my good friend Tetsuya Kudaka in his premier concert Haguruma, as flute player. It was so exciting to see my good friend take to the stage in a concert featuring his styles and performance as a dancer and drummer. He is so talented and I continue to look forward to what he does next!

Over the winter season Nagano is full of things to do. It is actually for those who recall the Nagano Olympics, a very exciting place to be for winter sports. It was during a busy season in the Northern Alps that I met with the members of Otari-daiko, a community driven group who were based out of the neighbouring town from where I was staying. In no time at all I found myself coaching the team in some traditional music. You see, as odd as it may seem many teams in Japan play music that was written specifically for their team and have little exposure to some of the classics and mainstream cannon that is very commonly shared in taiko groups outside of Japan. This is partly due to the sense of respect for other’s traditions and a fear of being criticized for emulating other traditions improperly. These concerns have largely been bypassed outside of Japan, but continue to form a barrier for many players there.

I was greatly excited to work with them. We played together for several months and in that time, I was permitted to use their rehearsal space to prepare for my first attempt at the Okaya Hitori-uchi contest held in Okaya, Nagano Japan every summer. As my first attempt, I can say it was a great learning experience, and I owe a great thanks to the Otari-daiko team for supporting my efforts to participate in this increasingly popular international competition.

If you have an interest in practicing or learning in Japan and need some advice on some good places to reach out, don’t hesitate to contact me, I am more than happy to help find ways to build bridges.



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