Last year I spent the early part of the year working in the village of Otari in northern Nagano. The time spent there helped me to develop a strong bond with a group that is a mixed split of adult performers and a core of energetic youth. This year in the spring, in answering a request to help my friend Tetsuya Kudaka in his feature performance Mitsu-domoe, I decided I would like to try and see if I couldn't somehow get together with my friends from Otari again.
Much to my surprise, after some messaging back and forth, Tetsuya and I agreed to hold a workshop at the Meikyo-kan where Tetsuya trains. It was originally only intended to be a small event to help make the long drive from Otari more enticing to my colleagues there. But, within no time the event was fully booked and was to be a full house with dozens of adult and children learners in courses on Odaiko, Hachijo Taiko and Shinobue.
To my great surprise and satisfaction, almost the entire membership of Otari Daiko honoured me by accepting my invitation. Borrowing the local village bus, they made a two day field trip of the event, attending our concert on the Saturday, enjoying a Yakiniku dinner at the Meikyo-kan afterward and then joining us for a day of workshops. It remains undeniably one of the most enjoyable memories of 2017 to have performed with my good friends and colleagues, to have been joined by Otari Daiko and to see their faces again.
I want to thank Tetsuya Kudaka, Ryo Shimamoto and Kazushige Yanase for graciously sharing the stage with me and for an incredibly exciting performance. I would also like to thank my good friends from Otari for coming and supporting me, and once again sharing their practice space with me.