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Return to Otari

In the close of 2018, I visited New Zealand in the company of Otari Daiko. It was such a unique and memorable experience for us all, but certainly to be called to join them in a performance in New Zealand was very special.

This year, with the good fortune of the successful grant application for the NAE project, during my residency in Achi village in the south of Nagano, I was able to take a day to visit Otari and catch up with the group. It’s always good to see the faces of people you care about in good health and it’s always nice to see the kids of Otari daiko over the years – hoping they don’t grow up too fast.

This visit’s Omiyage was tooth paste and cookies… which was a big hit. In these times when most every commodity that was once a rare souvenir from a faraway place can be bought in pretty much any grocery store – expensive maple syrup can be kind of a bore. But, the Roots gift bags I brought a few years back are still in use as bachi bags, and I gather our toothpaste is a big hit, so now I’m kind of excited to see what other rarities will make good travel gifts from Canada.

Otari Daiko takes its youth contingent to a regional competition each year and this year in April they were working on a new mandatory piece. The competition provides a single piece that each group must perform and allows additional time for each group to perform a piece of their own making or origination. Each year around this time I look forward to the videos and images of Otari Daiko at the competitions. They improve in leaps and bounds every year and I can’t wait to see them bring one home!

I want to express my thanks again to Otari Daiko for inviting me to be a part of their New Zealand tour, wish them luck in the regionals and I look forward to seeing them again soon!


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