One of the big things we did today, May 18, 2013, was centered around Taiko drums. This morning I went with my host family to a Taiko drum museum. We wore happi. Happi is what you wear when you play Taiko drums. My host family told me that each of the areas in this town had their own drum a long time ago and each of these drums was in this museum and we got to play them. When we joined the rest of the students in the auditorium we had a Taiko demonstration done for us. He played the drums louder and faster than I have ever heard anyone play. We each got a chance to try playing the drums (there were enough for about a third of us at a time) and we performed a small “concert” in three groups for each other. There were three types of drums also. One was giant—taller than any of us! Another you sit on the ground and wrap your feet around it and lean back to play. The last one that was demonstrated was one that had a shoulder strap and a drum head on each side.
Hearing the Taiko demonstration and getting to play the drums was one of my favorite things we have done so far in Japan. I have had a lot of people be really excited to see me (because I have blonde hair and pale skin) and many people impressed by our concert. However, this was a great opportunity for us to be not only interested in their culture but also impressed by them. One of our members tried playing one of the larger drums and broke the stick! But he wasn’t even playing half as loud as our demonstrator! I was shocked by the amount of force used to play these drums the right way. I think if we used that much force on the drums we used at our concerts at school they would break or fall over. I can’t wait to see these Taiko drums used the way we learned today at our concert.