I am so happy that I signed up for the Summer Program at Japanese Language School Hokkaido, or JaLS. All the cultural activities included in the fee are really worthwhile. One afternoon, we were taken out of Sapporo’s centre to an area called Shin Kotoni (新琴似), which is accessible on one of the JR lines out of Sapporo Station.
We ended up in a very residential area of town. There were not many stores around and the station was relatively quiet. It certainly wasn’t a busy transport hub. We walked for about 15-20 minutes from the JR station to a tiny little building on a tiny little residential street.
I managed to find the taiko drum place on Google Street View.
You see that tiny box building with the grey door in the middle of the photo. That’s the taiko place. We were floored that such a tiny place housed a taiko studio. However, the key is that the studio is below ground. So we entered through this tiny building on the surface and then the much larger studio was underneath. I guess that made for a much cooler studio in the summer and good separation from other buildings to prevent the drumming from disturbing the neighbours.
Our taiko instructor taught us some basics about taiko drumming at taught us to do a very basic song. I think he wanted to teach us more, but saw that we were struggling with some of the drumming sequences (or maybe I was the only one struggling).
He gave all of us a chance to bang away at the giant drum in the back of the studio too. We all tried our hand at playing the drum sequence we had just learned. Keegan above was a natural at the drums.
Then sensei showed us his mad Taiko skills on the big drum and a set of smaller taiko drums. It’s really impressive. I wonder how long he’s been practicing taiko.
He also let us played with this little percussion set. They make me think of frogs when I look at them. It’s like playing the xylophone.
The activity wouldn’t be complete without a group shot with our sensei for the day. Thanks to Taiichi for taking all our photos. I hope you love your job, Taiichi.
In the video below, Kacy showcases the drum sequence that we learned and the sensei’s mad skills.
Fun memories. 🙂