Back from Spring Break

We just returned from about 8 days of traveling around Shimane and Hiroshima prefectures, in south-western Honshu. It was our family spring break trip and our first major road trip in Japan. (Read about my japanese road trip experiences here.) Everyone asks us why we decided to go to Shimane prefecture. Apparently it is not a very popular tourist destination. It is very "countryside", so a bit inconvenient to travel to, but still, a beautiful part of Japan. To answer the why question, it is because my mother had been there once before and wanted to visit again. It turns out, however, that there was a slight taiko connection in traveling there. We learned soon after deciding to spend our spring break there, that Yamada san of Hono Taiko, who also instructs our Yume Mitai and Matto Bayashi classes, is from Shimane prefecture. So we got to visit the home prefecture of our main taiko instructor.

The down side of the trip was that I had to miss taiko practices on Monday and Tuesday last week. You would think one week is not that big of a deal, but I seriously notice a difference when I cannot practice, even for a week. Not only do I miss playing, but I can feel my body losing strength. We did make it back in time for this week's practices, however, and after only 15 minutes or so of practice on Monday night, I could feel everything coming back to me. I felt re-energized, refreshed.

Another positive thing happened at Monday's practice. I believe I mentioned a new Asano sponsored group being formed called Jigen in a previous blog. I had expressed disappointment at being too old to join the group, which had set the age limit from 14 - 30 years old. At Monday's practice, though, Yamada san again inquired of my age. Upon telling her that I am 33 she said, "oh, well then you are okay to join Jigen" (the new group). I said, "What, they raised the age limit?" and she said, "Yeah, many of the people that wanted to join were already in their thirties, so they decided to take people up to 35." I can't tell you how excited I am about this. This should be a fairly high level group, that will offer a real challenge and the focused training we are seeking. I do take it as a compliment that I have been encouraged to join, but I learned that part of the reason is also because of my gender. There are currently about 8 people lined up, two of which are male, so they are doing their best to try to balance it out between men and women a bit more. The first practice will be April 19. My wife will join as well, for the time being.

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