How Hot Does It Get in Japan? Not Too Hot for Taiko!

"Does it get this hot in Michigan?" "Does it get this cold in Michigan?" Japanese people seem to enjoy asking these types of questions. My answer is usually "Yes, sometimes it gets even hotter (or colder)." Now we are approaching the hottest time of the year in Japan and a typhoon that passed to the north has brought with it hot and sticky weather. It's actually only in the 90s (and in the winter, it rarely gets much below freezing) but the poorly insulated buidlings (and the humidity as well) makes it feel so much hotter. Everyone seems 10 times more irritable than usual because of the heat (especially kids).

Oh well, the nice thing about this time of year is that it means Asano Taiko's Exstasia is not far off. In fact, it is this Sunday! Today, I am heading off to the concert venue (a huge, outdoor park) to help work on setting up. Last Monday we had a meeting about how the stage and so on would be set up and what it would look like. It looks pretty cool. I'll try to get a few pictures today while I'm working. I am looking forward to helping out for this huge event. It will be a lot of work, and most of us are not getting paid for it, but it will be an excellent learning experience, I'm sure.

Anyhow, I just had a few pictures to post today, so that's what I'll do. First, on Saturday, our neighborhood had their 夏祭り (natsu matsuri - summer festival), which we attended. The neighborhood taiko group, Togashi Fujin Taiko was one of the performers, so I took a few pictures of them. Usually there are 5 members, but for some reason, only two of them could perform that day.

And yesterday, my wife had her recital for the Ishikawa Taiko Federation Intermediate Course (石川太鼓連盟中級講座). I was impressed by her Odaiko playing. Here is a picture, but the lighting was not so good, so the picture is a bit dark.

The recital was for three classes, the "first time" taiko class, the beginners taiko class, and the intermediate class. They had also invited several other groups as guests, though, the most well known being dazoku (打族) of Komatsu. They were quite good and have a lot of influence from Kaga Taiko style. The rhythms were very similar and there is a lot of stick twirling as well. Here is picture of their performance (again, in poor light).

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