on the Art of Taiko
taiko and enjoy the training and practice that it involves. Since 1992,
I have trained by way of long-distance running and practicing Mikotonori.
I was first attracted to taiko because its training involved running,
which in Shumei is seen as a commitment to God. It is not too much to
say that taiko is the only way I know to reduce the stress that I feel.
In addition, I enjoy the simple communication that is used between members
of our group.
I have a somewhat fickle nature and would not have continued taiko if
the purpose were just to perform. I continue playing because I look
at it as my divine duty. That is the charm it holds for me, that there
is something beyond my own self-satisfaction.
For me our one most significant performance took place just two weeks
after I joined the Ensemble. It took place at the Miho
Museum's first symposium. A half-year after that, we were playing
in New York City. I will never forget those early performances in which
I took part. My strongest memory is the pure pleasure that I felt playing
taiko, although, at the time, I also felt embarrassment because of my
lack of physical strength. But the experience made me want to train
harder so that I would feel better about performing on stage.
As for taiko practice, each one of us needs to improve with each day
and not just be satisfied with maintaining our present state. My goal
is to improve my skills. I am still new to taiko and have much room
for growth. I find that my weak points improve with each performance.
Although I tend to get upset when another member points out the weaker
aspects of my technique, I realize that it is important to listen honestly
to the advice of others. I try to be as objective as I can about it.
As for God, I try to make my efforts accord with His will and not be
driven too much by my own desires. It is impossible to reach perfect
accordance with God, but yet small parts of any endeavor can be improved.
Many things can be fixed in almost everything.
Mainly, I learned three very important things by being in the Ensemble:
self-centered thinking is not good, nothing is perfect, and there is
always room for improvement. In addition, I have learned something important
about an aspect of our minds: thoughts mirror the way a person acts
and our behavior reflects our attitudes.
Today, I am in a good place, where I can improve as much as I can. Although
it is impossible to evaluate taiko by numbers, if God is keeping score,
I hope to have a passing grade. Actually, I would like to reach a perfect
score in God's evaluation. But then, there are so many things to improve
upon both in taiko and in life.