There are two things a taiko player likes to do: banging on drums and going out to eat. At least these are two of my favorite things! Taiko Conference was not only about learning new techniques, songs, and drills. It was also about making new friends, and then…… going out together to eat!
The opening reception brought hundreds of us together with tables full of delicious food cooked by local LA taiko groups. I got to see some old friends from Hawaii, meet some new ones, and find out about the famous Korean BBQ Taco Truck that drives around LA – thanks Meg!
At Wurstkuche, I watched Kelvin eat a rattlesnake & rabbit sausage. His verdict: tastes like sausage. At Tofu Village I tried shochu for the first time – thanks Matt. My verdict: I’ll stick with water.
Bombu Taiko of LA confirmed my theory that dinner time means whatever time practice is over (we arrived at the restaurant at 11 PM) and that west coast taiko groups eat just like east coast taiko groups – a lot! At a Japanese restaurant, John-Paul and I were amused but also impressed with Beth’s chopstick skills as she got her natto from her bowl to her mouth. I enjoyed bringing ONE members to some of my favorite places, like Daikokuya for ramen and of course, Pinkberry, and to see them enjoy these places as much as I do.
I loved my birthday dinner with ONE community members and my daughter Jadelyn, who arranged for us to go to a shabu-shabu house. The waitress brought us endless trays of meat and vegetables to cook in our hot pots (more than we could eat) and a free bottle of champagne! Thank you ONE for celebrating with me and making my day special.
Whether it be a quick breakfast gulped down with Diane & Mark, a curry lunch with Beth & Lindsay, or dinner with Diane, Dave, Cat & Greg where we laugh hilariously at every comment made, these are the bonds we make when we are away from our drums, so that when we get back behind them, our kumi-daiko creates something special.
I took away so much from my first Taiko Conference, and although I may forget some of what I learned, I’ll always remember sharing the week – drumming, laughing, and eating, with both old friends and new friends and definitely some of the best people I know.