“That looks cool!” Chris said each time he passed a poster for the Eitetsu Hayashi acoustic taiko drumming concert. “Go ahead and get us tickets to that!” Surprise—the ever-changing deployment schedule shifted and Chris was unable to attend. Fortunately my friend Chrissy said she’d enjoyed a similar concert so much she’d see it again. So this Saturday she and I headed to Yokohama for some monastic chanting and traditional rhythmic taiko drumming—wow!! It was so…JAPAN…and and the same time had similarities with other Asian chanting and African drumming. What is it about the booming vibrations throbbing through an entire audience that so enthralls all cultures?! Eitetsu Hayashi, the star performer, is one of Japan’s living cultural assets and grew up in a Buddhist temple before founding his first band: Demon Drummers of Japan. Rebel!
Taiko drumming is kind of the theme of the summer; just two weeks from now the biggest Awa Odori festival on the Kanto Plain—which includes the world’s biggest metropolis around Tokyo and Yokohama—will happen right here around Yamato Station!! Yes that’s right, our very own booming taiko drummers, who serenade us by drowning out every word attempted during practice, will hail the arrival of the Chidori-ren dancers (including several over-excited Americans)!! So this taiko performance was the calm before the storm, the gathering of thought and strength before several upcoming marathon weekend-long festival dance performances. Get ready!
Recommended Cultural Activity: Yamato Awa Odori Festival, July 24-25, Yamato Station, Odakyu Line