After a day away from Nihon Fukushi University, we returned today to the school’s Bunka Hall for morning practice. The students picked up where they left off, learning “Matsuri Daiko” from Rakko members. As it's one of the pieces they’ll be performing together during Saturday’s event (along with “Raku,” which they performed together last year in Pittsburgh), there isn’t much time to put everything together, but everyone is putting all they have into the practice, and so far the results are very promising!
The bonds that the students have been been building during the week are showing both in the teaching/learning process and when they perform together. All students - from Pittsburgh and Mihama alike - seem more and more comfortable in each other’s presence, not just during practice time but during down time and as they travel together throughout the area. As the name of the program suggests, they truly are building Ties Through Taiko, ties that transcend musical performance and will allow them to establish deep relationships that are sure to continue after this week is over.
After successfully learning all of “Matsuri Daiko,” the Pittsburgh students took a seat while Rakko played a piece for them. Then, it was their time on stage, as they reviewed two of the pieces they’ll be performing on Saturday. They’re quickly getting used to not just the performance space but also the drums on which they will be performing - those in attendance on Saturday are in for a treat!
Practice was followed by lunch, with the students eating bento lunches made by their host families.
After lunch, Sabrina and Jacob A were interviewed by a local TV station about their experiences in Japan! They spoke about playing taiko with members of Rakko, as well as explained why they wanted to play taiko in the first place.
The group - Pittsburgh students and Rakko students together - then took a train to Tokoname, a nearby city famous for its pottery (the production of which has continued since the 12th century). Students had a chance to make their own pottery, instructed by the father of one of Rakko’s members. We’re all looking forward to seeing how the final result turns out once the firing is complete!
A brief walk through the surrounding area followed, before the group traveled to Aeon Mall Tokoname, where they had a chance to do some shopping before separating for the day. Just two more days until the performance, and three days left in the trip!
For more pictures from today, check out the Flickr album!