Somehow I have this backlog of things I did this summer that I intended to share at the time and then fell behind on it but still do want to share. One of those things was a Taiko drum performance that I went to at the Ginza Bazzar in Japantown in mid-July.
What is Taiko?
I knew that Taiko were drums but didn’t know that much about them beyond that. The performance was only about fifteen minutes, which I learned is pretty common for Taiko because it is a very active, high-energy, intense drum performance. There are multiple people playing different types of drums.
Thing I Noticed
During the performance I noticed a few things:
- There seemed to be a definite structure to the performance
- It feels almost like a martial art form in a way
- The performance includes movement and singing
- The performers all had huge smiles on their faces; I have no idea if this is part of the performance style or not but it was true in this case
Looking up Taiko later I learned that there is a definite structure to the performance. Wiki says that taiko usually follows a typically follow a jo-ha-ky? (beginning, middle, end/rapid, sudden, urgent, and emergency) structure. After reading this I realized i was slightly familiar with the structure, which is also used in Japanese martial arts and theatre and I was introduced to that structure when I went and saw the Japanese plays at Theatre of Yugen.
The Taiko performance that I went to was just part of a street fair outside of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. This church is located near me in Japantown. The fair was part of their Ginza Bazaar; this was the 75th year of that annual event.
I never fail to appreciate that I live in San Francisco. There are always so many fun things to do here and so much joy. But I occasionally forget just quite how amazing it is in so many ways. This event reminded me of how lovely it is to live just five-ish blocks away from a Japantown annual event at a Buddhist Church (where there are actually Buddhist Church National Headquarters) to see free perofrmanecs of taiko drums and traditional dance. On a random Sunday when I’m actually pretty busy but can sequeeze it in because it’s so convenient. The loveliness of San Francisco life.