“KASA/MIX 2018” by Yui Kamiya
KASA/MIX was held once again this year on Sado Island!
This is a week-long biennial program geared for taiko players from abroad.
This program not only features an exclusive time at Kodo’s Apprentice Centre with the apprentices, but also gives a chance to experience the beautiful nature of Sado and the craftsmanship of Kodo and the Japanese culture.
This year, we had participants join from a record breaking number of 7 countries with 22 people representing all over the world!
We had people from the U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., Italy, Germany, and Singapore, all with unique taiko experiences and loads of energy.
The trip began in Kanazawa, where we all did some sightseeing together. Next we visited Asano Taiko for a tour of their workshop space, and we also took some lessons on mini-taiko making and Odaiko taught by Akemi Jige.
Then, we traveled to Sado Island and headed to Kodo Apprentice Centre.
Even before meeting the KASA/MIX participants, the Apprentices seemed very nervous and worried as they were not necessarily confident in their English language and communication skills.
But all of those worries blew away once everyone arrived, of course, because there was so much joy and excitement filling the air!
Three nights and four days were spent at the Apprentice Centre, and the workshops were conducted by Kodo’s performing members.
Yoko Fujimoto’s Voice Circle brought everyone’s voices and energy together.
And Tomohiro Mitome’s odaiko bachi making and taiko basics workshops gave everyone a better sense of craftsmanship and the way we play taiko.
Yoshie Abe’s katsugi okedo workshop not only showed the basics of playing this particular style, but to also how to move around elegantly with the drum.
And lastly, Yoshikazu Fujimoto’s odaiko workshop gave everyone time to play on the large drums with all their might.
During the program, KASA/MIX participants ran with the Apprentices every morning…
…and experienced the great nature and fresh air of Sado that surrounds the facility.
We played games together, and ate meals together like a big family.
For the Apprentices, cleaning time may have been a dreaded activity in their daily schedule, but doing their chores together with KASA/MIX participants made them much more fun.
At night, we had KASA/MIX participants share their stories and experiences of taiko in their home country.
Since this was many of the apprentices’ first time to be exposed to taiko outside of Japan, this was a valuable time for them to learn what is out there in the broader world. We also had one-on-one conversation sessions where the apprentices did their best to communicate in English and use body language to talk to their new friends from abroad.
Activities like these make KASA/MIX so special, and create a remarkable experience for the apprentices, as they overcome language barriers and connect with everyone through taiko and heart to heart.
Taiko may have come from Japan, but it is also now a worldwide sensation.
As “taiko” continues to grow globally, I feel that KASA/MIX also grows as a program along with it. KASA/MIX helps our future Kodo performers make friends all over the world, even before they make their debut as a performing member.
KASA/MIX is only offered once every two years, which means that the apprentices only get to experience it once during their two-year apprenticeship.
This experience has definitely opened up many opportunities for these young adults, and we truly thank you all of you who took part in the program this year.
It was so much fun, and we really look forward to seeing you all again!
See you again soon!
Please follow KASA (Kodo Arts Sphere America) on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kodoarts/
For those of you who are interested in participating our next KASA/MIX, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Yui Kamiya, KASA/MIX Staff Member
Kodo Apprentice Centre