On September 9, 2014 (I’m sorry for the late post!), TAIKOPROJECT performed at the wonderfully energetic Roger Anton Elementary School.  It was the first school show of the new school year and it was the perfect start!IMG_5872

(Unloading the van)

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(Setting up the stage)

In celebration of the first school show of the year, we decided to try out a new addition to our costumes: headbands!  It was so much fun to try out a new accessory.  It gave us a little extra “umph” to give our all to perform for our audience.  The students and the teachers had so much positive energy to give and only had kind words for our performances.  The TP crew such a blast sharing our love for taiko with all the students.  The school was so accommodating, providing us with water and a delicious home cooked lunch.  Excitingly enough, it was my first time trying horchata!  I was so excited to finally try it out and I was NOT disappointed.

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As we were on our way out back to Los Angeles, the TP van unfortunately had difficulty starting up.  But not to worry!  Thank goodness for AAA~ they came to the rescue.  Thank you AAA!  And of course, thank you Roger Anton Elementary for having us!

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On the weekend of September 13th and 14th TAIKOPROJECT performed for the crustacean-craving crowds at the Port of LA Lobster Fest. Despite being in the midst of LA’s worst heat wave of the year, plenty of lobster enthusiasts ventured to San Pedro for their annual fix at what may be the largest lobster festival in the world. Because of the heat, shade was at a premium but plenty came out to watch TAIKOPROJECT and other great performers over the course of the day.

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The TP crew warms up with a rousing game of many-musical-chairs on the boardwalk.

TAIKOPROJECT lies waiting in the wings, monopolizing on available shade to protect the equipment.

One fan was gracious enough to sketch this excellent drawing for us–thanks!

The festival holds the current Guinness world record for largest lobster serving, dishing out a total of 1,126 lb8.8oz (510.99kg for those of you more metrically inclined). Of course, we all did our part to contribute as much as possible to another record this year around. It’s a good thing we didn’t perform until after we ate!

LOBSTERPROJECT gets down to business.

Thanks for having us, Lobsterfest–we look forward to more taiko and lobster next year…

 

On Friday, Sept. 19, we were invited to perform for a special family “Beach Bash” at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California, through our work with the ArtsTeach program in Orange County. It was a beautiful sunny day at Del Mar Beach! It was the first time for all of us on a military base, and we never realized how large Camp Pendleton was.

A long and sandy load-in pathway awaits us

A long and sandy load-in pathway awaits us

We loaded in and got everything ready for the performance on a concrete raised stage in the middle of the beach. Luckily, the staff provided EZ-UP canopies so we weren’t in direct sun, but it made for some creative maneuvering for some of our songs.

Bryan (with beard), Jenny, Doug, Andrew, and Derpy Tomomi

Bryan, Bryan’s beard, Jenny, Doug, Andrew, and Derpy Tomomi

While we were getting ready, I met one of the Commanding Officers at Camp Pendleton. As he was walking up to us, I thought to myself, this guy looks like he’s the guy in charge. And, he was. He told me about the battalions stationed at the Camp, and how they coordinate a number of social events for the Marines at the base. Not having any experience in the military world, I found it quite interesting. We had a pretty awesome introduction from the DJ who was playing music for the event, and then had a fun performance. We got several audience members to come up and try taiko with us at the end and the Commanding Officer gave us a commemorative “Challenge” coin.

Pretty awesome looking coin

Pretty awesome looking coin

Afterwards, we packed up, shook off as much as sand as we could out of our tabi, and headed back home. Thank you to everyone at Camp Pendleton for your service to our country and we hope we brought a little excitement to your Beach Bash!

 

Earlier this month we had the exciting opportunity to perform for the grand opening of UNIQLO at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.  UNIQLO, a very popular clothing company in Japan, has been branching out internationally in recent years, and they are currently opening new stores in Southern California.  We performed two pieces, Expanding & Many Sides, for this event.

I was SO stoked to hear about this gig because UNIQLO is one of my all time favorite clothing stores.  Every time I go to Japan I pretty much take an empty suitcase and it usually comes back home at least 1/2-3/4 full of UNIQLO items.  Now I don’t have to travel thousands of miles to shop there!!… Although, I will now also have to learn to control my urge to shop there excessively.  ;)

Here is the link to UNIQLO’s website:

http://www.uniqlo.com/us/

Thank you UNIQLO for inviting us to be a part of your grand opening event!

 

TPUNIQLO

 

Hi all.  I recently returned from a month-long tour to the Nebraska State Fair and a Northern California-Pacific Northwest On Ensemble tour!  It’s good to be back and to sleep in my own bed, shower in my own shower, eat my own food, and see my wife, family, and friends!  It’s the little things you appreciate after being gone for so long.

On August 19, 2014, David and I drove to Moab, Utah starting at 5 something in the morning.  It rained on the way and we got a free van wash!!!  Poor, neglected van wasn’t attended to much during the very busy summer.  When we arrived in Moab, it was raining super hard and Sheila said that it was very rare.  I wish some of the rain went to California…  Sheila made us a very nice meal.  Thank you Sheila and thank you Hop for letting us crash at your place.  We missed you!

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Rain at a gas station in St. George, UT

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Clean, crisp morning and a sparkling clean van in Moab

David and drove over the majestic Rockies to Denver and dropped off some stand bags and a chu daiko to Toni Yagami for repair.  We headed over to Aiko’s and a nice steak dinner with Aiko and her family and a couple of Denver Taiko folks.  Thanks Aiko and family for hosting us.

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Awesome view of the Rockies!

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OMG!!!  Double Rainbow in Denver!!!  OMG!!!  So bright and vivid!  What does it mean…?

We picked up Liz and Doug at the Denver airport and were on our way to Grand Island, Nebraska straight to the State Fair to load in, get dinner, check into the hotel, then get some rest before the big day.  Visit our video channel here for awesome vlogs from the tour:  TP Video Channel

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