“It’s good to be alive!” That seems to be the motto of a lot of the tours I go on during the winter. But, braving the cold is all worth it in the end when we have an awesome, warm community to perform for. We had a fantastic time in Wisconsin! Special thanks to Ann, Angela, and Danika for bringing us out!
I picked up Bryan at like 4:00 am. I thought I was all awesome and stuff because I left early and was going to be early picking him up since he’s like almost never late. Well, I make it like all the way to the freeway (and it’s like 20 min to the freeway from my place), and I realized I forgot the equipment! So I sped home. Thank goodness for Sunday mornings. No traffic in LA. Thanks Kris for taking us to the airport and for watching my car!
We flew into Detroit and Brian Sole of The Great Lakes Taiko Center and his daughter, Karen, picked us up and drove us to Novi, MI. We went and taught an “Omiyage” workshop in perhaps one of the coldest workshops yet! My feet were numb after the workshop! Thank you Brian, Mayumi, Karen, and Kenji for housing us!
We rented a cargo van and picked up Brian’s drums. Thanks Brian and The Great Lakes Taiko Center for letting us rent your drums! Nice to know so many awesome taiko people out there!
Like always, I worry about weather (I think that comes from my parents). Well, we hit a blizzard on our way into Chicago. It was ridiculous! We picked up a high hat at the Midwest Buddhist Temple. Thanks to Ryan Toguri of Ho Etsu Taiko!
We picked up a koto in the suburbs of Chicago. What was supposed to take an hour, took 2.5 hours. It was pretty amazing to be stuck in traffic. Thank you Kyoko Fujioka for letting us rent your koto!
Finally, we hit the road to Sheboygan, Wisconsin! Holy Moly! We saw 9 traffic incidents. I decided it was probably a good idea to go like 40-45 mph as one car next to us started fishtailing and another car in front of us did a nice 180.
The rest of the cast (Jen, Yumi, Jenny, and David) finally got in around 1:00 am. I was battling a cold, so I went to sleep while Bryan took the young buck, David, to get a feast.
We met Angela from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in the morning and walked over to the Center. We loaded in and had a fun school show and an evening family show. The Center was a really fun place. A great place to enjoy good art! Bryan said that he enjoyed the very elaborate and decorative bathroom.
Later that evening, we enjoyed a greasy meal and awesome beer at the 8th Street Ale Haus. I enjoyed a good rye IPA. I haven’t been drinking much beer lately, so this was good. David enjoyed his usual five refills of Dr. Pepper! Thank goodness he actually brought and wore his jacket this time.
Today was our long day. Two school shows in the morning and an evening workshop. The second school show was interesting because we performed for mostly high school kids. I think they were music students because they thoroughly enjoyed our performance. One kid asked if Bryan could beatbox during the Q & A section and Bryan laid it down and they all clapped along. It was awesome!
Us being Asian, we wanted rice, so we went to a pretty decent Thai restaurant for dinner.
Enjoyed lunch at Field to Fork. It was awesome! The coffee was great and the food was delicious. I had the special, the Po’ Boy with aioli sauce mixed with Sriracha. So good. Their motto is to use as much local and organic foods as possible.
We set up and did our tech rehearsal for the big show. Special thanks to Doug and Ross for being there for us and working hard to make us look and sound good!
The show was tiring as it always is with only six of us, but those shows always challenges us the most. It’s a time for the individuals to shine. There’s something to be said about the power of the masses, but there’s also beauty in simplicity and to see and hear the musician/performer. During the concert, I realized that this was my last tour as a single man. I dedicated this concert to Courtney (who was at home working hard at work and on the wedding… thanks Coco!) and it made it special to be onstage that night with the people who I love to play taiko with.
Ended a great night with a couple of drinks with great friends!
Fought through traffic and snow again through Milwaukee! Things were a bit rushed today, but snow or shine, we made it safe and sound. I’m exhausted!
Special thanks to Angela, Anne, Danika, Doug, and Ross for all your help during our residency in Sheboygan!
Driving in horrible traffic and dangerous driving conditions in Chicago.
Wisconsin cast in front of the Arts Center.
David leading the workshop.
Tech time in the theater.
Pre-concert cast photo. Gotta have minty breath!
Food and beer! …and Dr. Pepper for David…