Saturday, August 13, 2011

The drums almost always make me cry...

It is not just the rains...
But I really don't know what spell this 'wadaiko' (Japanese drums) thing has on me...
Each time I witness a live wadaiko performance...
I'm almost always moved me to tears...
By tears, I mean, tears that continue to flow and flow throughout the course of the performance...

For the past 13 years, I have had the good fortune of being requested by the Japanese folks at a neighboring town to bring a handful of international students for a cooking event...
This year, I brought seven students from five countries...
They cooked up four lovely dishes while the Japanese folks presented us with some delicious local noodles and mixed sushi, all cooked from scratch...
After consuming the sumptuous meals, the town folks usually invite some group to provide entertainment...
This is third time I think, that the wadaiko troupe 'Man Ten' was invited...
Now, 'Man' does not mean 'man' as in you and me, but 'Full'...
And 'Ten' has got nothing to do with that number of fingers you may have...
Rather, 'Ten' refers to either the 'Heavens' or the 'Sky' depending on the context...
My preferred interpretation, however, of this amazing wadaiko troupe name would be 'Heaven Full' of Stars...

For 'stars' the drummers all are...
Throughout the one hour performance, they bang and slam...
They smile, they yell...
They swing, and they fly... 
Man Ten started off as a family outfit...
There was just mum, dad, and two cute little daughters...
Years down the road, the membership ballooned...
That day, I think about twenty drummers performed... 

I stood as I snapped...
The faster the tempo, the more rapid the snaps...
All the while, tears flowed on...
Look at the expression of the drummer second from left...
The smile, the features... rather clear...
Now, look at the other three drummers in flight...
The stage literally shook, blurring almost all images except the smiling drummer's...
In the final act, as in previous occasions, the leader of Man Ten invited the seven international students to come forward...
Mere minutes later, he had the students gleefully banging in unison on a 3-3-7 rhythm...
As he spruced the routine up... dancing, Japanese fan in hand...
Exhilarating just to watch... I must say... 
Oh yes, the food...
This is the mixed sushi with compliments from the town folks...

There is always so much food there that I normally choose to bring this home to be consumed the following day... 
Cambodian style stir fry vegetables with beef slices...
I couldn't control myself as I headed for multiple helpings...
 
The mabo-tofu, Szechuan style...
Was too engrossed with eating that I forgot taking shots of the Tomyam soup and the Vietnamese curry...
I certainly looked forward to being part of the event again next summer...