Humans of Taikokoro

A monthly piece introducing a Taikokoro member

- Aki -

My name is Aki. In my real life, I am an Executive Assistant for the Executive Director at a global logistics company. When I am not drumming, I can make myself look serious and hardworking in a corporate world!

I grew up in Tokyo and lived there until I finished my Uni and moved to Melbourne in 1994. As a kid, Japanese traditional music never drew my attention. Rather, my choice was playing the drums in a girls band at high school (thought I was cool but wasn’t ….).

Around 1997, my flatmate then asked me to join Rindo with her, but I wasn’t so sure about it because Taiko seemed out-of-date and daggy, which were proven wrong and I found learning Taiko is so much fun! Luckily, Toshi just started Rindo with not even 20 students, which gave me a lot of performance opportunities at festivals, events and concerts for many years.

My other music experience is Ukulele. I wasn’t very good at it, but Chris, my first audience, could tell at least which song I was playing for him.

Ayako is another key person in my Taiko life. She actually introduced me to the Tsumura family in Tokyo long before Australia Miyake Kai was established. I was shocked at students over there staring at themselves in the mirror to check their postures and movements, some even looked so much in love with themselves!! Never thought I would become one of those in the future.

Sounds a bit exaggerated, but the trip to Hachijo Island in 2015 has marked the beginning of a new era for my taiko life. Initially I was freaked out seeing locals in three generations improvising naturally in a laid-back fashion but it is so addictive! This experience brought me back there twice in 2016 & 2019 to participate in 24hour challenge. Hope I am able to visit them again soon!

It is very hard to choose but one of my best taiko memories is performing with the Tsumura family in 40 degrees at Melbourne Summer Festival in 2014. It was extremely hot and I was also too nervous to play Ura after Kaz sensei, so Chie, a veteran member from Tokyo, poked me in my back so I could get up and go!

1. Would you rather have unlimited sushi or unlimited tacos for life and why?
I definitely choose unlimited Sushi over Tacos because Sushi has more variety than Tacos.

2. What is your most embarrassing favourite song?
My most embarrassing favourite song is Boom Boom (Let’s go back to my room) by Paul Lekakis.

3. What is the dumbest way you’ve been injured?
Slipped in a shower and knocked the soap dish with my kneecap which resulted in slashing my knee about 3cm. I ended up waiting for hours at Royal Melbourne Hospital before getting stitches and returned home at dawn.