My Journey as a Flute Player in the Awa Dance Group

Japanese Traditional Dance: Music and Dancers in Sui-ren

→ Awa-Dance in Koenji "Sui-ren" official website
17 May

Taiwan Performance Tour, the first day in Kaoshun

Recently, I went to Taiwan for a 3-day performance tour. It was a cultural exchange program between Taiwan and Japan. The organizer, Koenji-ren-kyoukai, selected 160 dancers and band members. I was lucky enough to be chosen. We were divided into 2 groups and I became a part of “Team B” which traveled from the southern part to the northern part of Taiwan. Our team had 6 flute players—3 of which I’ve already performed with before. I was so happy to get a chance to play with them again!

Coming from Narita Airport in Japan, we arrived at Kaoshun Airport in Taiwan, afternoon of April 26. As soon as we got there, we transferred to a bus and drove to a temple called Ryusei-gu. When we arrived there, a big audience welcomed us. It surprised me a lot.

We held our first performance at Kaoshun. The performance commenced in front of the temple and then from there, we marched on the street as we played our musical instruments. So many Taiwanese locals came to see us and they were all so excited! Honestly, I was feeling nervous at first but gradually, I just felt at ease seeing how ecstatic the people were while they watched us performed. It felt so rewarding. I remember seeing some people taking videos of us using their smartphone. I guess, this way, I could see our performance on Youtube. That would great!

When we back to the temple, we changed our costumes. Afterwards, we got a chance to witness a nice display of fireworks. As a way to welcome us, the Taiwanese organizers set a magnificent fireworks show. It was so close that I felt I could touch them! It was such a wonderful experience for me.

We were invited to a fantastic dinner courtesy of Ryusei-gu Temple officials. They served special Chinese food for us. The dinner was set in a lovely tent outdoors. I could not recognize some of the fish on the plate. Nonetheless, it tasted surprisingly good. It was a great evening and certainly an excellent way to kick off the tour.

15 Apr

Practice for Taiwan performance tour

I am going to Taiwan by the end of this month for a performance tour. I am a member of “All Koenji Team” that is consists of 160 dancers and band members. I have joined the team as a flute player.

We had our first practice yesterday. Most of the songs we played were the same that I played at the Furusato festival, which was held last January. The members are familiar, too.

This team is divided to two teams. One team stays in Taipei and the other one travels from south to north. I belong to the second team, so we perform in Kaoshun which is located south of Taiwan and then move to Uinrin the middle, and finally arrive in Taipei. The last performance is going to be participated by all 160 members.

I have a very close friend in Kaoshun, and she and her daughter are going to see our perform on stage. It’s so exciting!
13 Apr

Japanese guitar “Shamisen”

I started learning to play the Japanese guitar called “Shamisen” last July. My team, Suiren has no Shamisen player yet. So I decided to start playing it.

This is the first time for me to play Shamisen. It was not easy at first because I had no experience to play even the usual guitar. The difficult part for me is turning the tuning peg. I have to listen carefully and turn the peg.
While playing, Shamisen easily loosens its strings, so I have to turn it back. It takes time to get used to it.

A few days ago, my friend gave me a good Shamisen! I brought it to my Shamisen teacher to ask her to send it to an instrumental shop to have it fixed. She said it is a great one! I feel that I have to practice a lot to play it well.

I am sure that I love to play Japanese flute but I also love to play Shamisen. I can feel my progress as a beginner of Shamisen. I hope to be able to play it on a summer festival in two years.


This shamisen is under repair!
About the writer
Mayuko Kurosaka

She is a member of Sui-ren. She is a flutist. She's been performing for more than 6 years for the group. She was born in Kawagoe an old city in Saitama. She learned to play traditional instrument when she was a young or a kid. She works as a freelance writer.
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