Passion is nice but…

Ah, after reading the book “Taiko Boom”, one learns that the 1958 Japanese movie “The Ricksaw Man” had tremendous influence on early development of ensemble taiko. The ricksaw man was low but strong, he could play taiko for “real” while no one else could. It felt empowering to think that manual labor could do great, for example, taiko playing. Hmm… is it really that great in reality?

After a gig awhile ago, I was bringing taiko drums and equipment to the vehicles. Along the way, we passed by a newly built gym. Seeing all strong and healthy people paying to work out inside, it makes a sharp contrast with us carrying heavy equipment voluntary outside. I have never been to a gym… I have always believed that strength should be acquired from doing chores, just like the Ricksaw Man, who was strong from pulling the ricksaw every day. When I was working as a bike courier in Honolulu, hours of biking made me strong and sore. I’d never want to go to gym because I was poor and excising plenty enough. I was working like the Ricksaw Man and got a bit stronger, but also huge anxiety because the job pays like shit and Honolulu drivers are very rude to bikes on the road. The physical tiredness also made taiko playing a bit harder.

All this time I was thinking what kind of lives does it really take to play quality taiko…? I think one should be those who can afford to go to gym, but instead go to taiko. Again, passion is nice but never enough. Bla…

Chung Wan Choi