Alyssa Hooper of Summerland has been welcomed onto the Taiko drum team in Toyokoro, Japan, where she is learning to play a traditional Japanese instrument.

Alyssa Hooper of Summerland has been welcomed onto the Taiko drum team in Toyokoro, Japan, where she is learning to play a traditional Japanese instrument.

Learning Taiko drumming in Toyokoro

The past month in Toyokoro has been really busy and a lot of fun.

The past month in Toyokoro has been really busy and a lot of fun.

I had my first Taiko drum performance in September at one of the biggest festivals in Toyokoro.

I am very grateful that I have been welcomed onto the Taiko drum team and have gotten to learn how to play a traditional Japanese instrument as well as experience another aspect of their culture. I also had the opportunity to perform for and teach Taiko to the visiting high school students from Summerland and Penticton in October.

It was fun to show off my new skills and get to have a fast paced conversation with native English speakers from my own community.

Earlier this month, the Toyokoro Junior High School held their annual school festival. The festival is held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a Saturday and all parents, siblings, and citizens are welcome to attend.

At the festival, the students show off their many talents and display their projects and all their hard work from the year thus far. There were many performances in the school gym throughout the day including brass band, talent show, and a chorus competition.

I was absolutely blown away by the singing ability of all of the students at the school. Each grade (7 to 9) practices and performs two songs for the competition and they were all amazing! In addition to the performances, students’ art projects, woodwork, sewing, and writing is displayed throughout the classrooms for everyone to view.

The students prepare for approximately three weeks in advance of the festival and it was really exciting to watch them put so much effort into their work and then enjoy showing off their hard work on the day of the festival.

As for the weather in Toyokoro, it is starting to get a little cold.

Since I last wrote, we’ve had another minor earthquake and a typhoon. I have never experienced a typhoon before, and I just happened to be teaching at the elementary school in Otsu that day, which is a town right on the ocean, so the wind and rain was very intense.

The snow will begin to fall in about a month, and I’ve heard that Toyokoro gets a lot of snow, so hopefully I can stay warm and dry over the next month.

Alyssa Hooper is in Summerland’s sister city of Toyokoro, Japan as the assistant English teacher.

 

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