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Full Circle

Day 27: Sado Island

O-Daiko 
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O-Daiko, the Kodo's biggest drum.
Michael Palin - Full Circle'On a good day,' she says, 'I don't notice it. The energy comes from right here,' she indicates her stomach. 'It goes through my breast, shoulder, arm and then finally goes into my drumming. The drums become the sound of my heartbreak.' I think she meant heartbeat but it was a nice Freudian slip.

After a year's apprenticeship only one or two students will be deemed good enough to join the elite at the Kodo Village a few miles away. Here conditions are more comfortable and the atmosphere more relaxed. Among the trappings of success are tour trucks marked 'Kodo, European Tour 95', and the presence of foreign musicians in the village, come to learn from the masters. One is an Englishman, Chris Slade, drummer of the band AC/DC. He shows me a blistered and bloodied pair of hands. He grins. 'It's worth it, I tell you.'

I have to ask why. 'Well, it's not just the drumming. It's the whole way of life. The whole Japanese thing. Unity of mind and body to produce the perfect sound.'

Obligingly they fetch out for me the giant drum, O-daiko, which weighs 1000 pounds and can be moved only on a heavy black, wood scaffold. Only two men in the world know how to play it properly. One of them, Eichi Saito, shows me the Kodo stance and hands me the sticks. The sound is tremendous. Saito can play this huge drum without a break for fifteen minutes. I, lacking the required unity of mind and body, release the sticks after fifteen seconds. I already have two soft pink blisters to show for it.
Japanese cookery presenter audition 
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Japanese cookery presenter audition. Take 1.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 27
  • Country/sea: Japan
  • Place: Sado Island
  • Book page no: 51

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  • Japan
  • Day 51 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 52 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 53 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

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