Allison trying out Naginata

Taiko-drums, calligraphy and Naginata in Abiko

Xuan and-Sabine rehearsing their Taiko moves
Xuan and-Sabine rehearsing their Taiko moves

Today we were able to try our hand at many different activities, like Naginata, Wadaiko, and Shodo.

One of my most favorite moments of today was trying the Naginata, which is one of the old forms of Japanese martial arts, similar to Kendo. We used long sword-like sticks made of oak and bamboo to hit places like the head and shin. I had never tried martial arts in general, so this was a new and exciting experience for me.

It was fun seeing people give it their all when doing Naginata and playing the Wadaiko, our next activity. Everyone was having fun with smiles on their faces, and I especially learned a lot during the special Q&A session we had with the Naginata instructors.

We were able to watch a Wadaiko performance, which was very intriguing. They performed 3 festival songs, and even included 3 elementary school kids in their performance. The little kids were so talented and were able to keep up with the strong adults too!

Near the end of the day, the Shodo Club from Chuo Gakuin University came to perform for us! Using bright colors, they wrote the lyrics to one of the songs that they played during their performance on a large piece of calligraphy paper that almost filled half of the room.

Later, we were able to experience calligraphy ourselves with kanji and hiragana. The girl that was helping was so funny encouraging us every step of the way. (Shout out to the wonderful Misaki-chan)

Today was a wonderful, experience-filled day. It didn’t matter if they were good at it or not, everyone had a great time trying new things out of their comfort zone.

Allison Beebe, USA

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