Jackson Pietsch: Taiko + Igo

Through my two CIP activities, Taiko drumming at Kitanotenmanguu Shrine and the Go club at Kyoto University, I learned several new skills. First and foremost were Taiko drumming and how to play Go, but a close second came from speaking with a good number of native Japanese people who were not as used to “dumbing down” their language for gaijin as my host parents, teachers, and other Japanese friends have been. I had to deal with speech that was much faster and more colloquial than what I was normally used to, and so had to practice both asking for clarification on specific parts of a sentence, and trying to grasp larger meanings from context. Luckily, the activities of Go and Taiko can usually be broken down and explained as one simple motion at a time, so as far as I knew there were never any terrible miscommunications.
I have not been to Go as often as Taiko, and every time I went there were different Kyodai students there, so I did not make any lasting connections through Go. However, despite the fact that I was generally unable to go to after-practice dinners or other functions, I was able to speak closely and in a friendly way with several of our other team members, and also to perform at the March 25th festival at Kitanotenmanguu. The festival alone was a great experience, and I’m glad to have been able to meet some of the people I did and participate in something I otherwise would never have the chance to.

2 thoughts on “Jackson Pietsch: Taiko + Igo

  1. Taiko and Igo sound like some of the most difficult things to learn. Well, since you have a background in drumming, maybe taiko wasn’t bad at all.

    Have you had any experience with Go before coming to Japan? How was learning it in Japanese? I remember I was super inspired by the Hikaru no Go anime and decided I wanted to learn Go, but I could barely even understand how to play with an in-depth ENGLISH description.

  2. Taiko was not really that hard to learn! Understanding the notation took a few minutes, and it’s pretty different from the rock drumming I’m used to (feels like a lot more patterns to memorize, even though it’s probably about the same level), but it was more fun than difficult by far.

    I hadn’t played Go before coming, but I went through a quick English tutorial (pointed to me by one Mr. David Glekel, so you can ask him if you have any interest, I forgot the site name) and was able to pick it up pretty well after that. I couldn’t beat any of the regular Kyoudai members of course, but I at least did better than other beginners! I’ve never read Hikaru no Go but David has and likes it a lot too, I believe.