Kiara Harding: Ritsumeikan Taiko Circle

For my CIP, I joined Ritsumeikan University’s taiko circle, Wadaiko Don. Everyone was very welcoming, and though I was only able to be there for a short time because of the end of the taiko season, it was very educational. I had a little bit of taiko experience previously, but not much, so I mostly practiced the basics with the first years. I thought that the club would be a bit strict, but I realized it’s much more of a “do what you need to do” atmosphere. Additionally, the members were very laid back, and were always willing to teach me new things. I primarily attended for the free practices, where everyone just practiced whatever they needed to work on. I learned and practiced a song with a few of the other members with the intention of playing in a small performance, but it was unfortunately cancelled due to the typhoon. After that, the taiko season had eventually come to an end, so I moved on to a new CIP, but I still learned a lot from my time at Wadaiko Don. What initially surprised me was that I didn’t really notice a strict hierarchy among the members like I expected. There still were some elements of hierarchy where the more experienced members taught the younger ones, but everyone participated and practiced equally. Additionally, when I went to the all-club meeting, all of the members participated equally as well.

In terms of cons, I found that inserting myself into conversations could be difficult at times because I tend to be a bit shy, and I wasn’t sure what would make a good topic of conversation. Also, since the KCJS calendar doesn’t really align with the Japanese university calendar, it is a bit hard to join clubs, since I ended up joining in the middle of the year, and towards the end of the taiko season. By the time I joined everyone was pretty much already entrenched in their friendships and practice routines. But despite all of this, everyone was still very kind to me, and overall I had a good experience.

4 thoughts on “Kiara Harding: Ritsumeikan Taiko Circle

  1. Its good that you managed to find a club that you fit in with. Despite everyone being nice, I also found it hard to get into conversations. How were you able to overcome this?

    • I just ended up trying to start conversations wherever I could, even if it was about mundane things.

  2. I’ve been wondering what the CIP was like for people who joined university circles, so thank you for sharing your experience! Was there a good number of people who had little to no experience playing taiko?

    • Almost everyone in the club had no experience playing taiko beforehand, so the freshmen especially were new to taiko!