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.