Keiro-no-Hi at Simpson UMC

Respect of the Aged Day, or Keiro-no-Hi, was established as a national holiday in Japan in 1966 to express respect for the elders in the community, to recognize and thank them for their contributions to society, to celebrate their long lives and offer special gifts to bring even more longevity to their lives.  It was initially held every September 15th but since 2003 it has been held on the 3rd Monday of every September.

At Simpson United Methodist Church we celebrate Keiro-no-Hi in the fall.  This year it was held on October 26th.  A celebration luncheon was provided for those in the Simpson community that were 80 years of age or older.  The ladies made baked salmon and an asian chicken salad and the congregation contributed special dishes to share.

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The special gift this year was Manju, a Japanese dessert. The outside is made from sweetened rice powder or sweetened pounded rice and inside is a delicious filling of anko red bean paste made from boiled azuki beans and sugar or other similar bean paste.  The children of the congregation and their Sunday School teacher folded many origami boxes and inside was placed a Manju and an individually wrapped green tea bag.

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imageThe congregation of Simpson UMC truly appreciate and respect their elders.  We are especially thankful for their establishing the Simpson community so many years ago.  All look forward to this celebration each year and we are grateful for the opportunity this particular mini festival allows in that all are able to reconnect and bond with each other on this special day.

 

Taiko Japan’s Number One Energy Export by Marc Steuben

This article appears here with the permission of Marc Steuben and explains how Taiko was born as we know it today and how Taiko came to the United States.

I have taken several lessons from Marc now and the more I get to know him the more fascinating and complex I find him.  Look forward to reading about his other talents and endeavors here soon.

He remains a patient and encouraging teacher even though I have two left hands when it comes to drumming!

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Taiko Lessons 1 and 2

I have had my first two lessons on Taiko drumming!  I really am having fun!!

I had hoped to share with you detailed information on Taiko drums but it is turning out to be much more complicated than I anticipated.

There seems to be a billion types of drums and since I don’t speak Japanese trying to keep the names and descriptions straight is beyond this new student.

During practice and performance there are many different sized drums in use with the many drums providing different pitches to astound the senses.  Probably the most well-known drum in any Taiko ensemble would be the ōdaiko, the largest drum on the stage.

Bachi is the term for the drum sticks used.  Right now I am using a very light weight set of bachi.  Taiko drumming is quite a work out.  The stance is a wide legged stance with a slight bend to the knees requiring good balance so you can move in and out from the drum.  (I made the mistake of wearing sandals for lesson 2 and my feet were not happy.)  The wrists, forearms, upper arms and shoulders are all used and depending on the strokes and rhythms you are undertaking the workout can be intense.  A strong core is essential.  I am grateful for the light weight bachi!

Thank you Marc Steuben for your continued patience!

Taiko

Taiko means drum in Japanese.

In ancient Japan the drum was played to drive away evil spirits and pests harmful to crops and then in thanks for a successful crop.

Drums were used in warfare to inspire troops, and as a kind of a code to transmit orders or messages. In battle, the drummer was an important part of keeping the troops advised and enthused.

Learning Taiko has proved to be a mental and physical challenge and workout.  Your whole body becomes involved and finding the balance and coordination and concentration is an interesting test of blending all these elements together.

I have taken 2 classes now with Marc Steuben who is a member of Taiko with Toni – Toni is the leader of the parent taiko group..  I find him very encouraging, he really likes to have fun!  Although I am certain I am a klutz he is supportive and diplomatic in his corrections.

If you are interested in Taiko classes please contact him at marc@marcsteuben.com

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.  The group is Taiko with Toni and regularly performs and upcoming performances will be posted here also!

 

 

Welcome to Sansei Life

Welcome to Sansei Life! A blog exploring and learning about the Asian community in Denver.When I was much younger I tried a new Japanese restaurant in Arvada called Namiko’s for a sushi snack. It was very good. I got into a conversation with Yuri the owner and she ended up offering me a part time job on weekends. I spent most of the first evening running to Yuri asking her what the various dishes were and what was in them and what they tasted like. In exasperation Yuri asked me if I was Japanese! She could not understand how a Japanese did not know simple restaurant fare.  That is when I really understood that I was a Sansei out of touch with my culture. I am ready to experience and learn about today’s Asian culture.
Issei First Generation
Nisei Second Generation
Sansei Third Generation
Yonsei Fourth Generation
Gosei Fifth Generation
Please join me as I explore the rich Asian culture that is part of Denver and Colorado’s unique makeup.Please share your stories and ideas on what you’d like to hear more about, events and what is happening in Denver in the Asian community.
Paula Matsumoto