To answer some important questions first:
- No, I didn’t eat a rabbit burger, I was too busy eating delicious Maltese/Italian pizza before living mostly off rice and fish for the next months.
- Yes, there are many stray cats on Malta, very skilled at relaxing and getting food of tourists (especially Fi).
- Yes, Malta is very busy and the buses are often overcrowded.
- Yes, in the times of the looming gloomy Brexit it was nice to see so many EU flags everywhere. (Malta, the smallest EU member state, just finished its EU presidency at the end of June.)
- Yes, the view from the hotel room was spectacular.
Rather than going to Japan directly, I went to Malta first to play a concert with Mugenkyo at the International Malta Arts Festival. We were booked to play a full concert, so had to take a lot of equipment. Unsurprisingly, the most difficult challenge to playing taiko abroad, in particular as we are based on an island, is transporting the drums. After plans to take the van turned out to be unrealistic, because of the distance and the number of ferries needed, the decision was to optimise the amount of equipment and fly – not an easy task for a full show.
While it is still quite straightforward to take nagados as checked luggage, transporting an odaiko on a plane is nearly impossible, not so much because of the size but because of the standard maximum weight of 32kg. So, for the concert in Malta, taiko maker Dave Samuels from Arran modified one of our existing odaiko to make it fit for purpose. Which means: we now have an odaiko for going abroad!