A short biography of Taka

My name is Taka.

I play Irish traditional music on the fiddle, banjo, and tin whistle etc.

Taka Fiddle

I come from Japan. I was born in Tokyo and grew up in Saitama. Saitama is a county beside Tokyo.

Location of Saitama
Location of Saitama in Japan (Click to enlarge)

I first got interested in Ireland when I was about 14 or so.

I was keen on cycling at the time and my dream was to ride the Tour de France.

When the Dublin-born cyclist Stephen Roche won the Tour de France in 1987, I became a big fan of him and I also became interested in his home country Ireland.

Stephen Roche
Stephen Roche was my hero

Stephen Roche in the 1987 Tour de France

I first came to Ireland in 1997.

That was ten years later since victory of Stephen Roche in the Tour de France.

Houses in Ireland
the first house I ever lived in Ireland

I first went to a private English language school in Dublin to study English but my main purpose of staying in Ireland was to see the Tour de France in Ireland.

In 1998 the Tour de France was due to start in Dublin to commemorate 200 years anniversary Irish Rebellion of 1798.

Tour de France in Ireland
Tour de France started in Dublin in 1998

My plan was to study English first, then travelling in Ireland on a bicycle, and before return to Japan watching the Tour de France in Ireland.

So I didn’t know anything about Irish music and I had never played any instrument before I came to Ireland.

While studying in Dublin, I had a chance to visit Cultúrlann na hÉireann. A couple of friends at the school invited me to go there together to see a show of Irish music and dancing.

Traditional Irish Music Players
Irish Dancers

[photos above] one of the stage performance of Irish traditional music and dancing I ever saw in my life

When I saw the performance of Irish music and dancing for the first time, I really like the whole sound of the music and I started buying CDs of Irish traditional music.

Eventually I became interested in playing Irish music myself and got my first tin whistle in a souvenir shop.

tin whistle in a souvenir shop
I bought my first tin whistle in a souvenir shop

Since then I got really hooked up with Irish music.

After I returned to Japan I continued to practice the tin whistle and I started to learn other instruments as well.

Dave Boyle Banjo
I started to play the banjo after the tin whistle
Dave Boyle Banjo
the banjo by Dave Boyle

Alongside short visit to Ireland in the summer to attend the Willie Clancy Summer School, in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2010 I stayed in Ireland about a year to learn music.

Miltown Malbay
willie clancy week

[photos above] the first ever Willie Clancy Week I attended

So far I have taken lessons from Joan Hanrahan, Brendan Larrissey, Martin Hayes and Vincent Griffin.

Joan Hanrahan Fiddle
with Joan Hanrahan. I studied with her at Cois na hAbhna in Ennis
Martin Hayes Fiddle
with Martin Hayes

Vincent Griffin was a my neighbour when I was living in Feakle, Co. Clare in 2010.

Vincent Griffin Fiddle
with Vincent Griffin. he was my neighbour when I was living in Feakle, Co. Clare

Vincent Griffin plays the fiddle in my house in Ayle, Fekle, Co.Clare

I have taken the SCT exam which is the examination for Irish traditional music organised by Comhaltas and I have passed the SC2 grade for my fiddle playing.

SCT Exam Comhaltas
SCT Exam Comhaltas

I took the SCT exam and passed the SC2 grade.

In 2015 I passed the TTCT exam which is a traditional music teaching certificate or from Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in Dublin, Ireland.

TTCT Comhaltas

Now I play and teach Irish traditional music in my home town in Saitama in Japan.

Unlkie Tokyo, Saitama is not very populated town but I am very keen on promoting Irish music here.

countryside in Saitama
Countryside in Saitama. It looks like the countryside in Ireland

My Days in Ireland

I lived in Ireland between 2010 and 2011. The place where I lived in Ireland called “Ayle” which is located in the village of Feakle in Co. Clare.Feakle is a well-known place among traditional music enthusiasts.

Feakle hosts traditional music festival every year.

Ayle Lodge Feakle
entrance to the parish of Ayle in Feakle, Co Clare
Ayle Lodge Feakle
“The Ayle Lodge” is a gatehouse located in the parish of Ayle in Feakle.
Ayle Lodge Feakle
I lived in this gatehouse during my stay in Feakle.

Ayle House Feakle
The Old Ayle House.
The Humours of Ayle House
The Ayle House appears in the O’Neill’s 1001. When Francis O’Neill visited Feakle he stayed at the Ayle House.
Vincent Griffin Fiddle
One of the best known musician from Feakle is a fiddle player Vincent Griffin.
Vincent Griffin Fiddle
Vincent Griffin’s house in Ayle in Feakle. His house is located just a hundred yards from my house.

Biddy Early Cottage Dromore
Remains of the Biddy Early's cottage in Dromore in Feakle.
Biddy Early Hornpipe
Biddy Early was a well known harbalist lived in Feakle. There is a hornpipe called "Biddy Early" in the O'Neill's1001.
Johnny Petterson Feakle
Johnny Patterson's memorial plate in the Main Street of Feakle
Johnny Petterson Feakle
He is another famous person from Feakle.
Johnny Petterson Feakle
The birthplace of Johnny Patterson in Kilbarron in Feakle.

Feakle Clare Ireland
Pepper's Bar Feakle
Pepper's Bar Feakle

Maids of Feakle Peppers
The Maid's of Feakle on the wall of Pepper's Bar in Feakle

Since I first became interested in Ireland by cycling, I cycled many part of Ireland during my stay in Feakle.

East Clare Way

I cycled the whole of the East Clare way. The East Clare Way is a long-distance trail in Co. Clare.

It is a 112-mile long circular route that begins and ends in Killaloe.

East Clare Way
East Clare Way

While I was living in Ireland I also took a part in various cycling events held in various part of Ireland.

Skyride Etape Hiberinia
Cycling in Burren Co Clare during the Skyride Etape Hibernia.
An Post Meath Cycle Heritage Tour
At the start line of the An Post Meath Cycle Heritage Tour.

I also entered running events too.

Dublin City Marathon
running in the Dublin City Marathon
Clare Champion News Paper
I was on the Clare Champion after the East Clare 10K.

I also enjoyed walking on the various mountains in many parts of Ireland

I climbed all of the highest points in 32 counties of Ireland.

Carrauntoohil
On the top of Carrauntoohil the highest point of Ireland.
Lugnaquilla
On the top of Lugnaquilla the highest point of Wicklow and also Leinster.

Slieve Donard
On the top of Slieve Donard the highest point of Ulster.
Mweelrea
On the top of the Mweelrea. the highest point of Connaught.