Bachi Tossing Physics

I neglected to write about the moment from this week’s taiko class when we were tossing our bachi from right hand to left hand, and one of our students wanted to know how to make the bachi not change orientation in the air.

“If you spin it (along its vertical axis), it won’t rotate,” I said.

She tried it. It worked like a charm! Wowowow.

“Inertia!” exclaimed another student.

“Physics!” I yelled.

Because science!

Callous Killer

Tonight’s taiko class did not discriminate between finger vs. palm callouses, left vs. right hand callouses, taiko vs. climbing vs. mountain bike callouses. It tried to blister them all.

Also tonight, we combined all the hitting and tapping and weight shifting and stepping and showy armsing and twirling and tossing. It was really hard and really fun.

I almost survived, until the penultimate measure of the night, when I smashed my knuckle into the edge of a taiko.

It swelled up right away, but hurts less now than the time I smashed my finger with the bachi.

Worth it. When we master this it’s gonna be awesome.

Sunday Is Video Day

I’ve been practicing juggling two balls in one hand since getting some tips from Jerry in early April. I started with an inside-out pattern, and thanks to poor ball control have learned columns and outside-in as well. I mentioned these patterns earlier this month, closing with, “Maybe a video sometime.”

How about today?

Since I had everything set up, I figured I’d document my really tall W as well. This pattern is made possible by the 2 ball columns. Thanks again, poor ball control!

In the video, I start with the inside out 423 and transition to the W to highlight the difference.

Off to practice 4-ball.

One Last Goal

This morning, I played hockey with my friends. It was pure joy.

Toward the end of the game, I lined up for a faceoff against my friend. I looked at her and asked, “Is this real?”

In that moment, I realized I was in a dream.

We laughed as we skated down the ice, my friend trying to defend. I made one final effort and pushed the puck over the goal line.

Time ran out.


There a new Pattern in town.

It’s a variation of the old Pattern plus a couple new tricks. Basically, 10 counts of cascade, reverse cascade, tennis, left shower, right shower, 423, and the W (which some would also call 423, but the balls stay in column formation).

I’m also up to 8 tosses with 4 balls more than half the time, 10 tosses here and there, and 12 tosses a handful of times. I’m like a 2.25 ball juggler now.


I’ve started noticing the last couple weeks that when I use Android Pay and Fitbit Pay, the terminal presents me with text in Spanish.

I was pleasantly surprised when my Android Pay purchase was aprobado at Powell’s.

I was totally caught off guard when I had to navigate options for my Fitbit Pay purchase at Sharetea.*

All of a sudden, there’s someone watching me try to translate in real-time. The pressure!

Pressure aside, I find this really cool.

* Fitbit Pay is super convenient! I especially love when I use it to buy junk food.

Flying Bachi

I have a new favorite taiko tape: Nexcare to the rescue! This stuff is amazing, and I was sooo glad to have it tonight, because even the climbing callouses on my fingers threatened to come off.

We continued with the multi-blister drumming and footwork. In the second half of the second hour, we added bachi twirling: inside back-to-front, outside back-to-front, clockwise helicopter, counterclockwise helicopter. One handed helicopter while the other hand strikes.

After that, we drummed and tossed the bachi, switching hands in midair.

After that, we toss twirled the bachi, a half twirl in our right hand, followed by a fully airborne twirl with the left hand while the right hand swung its now-caught bachi under it.

This is going to require some practice at home.


Wanted to get some bike time in for skills maintenance, but didn’t actually want to go for a ride, so I headed for the local school to… play.

Did more than my usual wheelie practice. Yes, I worked on wheelies, but I also spent some time practicing dismounts off the back, as well as wheelie-ing up and down curbs.

Related to riding up curbs, but not wheelies, once well over a decade ago, I was told that mountain bikes with front suspension were the bomb, because you could roll up curbs and the suspension would handle everything. A few years prior to that, on my fully rigid commuter “mountain” bike, I had attempted to hop up a curb at full speed, mistimed it, and ended up in a bush. I’d also never tried to do this before, and for some reason decided as I approached the curb that this was a good idea. But I suppose that’s not surprising given my track record. Anyway…

In addition to wheelie-ing up curbs, I decided to try simply riding up a curb and relying on my suspension plus keeping my weight not on top of my handlebars. And whaddaya know, the bike rolls right up. It’s easier if you give the pedals a punch to unweight the front, but not necessary.

Not that this is going to be a new thing for me. I quite like all the skills I’ve learned to get me over things without relying on wheel size and suspension. But it was nice to finally prove to myself that rolling into a curb wasn’t going to instantly throw me over the bars, provided I had my weight back.

Related to riding down curbs, and specifically wheelies, dropping off a curb in a wheelie is hooliganey fun.

Related to wheelies, but not curbs, I managed to draw a couple “whoa”s from small children on bikes. I’m pretty sure it’s not because my wheelies have gotten super awesome (though they did feel decent-for-me today), but I’ll count that as a win. Two wins!

Related to curbs, but not wheelies, I practiced riding skinnies by rolling on top of curbs for long stretches.

Related to neither curbs nor wheelies, I also practiced riding down stairs really slowly, so I could work on balance and technique instead of relying on momentum.

You know what we need around here? A bike park.

Sharing is Caring

This is a picture I did not take of an old man sitting on a curb, hand extended, cupped, pigeon perched on his fingertips, eating, more pigeons on his knees and feet, like a statue in the plaza, observing, sharing, homeless.