Kiyomi Calwell will be drumming up interest in Japanese culture when she plays the taiko at the Griffith Multicultural Festival.
Mrs Calwell will be breaking new ground at the multicultural festival, which has never before had a Japanese cultural performance.
Mrs Calwell is no stranger to breaking new ground; in Japan she was the first girl in her school to learn the taiko, which is an instrument traditionally played by men only.
She became fascinated by the taiko at an early age, and after much insisting she was eventually allowed to join the taiko classes with the rest of the boys.
"To be honest, my personality doesn't fit entirely into Japanese culture," Mrs Calwell said. "I'm a little outspoken."
She's now a true-blue Australian citizen and she shares her love of taiko to both boys and girls at schools in Griffith and all around the country as a travelling taiko teacher.
During her travels she's met many kids who've taken an immediate liking to taiko, just like she did all those years ago in Japan.
"Taiko creates group bonding and gets kids to open up; they feel they belong to the team and can place their trust in each other," Mrs Calwell said.
"Some of the kids told me it was the first time they really felt connected to other people."
It's much the same in Japan, where taiko is traditionally reserved for those special moments such as village festivals when the community comes together.
While teaching her "Tyke-Oh" program at schools she's seen kids with anxiety finally open up to others, and she's also seen rebellious boys sitting attentively and eagerly learning for the first time.
"It's been an amazing journey as a teacher," Mrs Calwell said.
She's worked as a primary school teacher at schools all around Australia, and to this day she teaches Japanese language and culture as the founder of EZ Japanese based in Griffith.
She'll be bringing her wealth of knowledge about Japanese culture to the Griffith Multicultural Festival, which is run by the Multicultural Council of Griffith.
The festivities kick off from 10.30am to 3pm on October 19 and will be held at Memorial Park on Banna Avenue.
The festivities will feature dances, cultural performances, and a mouthwatering selection of dishes from the different cultural group that make up the Griffith community.
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