About 15 minutes on foot from Shimodate Station are the remains of Shimodate Castle, where the Mizunoya family, the lords of the surrounding area, used to live about 500 years ago. In the vicinity of the castle ruins is a sushi restaurant called Edokko Zushi. This is where Tatsuki lives with his family.
He joined Wakahaya Taiko a year ago on the suggestion of one of his classmates at elementary school. When he started taiko practice, he developed calluses on the thumbs and index fingers of both hands from grasping the bachi tightly.
"It hurt a bit at first, but it's fine now," he says with a smile.
Tatsuki can make sushi just like a pro.
Tatsuki has a busy schedule.
He began by learning simple pieces. Now he's become such a good drummer that he can perform in front of audiences without any problem at all.
Tatsuki leads a very busy life. He goes to juku (cram school), soccer practice, and karate practice twice each every week, plus taiko, of course, so he has only one day off in the week. His busiest day is Thursday. When school finishes, he goes to soccer practice from 3 pm to 4 pm, then he has juku from 5 pm to 6 pm, and taiko from 7 pm to 9 pm. He eats a quick dinner somewhere in between, and he doesn't get to bed until after 10 pm. It's an unusually hard schedule for an elementary school student.
"But I love taiko practice. It's like stress relief," Tatsuki confesses with a grin.
His dream for the future is to take over his family's sushi business. From the age of six he has been learning how to make sushi from his grandfather, who is a sushi chef. Now he's good at making both nigiri-zushi (sliced raw fish on a block of vinegared rice) and maki-zushi (fish and other items rolled in vinegared rice and seaweed).
Tatsuki with his family
"When I grow up, I'm going to be a sushi chef, play the taiko, and coach a soccer team," he declares.