Our second team arrived safely.
All the band members were together.
Iddi our base player, Tenryu our stage hand, Shun the ninja, and Lue our taiko player joined us at BEZA church which was our rehearsal site.
It had been two weeks since everyone was together to do a rehearsal. For a overseas performance, we must include a comedy routine, so we went over the flow of moving from the comedy routine into 3N1 many times. We had no idea of their sense of humor.
Since Japanese animation is not known in Ethiopia, our usual comedy routine based on Dragon Ball’s Kamehameha would probably not be funny for them.
Farting is common in Japanese comedy, but it seemed that we should not do that in Ethiopia.
I had to make them laugh nonetheless!
It was the first time for us to do a taiko rehearsal at a high altitude.
In preparation for this journey, all the members and staff went to a low oxygen training center. There I had some slight symptoms of altitude sickness, but I thought that I would be okay.
However, when we seriously played our song, 3N1, my vision blurred shortly after finishing the song, and I felt faint and thought that I was going to pass out.
Our tour doctor, Dr. Toshiko, immediately gave me oxygen and oral rehydration solution she prepared on the spot.
We call her Toshiko, but she is a licensed doctor.
Toshiko had contacted a medical officer at the Japanese embassy in Addis Ababa prior to leaving Japan, so she had brought with her the necessary medical items.
Altitude sickness is in the category of otolaryngology, and Toshiko specializes in otolaryngology.
That means that she is an expert.
"Since Ethiopia is at a high elevation, please do not exercise for a week after your arrival or you will faint!” Some Ethiopians who live in Japan jokingly said to us.
However, we had no time to for our bodies to acclimate.
Since it was said that twenty percent of Japanese often have altitude sickness, we were talking among ourselves that someone might pass out.
On this trip, Dr. Toshiko was busy.
I slowly felt better after being on oxygen a while.
Everyone was worried, but I was okay then.
Putting all my strength into playing the taiko helped me see what it was really like to play at a high altitude.
I thought that my body would adjust soon, and I could take oxygen if necessary. I thought I would be okay.
I got out of breath when I climbed stairs.
There was no elevator at my hotel or at the hotel where our other band members were staying.
As I was going up the stairs to my room it became harder to breathe. By the time I reached the third floor I had chest pain.
Running, walking fast, or making any type of movement required more than normal and made me feel like my heart was going to come out of my chest.
Oh, this is what it means to live at a high altitude.
This was normal in Addis Ababa.
If we had stayed longer, we would have acclimated, but just a few days won’t do it. The Japanese ambassador said that because of the thin air his sleep is shallow, but as for me, I was able to sleep just fine.