On October 17th, Ai Matsuda stepped off the plane from Tokyo and entered the U.S. on a P-3 Artist Visa. This marked a huge milestone for TaikoVentures. As some of you know, obtaining visas for foreign artists to perform and work in the U.S. is a notoriously complex process. These rules have made it extremely difficult for the taiko community to bring in artists from Japan for concerts and workshop tours.
At TaikoVentures, we strongly believe in the learn-by-doing approach, so we embarked on “Project Aichan” as one of our first initiatives. Although it took a little longer than expected, we successfully obtained the visa without hiring a lawyer or paying for premium processing. Now that Aichan is safely on U.S. soil, we hope to take these lessons, document them for the taiko community, and potentially develop a line of business to help groups with the process.
Huge mahalo to Jade Ogoshi for taking this across the finish line, and to Chizuko Endo and Donna Ebata for their guidance. Thank you also to the many taiko sensei and community leaders who wrote letters of recommendation for Aichan’s application. If you are interested in scheduling a shishimai or kumidaiko workshop with Aichan or having her do a lecture-demo for your community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.