And now for something completely different…sort of
When I first gave the thought to really being in Japan. There were several things I wanted to do. Study/ practice Zen, learn Kyudo, continue with ceramics study, and learn Shakuhachi flute. By learning i did not mean just to teach myself and play by ear, like what I did with the harmonica I wanted to really learn it, as from a teacher ground up. Well I am kind of doing the Zen thing. I have my own teacher however in Taiwan, I do however have a place here I can sit with a group once a month. However, I really prefer my own Chan practice over what I have seen of Japanese Zen. Nothing wrong with it, I just prefer for me the Chan path.
Kyudo is full on, as you my few readers know. As that is what most of most are about these days. Not all but, yeah most, LZ has pointed out. So , yeah anyway, Kyudo is full on. I have 15 day to go until Shinsa. I am not really feeling, like I can Ace this. Nowhere near that, however I will prepare and do my best. More on that in another post, this is not about that. The next one is.
LZ told me the other day that she found a place I can go to learn ceramics, the guy is a master, or close to it. Not far from us now, and near where Okaasan lives. whoo hoo, extremely cool. However…there have been a lot of howevers’ in this post so far. I digress…
However due to another matter ceramics are put off for now… Maybe a year.
Sometime last year, when I was out tripping around the neighborhood I heard the sound of a Shakuhachi. It was coming from a house I was passing by. I recalled that house a couple of times as I made the occasional pass by. I rarely went that way. I have found another path to the train station, which changed my walking/ bike riding route again. There is a junction on this new route, basically I high road and a low road, mostly I take the high road. Sometimes I take the low, this road seems just a wee bit shorter, maybe. Sometimes I wonder the other day whilst running a judgement comparison I took the low road. This road comes out of a series of alleys right at the Shakuhachi house. Then I turn and walk pass it on the front side to go to the train station. This one day I hear the Shakuhachi again. Hmmmmm, I get the seed of a thought.
At my Kyudojo are a couple pf people who play Shakuhachi. I had asked one of them about where I could get lessons. It can about that one of the players and another Classical guitarist, also a Kyudo Sensei played together and suggested we get together some time a play. I am thinking of sort of a jam as I said I could sort of play Shakuhachi but I really wanted lessons, kind of get together. Or perhaps guitar , Shakuhachi, Bass kind of Jam. Ether way was ok with me, but I really wanted the lessons, but whatever.
A few day later I brought in my two Shakuhachis to be checked out by the one guy who spoke to me about this. He tried to play one, the Bamboo one from America. He took some effort but got some notes happening. It is not an easy Shakuhachi , it is large. A Bass unit. So anyway, he and some other looked it over along with the plastic one I had from Japan. They the guys spoke for a while, as me to play i said no, more casual chatting, and we went on to Kyudo stuff.
A few days or so pass, on my way to train I hear the Shakuhachi in the house again. The thought rises, how can I can contact this person. Perhaps I can get a lead on a teacher from whoever that is. Walking up to the door would not be cool. Hmmmm…perhaps I could leave a note.
I would think this over. On the way home one day, I car pulls into the driveway as I am walking up to the house. I had sort of hoped I could met the person from the house again, as I encountered a women once before a long time again there, but just spoke only about the flowers in the yard next door. Ok so, there is a woman in the car. However, yup again however…she did not get right out of the car as I was walking up, she was doing something. I flash for a brief moment that I could wait for her and asked , who played the Shakuhachi. The flash as I said was brief, I figured it would not be the wisest choice. Unknown Black Gaijhin standing at the car waiting for her…no. Therefore I by, however walked on deciding, I would leave a note later.
Later I wrote up something which LZ put into Japanese and I left the note in the mail box on my way out that morning, with LZ’s phone number. That evening she got a call!
They spoke a bit and it was arranged that her and I come by and meet this man who played. From there it would be decided what the next step would be.
A couple of days later we walked over to the house. We were invited into the studio. The Sensei gave me my first lesson. History of the Shakuhachi, types, construction etc. I found out mine, were basically junk. I was not surprised with the plastic but the bamboo I thought was decent, was made from the wrong type of Bamboo. 😦
oh well, live and learn. I said I had been looking for a another Japanese Shakuhachi and asked a couple of questions about some I saw as a starter for a student. I was told that I needed to spend about a year learning mouth aperture before I could judge which Shakuhachi to purchase. I needed to play them to choose, properly. Good thing I did not rush to make a on-line auction purchase.
As it turns out this man is not just a Shakuhachi player, but a Master. He gives solo concerts and has only a few, very few disciples. His Shakuhachis run in the range of several thousand dollars! He was once a school music teacher but gave that up to pursue his passion. He is a couple of years younger than me. He also speaks English another shock! Not perfect but good understandable English. Talk about luck!
He also showed me the modern version of the Shakuhachi which has 8 holes which was invented to play western scales, eg: jazz and such. He asked me which Shakuhachi sounded better. I said the traditional one. He said yes, you have a good ear. The tone is different. I also prefer the traditional one. He went through some history of the Old Zen order that used the Shakuhachi, they were somewhat of street musicians.
So he gave us a list of local teachers in the area and also his information. He said he took students on a case by case basis. We should think on it and let him know our choice. I wanted to study with him he had a special hand-made plastic flute I could use until I was advanced enough to purchase my own.
LZ said God is with you and lead you to this place. It could not be more perfect, he is a Master, speaks English, lives only a 4 min walk away and is very affordable and private lessons! I of course agreed! “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” so goes the saying. I am stoked! Another piece of Japan life falls into place. I am looking to start after my Yondan Shinsa. I need to focus on that for the next 14 days…yosh!