Everyday people

Back to work.

I had not been to work at the Silver Center for about 6 months. More or less, mas o menos. It was cold the last time I worked, so it was Nov or Dec. I had seen the work crews from time to time around the area, when I am out and about. They see me or I see them and we wave. I figured things got slow during the winter with the lack of weed growth, so whatever they had would go to the long-term locals. It was around this time last year when I started, I figured the weeds are high enough now they are getting more calls to come clean up.

 
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LZ figured she would be pro-active and call to see, whats up. They said, I was still on record but the days I was listed available have been rainy days, so no call. Since my Chan class desolved I said I would add another day to my open time. I really did not want to but, the money would be helpful.
 
If you do not know the Silver Center, is a place where people in my age group retired people work. My group does, yard work, landscaping, tree trimming, etc. 
 
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I started back to work on Monday. The people I knew all greeted me, with long time no see, blah blah. I was introduced to a couple of new people and settled back into the groove of working with everyday people. These are non-salarymen type, farmers, labors etc. nice folks. I am sure none has met and worked with a real American of color. They are all surprised at my being able to speak Japanese. Even as little as it is, they are impressed. Sometimes when I think about it, I am I impressed also, coming from the streets of Philly and the farm lands of Virginia.
 
Anyway most are nice folks, we are comfortable enough with each other we can even joke around some. My contacts with Japanese society is surprisingly varied. The working laborers, the rich Yacht men, the blues musicians, the multi-leveled traditional Kyudo world, and just starting now in the traditional world of Shakuhachi, oh and the modern Zen world. One day I will do a book, on the faces of real Japan. Not the tourist face, or that of the English teachers world, but the side that most outsiders know nothing. There are a couple of people I know of blogging who are in the non-tourist world, however they do not have the variety that I do. It should be interesting with some pictures, a picture book novel.
 
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So this is my second day back to work. OMG I was so tired. It is not easy work. Raking is not so bad, it gets tiring, but to do it on ridiculously steep hillsides is hard. Then there is loading the cutting on to the truck to be hauled away. It will take me a few weeks to get back into shape doing this work. I am pretty much the youngest worker, however, I did not spend most of my adult life doing labor. The work is not really that bad, just some of the environments are challenging, like the steep hills. It will be worth it when I get the pay check, well my part of it. we have the traditional Japanese house when the wife is the Minister of Finance. I am looking forward to tomorrow it is supposed to rain so I will have the day off. Yatta.
 
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Chicago Rock – June session

 

Chicago Rock – the June Session

The evening after the unexpected Jam in the afternoon was the Band’s scheduled Chicago Rock monthly gig. That night we were expecting to have a guest sit in. Someone we met at a club in Kobe, were the band originally hooked up. This guy is a Harmonica player from Australia. Nice guy, very friendly and a good player. He arrived shortly after we set in. I don’t think we even had time to play a song before he arrived, so we did a frist warmup tune with him.

 

 

Unlike the last guy we had sit-in we knew he could play well. I expected to lay back with my own harmonica playing since he was there. I would focus just on sing and playing Bass.

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We started thing went smoothly enough, he did not step on “toes” with his playing unlike the last visitor. Things went well. So well in fact there is really nothing to write. The band did well, other than the drummer bitching about the Bass drum pedal not working. I do not know why he had to complain about it, over and over. Saying it once it was broken would have been enough and then just dealt with it. But that is just me I guess. I found that irksome. Perhaps more so since I still had ill feelings about him since the Snafkin incident. He had said he was gong to attend, then dropped out because he said it was to far to go for free. However, we have attended things in his area, under the same conditions and gone even out to Kyoto to support his friend’s show. However him coming to our area was too far and a hassle. I was not pleased!! As it turns out today, he messages us saying he has a class reunion he wants us to play at….for free, in his area. I said “hmmm, I will need to consider it. It is a two hour ride and too far for a free show” he was all oh please you can stay at my place. I responded. “Oh I see two hours on the train is only a hassle when you have to do it !” Anyway I digress.
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This months show at the Club went well. Not much of a turn out in the club. Kind of expected for a Weds night gig, and we do not have much of a following anyway and weekday nights are generally slow.
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Oh well, I look at it as a paid practice, since we do not. I stopped asking about practice sessions, as they are not productive and, well never mind, I do not want to start bitch’n, because it is good to even get to play. I am getting to meet other local musicians it will pay off down the road…Yosh!
Next up the Chicago Rock all star Jam
 

Unexpected Jam


Unexpected Jam

 
While preparing to leave Snafkin the other day from the gathering, I was asked by my Kyudo Sempai if I was busy on the following Weds. I said no. He then told me he and my Sensei and the other Sempai were getting together, please join them. I of course agreed. I did not know what was planned other than something musical. I checked my understanding with sensei at the next class. Yes they were getting together. He was meeting them at the train station, I could meet them at his house. Please bring my acoustic bass. Ok I was in.
 
I showed up as planned. They were still walking back from the station when I arrived. I had to speak with Sensei’s mother, that was a bit of a challenge, with her age hearing and my Japanese. However I made it work. I started to leave just as they were arriving. 
 
We went in to Sensei’s studio and setup. Had the sheet music for “My Way” and “Harlem something” some other song. We went through them first with him playing them with Senpai on Shakuhachi. Sempai had some timing problems but it worked out ok. After a few tries it was sound pretty good. I had my iPad recording, sadly it did not. 
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After we went through the song, just before we left, my Sempai on the guitar tried his hand at some blues. I joined him as we got more comfortable with the groove, Sensei joined in with the Shakuhachi. Perfect I wanted to hear how it would sound playing that. It was pretty good. He said he was not good at improvising, and stopped after a short while. That was ok, I heard what I wanted it could be cool! Bummer bummer the recording did not come out. It did give me inspiration to do something later. Maybe Guitar, Bass, Shakuhachi, Shamisen. Or Shakuhachi (once I get public functionally), Guitar, Shamisen. Snafkin would be a good venue to experiment in. 
 
My co-worker the Shamisen player played with a group, I saw their picture on her Facebook page. I mentioned I wanted to sit in with them. She responded please do. 
 
 
That could be cool, different and fun!

A day in the life…the musical…prt 2


A day in the life…the musical…prt 2

Return to Snafkin
 
Next stop for the day of music, aka Music day, was to be Snafkin. I was finished at the Osaka School of music earlier than I thought so I had time to drop by the house and leave off my mini amp before going to Snafkin. I ran into LZ there at home, she was leaving for Snafkin. As we had friends coming she went ahead to meet them while I took a short break and lighten my load of equipment.
 
I grabbed a later train and arrived at the Sea side Cafe , aka : Snafkin. Almost everyone was there. I was surprised to see my Japanese Sensei there with her husband.  I did the round of greetings to those I knew. and the owner formally welcome me. There was a Jazz trio playing when I arrived. They continued for a while before taking a break. I was impressed with the Sax player, she had a good tone. I am not big on tenor Sax but she had a good sound.  I hope to do some Jamming with her another time. Other than being a smoker, she has possibilities for some musical collaboration.
 
Anywho the trio took a break. There was some misc things going on during that time. One of which was the owner told the female singer who I was and did, she then asked me to play Bass on a couple of songs. I really did not want to, not songs I knew, but since there was a chart I figured since she was pushing me, I would try it. I should have stuck with no. More on that later…
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There was some misc talk, about this and that with misc people, then my Sakuhachi Sensei made ready to perform. One of my Kyudo Sempai was suppose to play guitar with him, however, he is pretty shy and requested the other Guitar player from the Trio to play along with Sensei. Both agreed to the change an Sensei started. It was rough going as the guitar player got lost a few time and played the wrong cords. They Did make it through the song. It was so so. It was just regular people and not a paid gig, so it was fine. Next song I was requested to sing along with sensei playing Shakuhachi. The song “my way”. I was hesitant. However I was sort of interested to do a different kind of song so I agreed since the words were there in English. I think it turned out well. I wish I had a recording of it to tell For sure. However everyone seemed to like it and Sensei made a big fuss over my singing of it. Kind of embarrassing .
 
Next up was the Doc and myself, we did three blues songs. I wanted to do one more and bring in the Sax player, but the hired trio needed to play again. They did one song then asked me to sit in with them. I played soft since I was unsure. I followed as well as I could then switch from reading to just ear when I got lost. Being that it was Jazz, it did not sound too bad…I guess, mostly I faked it. I will not do it again, unless it is a song I know.
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Slowly things started to wind down. Aoki Sensei (sailing and Zen master) came by with a new employee. As it turns out she played Okinawan Shamisen. I asked her to play with My Shakuhachi sensei, she agreed. However that did not work out because of the tuning. So she did a couple of songs with a guitar player, the Snafkin owner this time, and sang a couple of songs. Turns out she had been to Snafkin before. As things were wrapping up, the owner, who was playing guitar with the Shamisen woman, said he wanted me to play harp with them. They were going to do a Japanese “Blues”. I said ok. It actually turned out ok, too bad there was no recording.
 
Over all it was fun evening. It was a long day, and I had to work teaching a sailing class the next day, however it was worthwhile. I got to meet some new people. I want to get with the Shamesen and Sax player again sometime. There was also a Jazz pianist there. This maybe a local gold mine for me to find other local musicians.
 
My Kyudo Sempai asked me if I was busy on a certain day next week. He my other sempai and my Shakuhachi Sempai were going to get together to play. I did not know what they had in mind, but I was “down” (slag = ok) for it.
 
To be con’t.

A day in the life…The musical day, prt 1

A day in the life…the musical…prt 1 Osaka School of Music.
I received a message from a friend about a gig at the Osaka School of Music. They/he was looking for bass player, to do a couple of songs, and Play/Jam with the students. Other than that I knew nothing. A few a few FaceBook message I received two songs to learn to play, with a couple of other foreigners, then, i was unsure after that. I learned the two songs, they were not complex, and i did not learn every small item, I figure as usual learn enough to play it correctly then add one’s own stuff as one does when playing.
 
I made it over to the school. Very nice place, more of a performance school than just a music school. It has a two-year program. The people seemed nice, the vibe was good. The students were good and well-mannered. Once. There and setup, we the band figured out what was what and we played the two songs, maybe twice. It was rough, but it sounded fairly together for never playing before together.
 
 
 
Now we are supposed to break it down with the students. Each instrument received a student or two or more. The guitar and the drummer had the most, the keyboard, one, I had two. Ok, now it was a bit tricky, I did not have the Japanese to do explaining about certain things on the music chart. Also I just follow a chart for the arrangement not for the notes. They read, a least one of them did, so he was good to go. They added parts that I had not bothered learning until just hearing my group playing, live. I play by ear, I have not read in years, other than lately with the Shakuhachi.
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Anyway they both had it together as far as what to play, so I gave one guy aid on a question he had on something, and I just let them play. That is really how one learn about playing with a band, by playing. The sheet music is just a guide, a canvas to paint, remix, otherwise people would just play CDs everywhere. I listened to the singer and the overall band/group sound and gave opinions on somethings I felt needed to be addressed. I did not feel like I added a lot to my group, but everyone seemed happy at the end and played well that was the most important. There is a mention of doing something there again in the Autumn. If I get the call I know more about what to expect and do next time. However what they really need is a player who speaks better Japanese than me.
 
.
 

Second thoughts

 


Not really second, more like continuing thoughts on the Shinsa, lessons learned as it were. We did that at the last company, where I worked as a Graphic designer. I miss doing that work, and the income.. When that job ended, it was the beginning of a long downhill slide. But that then, this is now and another topic. Digression over.
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Diffenently the big thing is, it is not all about hitting. It puts YonDan in a different light. I guess this is why I have heard through the years, “YonDan, now we can talk”. It reinforces my thoughts of Yon-dan being equal to a Brown belt, although it is called 4th degree Black Belt. Not that any of that matters, just labels until one reaches Renshi.
 

It was nice to take this Shinsa at my old dojo. It was small for the amount of people, but more intimate. Also it is left foot entry not right foot like Sakai . I really dislike that. It was pleasant from time to time to recall moments; here is where I first got dressed, here with Sensei, this is the tea room, so many people here now…So now that is over my next shot is in Sept. However, with the failing of my Sempai although still hitting, puts me somewhat in a wonder on what to work on refining. Certainly I need to hit but what is the mystery element they are looking at. One Sempai said, before she thought she would not pass because her hand opened. Really something as small as that will be one’s down fall?! I would like to ask some of the higher ups, but my Japanese is not good enough to understand the answer.

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My Sensei in the states said they may have done something off in their Tai Hai. Hmmmmm. He also said it took him 4 times to pass. He hopes I can do better. There is a Sempai at the Dojo who has done the test 14 times! I will take steps to do better than that for sure. I said this before and the more I think about it the better it sounds. I will take the test in Sept, if no pass, I plan on waiting and just training until spring. At that time perhaps the Oceanic Seminar will be a good way to go, with several days of intense training it should raise my chances. I think the two times at Banpacku gives enough respect to Nogami Sensei Spirit. Even once, since it is really my thing, he is beyond caring about life’s small matters. If his spirit was there to help I would have done so. However, perhaps the “lesson” was more of his teaching…from beyond! Ohhhh deep! 🙂
 
I guess, basically I will work on maintaining kiza w/Ikasu, keeping my shoulders down, pushing at the mato, and tenouchi. That is more than enough to work on, however I am sure my Sempai and Sensei with have More directions, adjustments. I believe I have found the sweet spot for my aim, now I need to be more consistent with the pre-launch = Dai san/Kai/Hanare. Lower Stances in Chen Tai Ji to help my thigh muscles. Maybe some ab, chest arm work so I look good in my half-top Kimono. Hmmmm, some Shaolin Guan-dao practice would work all three muscle group. There is something in the Kyuhon Raiki-Shagi about “the right look”
 
After having acquired the right inner intention and correctness in the outward appearance, the bow and arrow can be handled resolutely.
 

More than just hitting

The Return to Banpacku

 
Not just about the hit, now not a second hand “I heard” story. 
Now it is real…and in a way changes, everything.
 
I returned to Bampaku Kyudo-jo today for part one of the two part Yondan, shinsa visits. It was, fun, boring, educational, interesting, and sad. It was also a long day. I was up at 4:45 am, in order to make it there by 9:00am. I made it, still others had already started, must have been 8:30. My sempai rushed me right over to sign in, I saw many names already marked, then I found my spot in the lineup. I was very very thankful to be third in the lineup. I was even more relived later as the people for Yon-Dan took seemed like forever in Kai. The Omai in my line took forever just to going into Ushiokoshi! From where I was looked like he was just standing there. I am thinking WTF?!!?!
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However, let’s back step some. I settled in after changing, and also found out we, my group starts the written exam at 10:20. It was now 9:30 something, The opening ceremonies started. There were this time around, several Nana Dan present as judges. Still the panel of judges for the shinsa was 5 or 6. Then there were the side judges checking one’s exit, entrance and the written test examiners. A lot. I was surprised how many people where there at this small local shinsa. It was interesting how they arranged the dojo to work under these conditions, like turning the Makiwara room into the written testing area.

One older master did the opening shinsa. He missed both shots, but looked smooth doing it. Besides struggling with his kimono and needing a lot of help. Then there was a line up of five masters, out of five only two hit both shots. One of these Sensei I had seen shoot before. He has some kind of nerve sickness that cause him to shake massively when shooting. He hit both shots! Sugoi! That was really impressive! I had seen him shoot twice before, but never hit both shots!

My FB friend was there with her Dojo testing for Shodan. It sure seems like from what I hear the test here for the locals are harder than national test given in the states. It is not a given to make Shodan, and “Kyu” are given to adults as well.

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Next up, the written test. I tried to figure out what the questions where from the spoken Japanese, I was right with one, not the other. A Sensei I had seen before at another Shinsa was there. He spoke Japanese and was familiar with me, by name. We are comfortable enough to joke a bit with each other. I remember asking him one time at another Shinsa, to the shock of everyone, to take a group picture for us. This was when I first saw/met him. I knew he was a sensei, I did not know he was one of the big guns. Hahaha.
Anywho, I was a bit concerned about my written test, I tend to be short winded in my descriptions, correct, just not. very wordy. I finished among the first. I believe I really was the first, I just held back until I saw a couple of others turn in their paper. That done with it was time to chill. I had planned on spending the waiting time studying for the paper test, but that was done first…oh well. Even if it was wrongly answered. It was not completely wrong, but I did not expect to pass the shooting part anyway, making the written test moot.
 
It was just about lunch time so I grabbed a spot outside, after seeing others had the same idea, once I was out there scoping aera. I had a peaceful meal and just enjoyed sitting in the sun, and sort of nodding off. After a while I went, to the back to shoot Makiwara. Little by little time slipped away. Then it was show time.
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Once again there was a lecture to the Yondan Candidates. I wish I knew what was being said. I think it something about being a Yon-Dan takes on a new set of rules for testing. There were some light hearted moments, because everyone laughed at a couple of spots. We all bowed out and the line up started. Still it would be nice to really know what was said, that would be helpful with what to practice. On the other hand, if I just continue to practice everything I am better off.
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I was in the second group. Things started ok, then came the slow down, I was using reserve power to hold the knee up under the 10cm rule given to me via, “W” Sensei. It did not help that those in front of me had extra extra long Kai’s. It was a real blessing to be third in Line. Maybe that was Nogami Sensei helping. If I was last, OMG!! I maybe would have not held, or been able to stand at least smoothly. I really need to consider the standing form. Maybe I have some mild arthritis from my young Kung Fu years, and I need to face up I can not do certain things pain-free any more, at least for long periods. Perhaps put the ego aside. Or I just need more training. That would be the Kung Fu way, do until it does not hurt, go beyond the pain.
 
Ok, my first shot, surprised me with a center hit! I was working on not being attached to that for the second shot. The shooters in front me took even longer this time. I forced myself up. I could see from a friend’s video she took, of me I was a bit unsteady standing. I did a mind sweep but not enough and I missed the second shot. Oh well, I did better than I thought even hitting the one. I received several mentions afterwards about my form and Zanshin being very good. That was nice bit of a lift. Anyway I was done for the day. I still had Sempai from both Dojo’s yet to shoot. So I found a spot on the sidelines, and watched.
 
One of the things I found out from the registration paper posted with the names, and shooting order is how long each person has been studying Kyudo. Out of the people I was watching test for YonDan I am the “youngest” in Kyudo time, with 1 sempai at 11 yrs, and the other end was one at 7 yrs. Then me at 5 ( Renmei yrs) My Kyudo time is short! And one of those years was off sailing.
Out of my four Sempai testing, only one did not hit with both arrows. I was very pleased for them. The woman, who practiced for 11 yrs, was in tears, she had hits. We all milled about I gave congrats where due, all were reserved and said hmmmm, not yet, no posting. One other Sempai said, hmmmm, I was no good, I opened my hand during yogare, that is not good! I said, that is small stuff! Congrats! Omedetou!
 
Finally time was up. The results were posted, everyone, almost everyone, rushed over to to see. I hung back, I dislike crowds like that. The results could be heard. Many were very excited for their friends, even if them their selves did not pass. Several were in tears, one of my Sempai was one, another was a friend from another school. The other two Sempai came pass my pause spot, I ask, about their results, both said no good, no pass. I thought they were joking, but they were not. Both hit both arrows and still did not pass to YonDan. So yeah, there is more happening at the Shinsa than just hitting.
 
I got a friendly pat on the rib by one of the Seniors Sensei there that day, at the end when results were released and people and sensei were milling about, he was walking by I stood and gave a quick bow. He said nothing just the rib pat, like we were buds. I was a bit surprised. I did not recalled him from another time so were not acquainted that I knew. It was kind of a “nice work ganbrarimasu”, you were cool, tap. A Non-word Zennie kind of wordless transmission thing.
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And so that is it for the local news, it is a wrap for now. So I learned in truth it is not all about just hitting. This changes my perspective on training, Shinsa and Yon-Dan attainment. Anyway, I will give this another shot in Sept. Then I will just train until Spring before another Shinsa, even though there is another in Nov.

It’s all the same day…


Before Shinsa there is:

 
 
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After Shinsa there is :
 
 
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I still have to pay for dinner.
All that has changed is the moment.
 
I am still getting my head around this whole Shinsa thing. In a sense it is ( the mind part) really more of a challenge than hitting. Perhaps it is just that Yon-dan was my orginal goal for study target. After that target reached I had planned not to test again and just shoot, just because I could. Seek something more than Tai Kai and rank. Now I am at that door, although the goals have changed, and evolved. 
 
Or, I have issues with the pass, fail thing. That is still something one has to deal with, well… That is if someone has an issue, some attachment with winning. I know someone who will not play games, because he does not want to lose. He can not handle it. That is one of those things the kyuhon speaks on, if the shot fails , do not blame others, look to yourself.
Anyway the pass/fail thing has many layers of gremlins.
 
Or,
Well, not important.
 
Day after tomorrow it will be over. I am still feeling zero confidence. I just has a sense Sept will be the turning point! I will turn down the burner on training and go to the dojo only once a week for awhile. Chill out some. I can still work my form at home. I have noticed when practicing everyone will give advice on my form, no one gives me advice on Hitting. Reason being I guess form is the answer. I will turn my next training section/quarter attention to that…yosh
 

Weds Nite Kyudo – June


Weds Kyudo Workshop, WKW for short – June

 
So, yeah, it was a good thing I posted about the good shooting night or was day?! hmm whatever. I have that memory to read back on, and I did enjoy the feeling, the hope. Now it is back to the real world of you suckness. Next time I go in to the dojo, way off the hook miss for the first two shots. Ok, so much for that afterglow. I never got back into that flow I had the other night. Just as well, Kaicho came over and I got adjusted…again, more, still??. Oh yay, just what I need. (sarcasm alert)
 
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I think I found out something I need to test the idea. I noticed I shoot higher on my first few shots, even using the same marker on the Yumi as the night/ day before. Is it me or Yumix? Then later that mark is used again. Perhaps the yumi also needs a warmup.

After several more rounds, some improvement but never got my mojo working. sigh oh well 😦
Before Zen one chops wood and carries water
After Zen one chops wood and carries water.
 
Weds night session, full Tai Hai, more adjustments to Tenouchi, also my kimono. On top of shooting there is this Kimono beast to merge with. One of the adjustments was how far to pull out from the stomach when opening. Another was grabbing the top that was just slipped off, at the right place to be tucked. Part of my issue was I could not find the spot. I was told I need to have a crease in the sleeve top so I could feel the difference. Stateside SanDans do not deal with this kimono dragon until after passing YonDan.
 
Oh well, slowly, slowly I am making headway. It all reminds me of sailing, up-wind.
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The breath work goes well though. Inhale expand, sink expand, arch expand inhale, hold release, like a leaf filling drops of rain, expands, holds, a natural release.
Just need to remember to arch…so many “just need to remembers”
 
 
 
 

Blowing Zen – 尺八 May/June – 2015


Blowing Zen – May
尺八
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I am three months into this training. It is interesting and difficult. I think Kyudo is more difficult than learning the Shakuhachi. Maybe not quite though, thinking more on it. I am only three months into the Shakuhachi class, years into Kyudo. I thought Kyudo was fairly easy at first. More so when I did not have to concern myself with hitting.

 
I am just scratching the surface with the Shakuhachi, just making note correctly and reading (western scales) and applying a few techniques. I have not even started with the Japanese words, written or spoken, that is a whole other thing later to wrap my mind around. The present is filled with making the smooth perfect note. Like each Ya shot is a music note, one wants it perfect, a hit. Making this note, this perfect tone seems simple but is complex. Holding the lips, a balance between tension and relaxed, maintaining a little air supply at the lips, but all that is supported by the Tan-tein breath, long, deep and slow. There is a maintained pressure of support at the Hara for distribution of Air and Ki to produce a sound, from a second device. This said device must come alive via the sharing of your Ki to breathe and sing.
 
I have learned that one does not shake the shakuhachi or use the breath to add vibrato. That is done by the head shaking of the player. It helps the player become more a part of the music, part of this quality tone, note experience.
 
Another thing that Kyudo and Shakuhachi have in common is they both use Bamboo “tools” to do the art. Shakuhachi made from Bamboo are like Yumi both of which are made from certain chosen uncommon Bamboo. Shakuhachi are to fewer limited by the type of Bamboo the high quality traditional Shakuhachi are made. The Bamboo groves for this Tree have been reduced, both by nature and man.
 
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I tried an experiment the other day. It was raining it is quite peaceful to listen to it. Having spent most of the day working on my garden projects, now with the rain and doing my homework practice on the shakuhachi I was feeling quite in the Zen space. I tried playing some basic programmed cord changes on the keyboard then jamming along with myself playing the Shakuhachi. It was bad, there was the potential for something awesome. However not yet, the tone are off, I figured out I could do some basic fills and the like. The problem everything had to be played sharp or flat, not easy.The finger work is not simple, add that to making a smooth sound is major challenge. I figured out later in the next home session I can adjust the Sound also by my aperture. not easy but doable, perhaps more so. That comparison is for another time.
 
Sensei showed me later that my idea was correct the Shakuhachi by nature is mot a 100% accurate tuning. It can be “adjusted”. Sensei gave me a demo of him playing several pitches an note just by shifting his mouth angle.
 
Sensei’s Daughter made me a Shakuhachi cleaning cloth. It is a longish piece of cloth, tied with a long cord and that is tied with some type of heavy ceramic item, like a small figurine. The print is a Buddhist Sutra. Another reminder of the Shakuhachi 尺八 as a Zen Instrument.
 
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Sensei is joining the next gathering of my peeps at the next Sanfkin Session coming up on the 20th. He will play his Shakuhachi and also bring his metal flute. It will give me a live idea of the Shakuhachi sound with a non-traditional accompaniment. We will do a few songs and jams with those of us there that night.
 
I often encounter Sensei at the train station as we will in the same hood. The last encounter I was explaining what a “Groove” was in music. That was interesting, he knew the text book meaning but not the Musician sense understanding of the “Groove”, or being in it. this was all brought on by Victor Wooten’s Book concerning Music and Spiritually . Victor’s use of a lot of slag American makes it a challenging read for Sensei.