It has been just over 10 months now on this Shakuhachi path. I had thought, and was told by Sensei there are only a few people doing Shakuhachi. I suppose on a comparison chart of world population of musical instruments it is few. However I am finding a lot of players. Also judging by the cost and the amount of High level Shakuhachi out there, these players have money to spend. Shocking selling prices and are selling! So I wonder do these people just have money or are they working enough with the Shakuhachi that it is worth the money output…or what?
One thing that has developed from this is a new art project: the shakuhachi @ Lunch series. Some are of kind of trippy, some are interesting…
I have been putting more effort into recalling the Katakana for the notes. It dawned on me in order to play the good stuff, as in the Zen things, I will need to read Japanese notation, fluently. Currently I am still just doing Shakuhachi drills, part of old folk songs, etc, etc. nothing really interesting, fun, touching. Learning technique, or another way of looking at it, stances, and basic movement drills. Boring but necessary. I am trying to break an old bad habit of just getting a little basics and then go off on my own. When I do my lunch time practice I am mostly working on sound, and technique, rather than a song. I do not have any Shakuhachi songs,yet. I have tried jamming with just me doing a basic blues beat and changes on the casio keyboard. It is hard, because of the tuning, and pitch. A good player can adjust the pitch, me, not so much…without some serious effort and limits. Anyway I have no idea where this will take me, it is much to early for this tadpole. Although it really does not matter, the end this is about the journey.
The other day when I went to class, Sensei had some info for me. He had researched the maker of my Shakuhachi. He gave me a page of stuff all n Japanese so he read it to me. I do not recall, but the basic of it. This person, “shaozen” family has been Shakuhachi makers for over 100 yrs. this current person is also a famous player and has done concerts world wide. It is believed he is about 80 yrs old now, and the last generation to be a flute maker of his line. Sensei believes my Shakuhachi is made by his father, but it maybe the current master. He, the maker had a impressive list of he’s done that. I was pleased to make such a find at the recycle store. Sensei says mine is a just student level flute, but a expensive I had said to LZ before I purchased it, suppose it is a unknown treasure? I was right, sort of, it is!
My curiosity about the Kumosu sect grows. Now that I find out they are still active, sort of, I want to know what they are about besides walking around begging. What are their thoughts, practices, philosophy. I did find this on Buddhism and the Shakuhachi. They have had some pretty famous priests in the past. I asked one of my new acquaintances on FB, who is one of these New Kumuso, he is in Kyoto, about info on his sect. So far no answer after a few days. Maybe he is busy. Doing what ever it is Kumosos do, whatever that is… Even though this is the second “note” to him which he has not responded, I will try to remain neutral. Perhaps I my writing has the wrong “flavor”. It is is rather curious that when I wrote to one, perhaps the master and said I was looking for a flute not a new teacher, I heard no more from him…now this monk again no response…Jus saying…Hmmm. Some tonal note seems off, maybe it is me.
I guess I will have to wait until I can meet my Sensei’s disciple who is a practicing Kumoso. He would be my Sempai, perhpas more helpful in giving information on the Modern Kumoso practice. My 1 yr anniversary for the Shakuhachi is coming in March. It is just before or just after my Kyudo shinsa. I plan on making a pilgrimage to the Zen temple in Wakayama where the Kumoso are still active. Almost a three hour train journey from my home. Maybe I can get some info or at least a few cool photos of the temple grounds and the Journey there.
Sensei said before he would take me to this temple place, however I wanted to go on my own first an trip around at my leisure.
That is more of an adventure and pilgrimage.