Spring is official now, the Sakura blooms have come and are now starting to fade. Hard to believe this is my third season here. I recall clearly how much I wanted to see them live in mass, like in the pictures. Still It is a real physical feeling, presence of Nature being under a canopy of the Sakura Hana.
There is a huge wind today, many are blown away now. However, there is a tree I discovered the other day, it is in my other Motion Chan practice place. I happened across there being a Sakura there the other day. I was delightedly surprised. I went there to practice and suddenly I saw it was in bloom. The flowers in the area came suddenly. I missed the sight of my favorite tree this year. This newly found one maybe my second favorite. Not from looks but because I can practice under it. .
I did a little Hsing-Yi practice under it. It was just starting to rain. I came there to work on my TaiJi , but it started to rain. One is not suppose to practice TaiJi in the rain. So I did a little Hsing-i, under the tree, and out of the rain. I was not sure about the energy thing with Hsing-i and the rain. So I figured if it was not ok, I would be out of the rain, mostly and only doing a short Hsing-i drill. I returned the next day, an put in some TaiJi time. It would have been great if the Shrine had a Sakura tree, but it does not. Well at least grown ones. It has a couple of baby ones.
So, yeah, not all the Sakura have blown away, with this all day long big wind we had. I guess the Sakura has two messages, 1. Beauty is fleeting, enjoy the moment, a sudden wind can blow the fragile beauty away. 2. Beauty is temporary and fragile, but can be stronger than one expects inside. I can see from my window the tree still holding it’s flowers even with the winds high.
None of this has to do with the main content of this post, at least directly.
I had back to back music rehearsals this week past. The Kyudo Musical Ensemble, I will start calling KME for short. We met on Monday. We have one more rehearsal before or concert end of the month. That would make three. The same amount the Blues Band has had in the 2 yrs I have been with them. We, the KME have been together less than six months. Officially more like three…maybe. Point is, this is the way professional minded players do, rehearse. Rehearsals are not fun, they are not suppose to be fun. Like what a Kung Fu uncle would tell me about Kung Fu training. I still find it mind blowing, as does LZ that the Blues band never has a group practice.
Anyway, the KME had practice, it was ok, not great but ok. Some songs still need some work but, I do not think, they expect it to be polished. I am more sure that the club does not expect polished acts. Snafkin is a intimate small cafe. LZ, our friends and employers like it, as does my Japanese classmates and Kyudo friends. 
It turns out there is a surprise for me , in that we are doing two shows there. One next Sat, then another on the 27 th. Big surprise! I am fairly certain there is no money in this, so I will not expect any. It will be a fun mind set, something different musically from the Blues.
The next day, I had the first practice with Kishi Sensei’s Ensemble, let’s call it, Sensei’s Ensemble, or KSE for short. The classical guitarist is ok. Sensei called him an amateur, however I think perhaps better than my Sempai. As far as Shakuhachi playing, Sensei does not play the same songs and style as Yamashina Sempai. Sensei is a better player , but Sempai is more versatile. Having the beat buddy drum machine would go better with KME style of music than KSE overall.  
It will be interesting to see how this turns out. One thing the concert with Sensei is a paid gig, for sure, even though much. I would have done it for free, lt is something for my musical resume, and “Zen kaze” the artist facebook page, and later my memoirs. I will be taping some from both concert, I may post a bit if they turn out reasonable.
On the Kyudo front, I have pretty much decided to back-off thinking about shinsa’s until I can feel ready, by skill, not by luck to succeed. I have no deadlines, that I know of, no reason to rush. I noticed the other day, my Sempai who has started this Yon-dan Shinsa trip before me, and still at it, has been doing Kyudo for 10 yrs or more. At least 10, I recall from seeing the posted names at the shinsa. Another Sempai at the Dojo told me she is a Go-dan and has been studying for 13 yrs. Another I saw from another posting 13 yrs still trying for Yon-dan, my 6 official yrs is nothing! I need to show myself some compassion.
I went to practice the other day, there was suppose to be a Kimono class but, no one was there. I do not not know what happened, but I just practiced, mostly alone until a few others came in. I shot more relaxed, and tested things, analyzed, experimented. The score was so so. I kept telling myself, it does not matter what the score is, it is just a personal marker.
My intensity with practice has changed. But in a way more relaxed, yet more focused way! I am back to one or two times a week, instead of almost daily. I still do home practice, but lightly. I was getting way too lost in pushing for this rank prize. Some Buddhist reading confirmed that lost on the finger state. For reals not in a relaxed state for shooting.
As the I-Ching stated I need to adjust my path and goals. In a Buddhist sense “see my true self”, or focus on what is really important.

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