Thursday, 16 August 2007

Shakuhachi gambatte

On Saturdays I go to Tachikawa (pictured above) in the west of Tokyo and from there catch a bus for 30 more minutes to the Tabata house (Megumi's parents') for lessons with the other students from Tokyo area, whereas Wednesday lessons are in Chichibu countryside. Tachikawa is quite a transport hub and a gateway to Takao on the Chuo line and the mountainous hiking areas of the west.
[pictured: Kakizakai Sensei and Takahashi Toyomi-san; below Horacio and Takahashi-san]

It is quite usual to turn up early and sit through (and learn from) the lessons of others and for them to listen to yours. In this way the 'clan' can benefit as a group from the plights and perils of others and particularly more advanced students are inspirations to the newer members. Some of Kakizakai Sensei's students have been learning for quite some years and, of course, you never stop!

In the queue for Midori Souhonten sushi last week, I heard nice singing under the breath behind me so I asked the lady to join me at the sushi bar so we could share sushi rolls (served in big portions) which she was glad to do. She turned out to be a professional opera singer who also trained in London, hence the good English, and next time I visit Tokyo, I hope to catch one of her concerts.

[pictured] Kakizakai showing us his 3.2 lengthed shaku! Not many people could get their fingers and mouth around this beast and Richard Chenhall on his 2.7 - lovely G fundamental and beautiful sound.

We have been experiencing some more earthquakes swaying the bed and the chair. I was awoken by one this morning - not a very nice sensation. The weather is something remarkable. I comment sometimes how hot it is (after sweating my way through the no-tree-lined streets to a shaku lesson, for instance) and Japanese people seem surprised because everybody heard on the news last year that our Sydney New Year's Day was 40 degrees. But that's just it! We had two isolated instances of forty degree days some distance apart. Here it is now consistently 32-35 degrees every day, hotter in Kyoto and Chichibu! The humidity does not drop, there is no afternoon coastal breeze and most surprising of all is that overnight it falls only perhaps to 30 or 29 sometimes so it is quite weird to be walking home from dinner late at night in the darkness in such heat.

Well, it is coming time to start packing up and organising for returning home, so I have been scanning some of the art from my books before relinquishing them to surface mail.