Becoming Musical Prodigies (Sort Of)

Standard

I mean, I’ve been playing piano since I was three. Does that count?

 

This Monday was Sports/Health Day in Japan. Instead of studying for Midterms (which we all should have been), we decided to take a day trip out to Yokohama to watch a traditional music concert. Azumi’s grandmother has been playing koto since she was a little girl, and the other SA girls were really excited to see and hear a bit of tradition in a modern setting.

With Autumn in full-swing (the temperatures have dropped from mid-90 F with 100% humidity to mid/low-60 F with 50% humidity), some of the summer foods like cold soba and somen have begun to disappear and are being replaced with “warmer” dishes. One of my favorites is nabe (a pot filled with meat and vegetables simmering in a pot). This particular restaurant served 鴨 (かも, duck). f16801_tokyo_kamo-nabe_tamlynkurata

Upon arriving at the venue for the concert, there was a large exhibition table set up for shakuhachi. It looks like a clarinet, but the mouth piece is very similar to a flute. They were offering free shakuhachi made out of PVC pipe to those who could master the instrument in three simple steps. Want to know how? Follow along: f16802_tokyo_shakuhachi-table_tamlynkurata

f16803_tokyo_phase-1-bottles_tamlynkurata

Step 1: Play the plastic bottle

f16804_tokyo_phase-2-mouth-piece_tamlynkurata

Step 2: Make a sound on a shortened form of the instrument

 

f16805_tokyo_phase-3-instrument

Step 3: Make a sound on the full instrument

Only Azumi and I were able to successfully make sounds, so we are now the proud owners of our own shakuhachi.

f16806_tokyo_demonstration_tamlynkurata

Demonstration by a long-time shakuhachi player

f16807_tokyo_showtime_tamlynkurata

Show time! This is the curtain

f16808_tokyo_saga-no-uta_tamlynkurata

Mrs. Nishizawa and her group performed 嵯峨の歌

f16809_tokyo_grandma-nishizawa_tamlynkurata

The performance was amazing!

Mrs. Nishizawa invited us backstage to meet the other performers and stand next to a koto (which is over 6 ft tall).

f16810_tokyo_group-photo_tamlynkurata

While I definitely should have been studying today for my midterm, this was a much-needed break from the crowded streets of Tokyo with its large billboards and business suits. Sometimes we need to take a step back and breathe.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s