Let me begin by reiterating that these recordings ARE NOT ME PLAYING. Having said that, I present to you four excellent tracks from a cd that came with a shamisen songbook I recently purchased. I must also point out that what you are about to hear is not the style of shamisen I am currently studying with Ishikawa-sensei.
Well, as of now I should be back to the regular every-other-day or so cycle of journal updates. In regards to my complete blackout the past 7 days, let’s just say that I juggle a lot of plates around here, something I’m usually highly successful at… and that last week about Thursday I dropped one plate, then another, and then they all just came crashing down.
No worries though, it’s all sorted out now, and the DJ train be back on track, homey!
Today, being Wednesday, was shamisen day again with Ishikawa-sensei. Like a good little student I had practiced my shamisen every day last week (excepting Saturday…), and showed up at Ishikawa-sensei’s house confident that I could play the 8 measures ordered of me without too much effort. I seated myself, we tuned our shamisen(no plural in Japanese you know), and then like an expectant mother he waited as I tentatively gripped my bachi…
It’s hard to believe it’s already October 26th. Has it really been three days since I last updated? Today was my inaugural shamisen lesson with Ishikawa-sensei. Lately I have gotten some requests that I take more pictures of my activities. You must understand that I’m walking a fine line between “adequate documentation” and “obnoxious foreigner with a camera.” To this end, I darest not disrespect Ishikawa-sensei by bring a camera today. To do so on the first lesson would be idiotic, perhaps after a few months and some steady gains, but initially, no way. However, rather than leave you out in the cold, my trusty sidekick Doctor-in-Training Walter was able to come up with a picture of my teacher.
As I was sitting in Beppu’s Concert Hall not too many nights ago, I decided it was time to take my life in a new direction. Previously, sport and the pursuit of athletic glory had been central themes in my life, driving forces if you will. While I would not trade a second of the previous 22 years of my life on the field for anything, such pursuits have left my body, knees especially, in shall we say ‘less than optimum‘ condition. In short, while the competitive fire will forever smolder inside me, I can no longer sustain the physical requirements. Thusly, whilst blissfully reclining in an inundation of aural euphoria, I decided it was time to pursue more cultivated ventures. Conveniently enough, one might suggest that I am currently residing in the land of ‘more cultivated ventures.‘
What to do? “Well, why not try my hand in a traditional Japanese art at the foot of a master?” I flippantly proposed to no one in particular. After some contemplation I decided my new-found paradigm shift would best be served by securing an apprenticeship in a classical Japanese instrument. After some background research, I chose the shamisen. For most people, such musings would have never matured any further than that, ‘yes, it would be neat to study the shamisen, wouldn’t it?’ — and then we all have a good laugh and forget it. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, I am not most people.
Tuesday night Satoshi and I went to the symphony. Ok, so it wasn’t a real full on orchestral performance, but it still rocked. The event in question was the Japan Russia Goodwill Concert series, which as it traveled around Japan was stopping over in Beppu and playing the convention center for one night only. Tickets were free, via the university, and having little better to do, we went.