I have discovered this wonderful instrument when I was 18 in Japan. It seems to be an instrument that people respond to in their college years. some have come across it when their were very young but probably because someone in their family played it.
I spent 18 in Japan studying and traveling around Japan and the world. There is a practice in Zen Buddhism of going on a journey for 1000 in the mountains around Kyoto to meditate and as part ofa practice to become a monk.
also the Komusos would travel around Japan and ask for alms as they went along. As member of Ondekoza, i felt an affinity with these practices. It was adapted to modern times.
Mr Den, the director of Ondekoza got me to run in Japan then the US and around the world. Running marathons- challenges for oneself, a type of Honkyoku done only with breathing and running. A dialogue with oneself , pushing oneself to the limit. A Honkyoku is a ittle bit like that - it changes constantly you push yourself to your limit of that moment.
A music set in the past, but music that constantly changes each player never plays it twice the same.
Yokoyama would play different renditions of it. I inspired myself of his playing when i studied with him and I have not intention to change to what is being taught in the Kenshukan style- A style that has been passed on by fellow teachers and masters. I see a different world through them. My journey is different from Furuya or Kakizakai and thus my interpretation will be different.
I feel so blessed to have been able to encounter hear, get to know Yokoyama Sensei. He was a very open person and enjoyed life to the fullest. Through long discussions during lessons or after lessons, I learned more about things of life things that enrich my understanding of the music.
I am saddened at times in Japan by the misunderstanding of Yokoyama's music and playing. I just see it as a sort of jealousy that I see in other part of the Japanese society. In America and other countries i also come across the same pettiness. I believe greatness though will prove itself through the century and this music here to stay. I am just glad I was able to be exposed to it and I try to share it with whomever is open to the music. I find that people who actually don't play the shakuhachi sometimes seem to be able to feel more fully. To be able to listen to the music without judgement.
I have listen to different styles myself and I am not so attracted by the other styles- I don't find a common thread in some performers that I feel a affinity with. It is such a difficult instrument that you are a student for life.
I hope I will find some truly dedicated students that will be willing to and open to the study of this instrument. At this point, only a few have attempted, but midway never seem to be able to keep the concentration long enough- maybe some day.....