Komuso monks in Tokyo, April 2005

My first day in Japan, my first day in Tokyo… I didn’t know where to go so I decided to go to a park. Seeking nature in such a big city instead of running to see temples, modern buildings, palaces, shops, museums… that’s me…

At that time, I knew very little about the shakuhachi. I had one, I had taken a few lessons but I wasn’t getting much further than playing the basic notes and a few simple melodies. I had taken my shakuhachi in my suitcase -“to play in the metro” said ironically to me a musician of our orchestra- to see if I would get more inspired to play it in Japan. It’s not that I missed inspiration or desire to play it, no at the time I missed time to think and make a decision. Actually I took this time just before going to Japan, but was not conscious yet that shakuhachi was part of the choices I would have to make in my life.

So I arrived in Ueno park, nicely jet-lagged, totally overwhelmed by this first contact with Japan, and then, I saw them…

I couldn’t believe my eyes…

Shakuhachi players, monks, – what was their name again…- komuso…!

It was en entire ceremony, I was fascinated.

For my first contact with Japan, I felt the luckiest woman of the world. Must have been a sign…

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