Koto lesson in Kyoto




Spent a lovely weekend in Kyoto, first visiting two temples (Nanzenji and Konchi-in) – the latter was especially beautiful and peaceful. I find it hard to fully appreciate the feeling of visiting a temple when it is swamped with a lot of people – regardless of whether they are locals or tourists – and weekends and public holidays tend to be busy, but as Konchi-in is a smaller, less well known temple there were only a couple of other people visiting when we were there.. I finished shooting a roll of TriX on my xPan/TX2 and then loaded it with Velvia 100 colour film – soon as that roll is finished will get them all off to the lab….









Then a spectacularly oishi dinner of exquisite Kyoto delicacies







After breakfast yesterday we wandered through back streets…





Heading towards my favourite incense store: Lisn







I bought a few new varieties including one called Smoke Tone (seems like a great song title!) and while I love the interior of this store, this time I noticed how the ceiling had been left exposed but entirely painted out in black


Lastly we had booked in for a beginners lesson in playing Koto, at Soushunan


Our teacher Harumi san, was a lovely woman and patient teacher who comes from a family of Koto players – her 83 year old mother also plays Koto, and she joined us too, helping to teach Satoko and I the very basics of playing Koto by (very) slowly learning to play the traditional music ‘Sakura’

They were very intrigued as to my interest in Koto and were surprised to hear that I own a Koto (after owning a Guzheng for a number of years I bought a Koto just before I left NZ), and they were very helpful in showing me how to set up the moveable bridges and how to tune it to the traditional Koto scale, as well as providing great advice on making the finger picks for my giant gaijin fingers! I was also very interested to learn that these days most Koto players are women, but in early days most Koto players were blind men!

After we had managed to make it all the way through the piece of music, I took a break while Satoko played the piece with a second layer/accompaniment performed by Harumi san. Then we swapped places and I played the piece while Harumis mother accompanied me. It was such a great experience, we left the lesson totally buzzing…


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