Friday, February 6, 2009

Immortality is around the next corner!

I spent some time a week ago in the takeyabu (bamboo grove) with my shakuhachi teacher, Kodo Tsurugi and a few fellow members of Tsurugi sensei's shakuhachi group, Wakanakai. It was a warm, sunny day in the grove on the west side of Kumamoto in central Kyushu, Japan. We didn't really need to search very far as this is a well known grove to us and we knew where to look. Basically, we were looking for bamboo suitable for 1.8 or 1.6 jiari shakuhachi. We found about 20 pieces in a couple of hours. The unusual thing was that Tsurugi sensei encouraged me to dig some pieces that were much bigger in diameter than those that he usually uses. After pulling them from the ground, he would pick each one up and study it. The larger diameter ones would inspire a resounding 'Rrrrramos!' from his mouth. I immediately picked up on the reference to Alcvin Ramos from Vancouver, Canada who comes here every couple of years with his group to experience bamboo gathering with us. Al and many of his group seemed to love the bigger diameter pieces which always brought a smile from Tsurugi sensei. Thus, big diameter bamboo has come to be known as Ramos to him. One of the many roads to immortality.

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