Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good nostalgia/ Bad nostalgia

There is good nostalgia, and there's bad nostalgia.

After the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I sent out several e-mails with a three word message: 'Are you okay?' Two former students from Sendai have yet to respond, and I haven't heard anything from my former colleagues at the National Noh Theatre, but thankfully most of the responses I've received have been positive. Many family and friends are inconvenienced but doing well. My shakuhachi teacher, for example, Nakamaura Akikazu, is alive and well.

Nakamura-sensei is one of the most amazing musicians on the planet. We (Nakamura-sensei and his students) performed in several amazing places around Japan, at a temple, in a museum, on a mountainside, even in a huge (and icy-cold) cavern. These are still amazing memories for me, and it was on these trips that I realized what an amazingly diverse country Japan is.

Nakamura-sensei has been working on a series of CDs entitled `The World of Zen Music', five CDs (so far) that present the shakuhachi repertoire of different parts of Japan (Kyoto, Tohoku, Hokuriku, Kyushu, and Tsugaru). Each CD in the series is a treasure, and one was even awarded the distinguished Prize for Excellence by the Japanese Government Agency for Cultural Affairs. It shouldn't have taken a natural disaster for me to touch bases with Nakamura-sensei, but it did. Good nostalgia.

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