This Gets Even Stranger…

Alright.  We all know the faithful blogger and studious learner of Japanese, right?

So, as it turns out, I am also a musician.  One of the many styles of music that I like is traditional Irish and Scottish music.  While I play the guitar and Irish bouzouki, I have been wanting to learn a melody instrument (hang on, there is Japanese coming…hang with me here…) which basically means flute or fiddle.

In a real stroke of luck, I was given a fiddle by a friend who had no use for it.  Later on, I was given an Irish flute for a Christmas present.  Neither one is an expensive instrument, but they seem to work all right.

Anyway, not having time to learn both (and do I even have time to learn one?), I finally decided to pick one and have a go at it. (seriously…there is Japanese coming here…really…).  The violin would take some money to make it really playable, but the flute was ready to go, so I considered giving it a try, but, have you ever tried to learn how to play on a poor instrument?  That’s got “failure” written all over it, so I wanted to make sure that the flute would be a decent instrument to learn on.

We’re talking an Irish simple system flute here, by the way (…and I am honestly going to get to Japanese before this post is done…) which has six holes and no keys.  Like this.

As it turns out, one of my favorite bands – The Tannahill Weavers – was touring in the U.S. and playing not too far from me.  I went and took my flute along.  After the show, Phil Smillie, the band’s flute player (Japanese is coming really soon…we’re almost there…) looked over my flute and played it a bit and assured me that it was actually a nice instrument, in tune with itself, tuneable to concert D, easy to play, and I should have a go at it.  So I am.

Today is day two of learning the Irish flute.  I am willing to devote an entire 15 minutes a day to it, every day (for, as we all know by now, consistency is the key to learning something new, like the Japanese language, which I will really be talking if you hang with me just a little longer…) and I’ll see what happens. (I won’t be blogging about it unless there is some Japanese connection…like the one I’m about to bring up…)

So, today, I was looking through YouTube at Irish flute videos, and I stumbled across Kozo Toyota, a Japanese man who plays the Irish flute well enough to have passed the audition to compete in the All Ireland flute competition.

I clicked over to his website.  Which was very informative, I’m sure.  At least, I guess it is.  When I clicked on the link for “About”, I got this:

このサイトはアイリッシュ・フルート&ティン・ホイッスル奏者豊田耕三が、アイルランドの音楽を楽しむ人達のために自ら輸入した楽器を販売しています。  演奏すること自体が困難な安物ではなく、上達の助けにさえなるしっかりとしたものを使って頂きたい、そんな思いで選んでいます。  また、楽器ケースについては、そもそも必要とされるものが無い、あるいは従来のものはデザイン性が低いといった問題があったため、自らデザインし、信頼のおける日本人の職人さんに発注してハンドメイドでつくっています。

(Look!  It’s Japanese.  I told you!)

I can tell that it begins with “this site (は)” and continues with “irish flute and tin whistle” but I haven’t taken the time to read all through it. (Don’t you love how casually I say that, as if I were confident that I could, in fact, read all though it?)

I was really thinking how weird it is now that everywhere I look I seem to find some connection with Japanese, even where I would never expect it.

My fifteen minutes of flute playing is not allowed to interfere with my study of Japanese, but, hey, it’s only fifteen minutes a day.  I can find that much time, right?  Right?


Oh, and I was just checking out a favorite Irish band:  Flook.  And guess where they are playing around the middle of this month?  Yep.  Japan.

Just to celebrate the Japanirishness of things lately, here’s a video by Flook.



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