Wednesday, May 28, 2008

tom's place, and back

At Tom's place, much time was spent playing in the workshop, trying different flutes, and just keeping up daily practice.

Tom had repaired the utaguchi (mouthpiece inlay) and made a few modifications to my new flute, a nishakunanasun (2.7) that I had picked out earlier this trip, at my request. A few 'safety' bindings on the top half to ensure it wouldnt crack on me, and a slight widening of the mouth hole.

I finished Sokkan, the piece I was working on with Kakizakai on this flute, and am now revisiting Shingetsu. I enjoy alternating new pieces with going back to add another layer of refinement to ones ive already learned - there's always improvements to be made, and new levels of understanding and focus to reach.

While at Toms, the last few days of a major Sumo tournament were being televised. So at about 5 o'clock each afternoon, we parked in front of the telly with cups of tea and enjoyed watching Kotooshu, a Bulgarian, become the first European to win a major tournament.

This crazy thing is a wasp's nest, just outside the window of Tom's workshop. the large one is about 60cm in diameter. There werent many wasps around though. the layers of different coloured mud are quite incredible. I can understand the wasps getting different coloured mud from different places at different times, but the way the patterns are in this seems much more deliberate than that. Maybe it was an artist's colony.

Sunday afternoon saw me back on the scooter and heading for home, with a plan to take it easy and camp out somewhere halfway home. I was thinking about somewhere high up, with a good view of the sunrise. As I was coming back over Mugikusatoge pass, in foggy weather, I was looking for a potential spot, and I happened to glance down off the side of the road while coming around a corner, straight into the eyes of what could only be a bear - though it looked more like a very very large, shaggy wombat to me. I decided that maybe i would camp a little further on, perhaps somewhere closer to human habitation...

So I ended up at a lookout, at 1800m with a wonderful view. I pitched my tent once the sun was down, cooked up some pasta on my camp stove, and watched the clouds fill up the valley below. An early night, and up at 4am, to watch the sunrise...

Odd though - I woke up at 4am, but could hear people around outside the tent, and the sounds of equipment being set up. I stuck my head out and found half a dozen Japanese photographers with all their camera gear set up, trying to catch that perfect sunrise moment. Not what I was expecting, but the view must be well known.

Its lovely being up that early. the roads are empty, the light is beautiful and everything is so still.

I left the lookout at 5am, and had a wonderful ride home with the morning sun coming out and warming me nicely (its cold at 1800m!). I was home by 8am, and ready for breakfast. Not a bad way to start the day :D

I knew the scooter would give me freedom to explore a bit more, but I really had no idea it would reward my investment in it the way it has. The experiences it has enabled are worth a million times more than what I paid for it.


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