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#26 2008-09-09 15:10:31

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Perry,
     To approach jazz as a shakuhachi player I think requires a little over view of jazz before you begin. The term "jazz" includes an extremely broad spectrum of music, some more accessible to shakuhachi than others.  I would suggest that extreme up tempos, even mildly complex chord changes and chromaticism(which most jazz is) do not lend itself to the shakuhachi. I'd say that pretty much puts bebop off the map. There is something noble in trying to play Charlie Parker on a shakuhachi but it's a bit like running a 100 yard dash carrying a barbell set. What's the point? It might prove you have a lot of guts but it wouldn't make great music. I'd say stick with the modal stuff.  While shakuhachi may technically be a chromatic instrument I wouldn't call it fully functional in a jazz sense.
     Also, I think that when you take something from one genre and stick it in another it often sounds like something just stuck in. For it to become special both parts have to assimilate each other and morph into an identity of it's own. Other wise it often comes off as a a novelty. Don't get me wrong. I support the efforts of branching out into other territories but you have to accept the instruments limitations.
     Perry, I think your attitude is terrific and and I support your efforts. I hope someday we can meet and play.
Some of my favorite moments have been when people just sit down and play without a word. You sound like that kind of an open guy. Cool.
     p.s. Look up an old Archie Schepp(sp. ?) piece called "Blase". It's modal and moody and I think would lend itself to the instrument.         Cheers.
                                                    Jim
         
   Congratulations to my shakuhachi brethren for not buying into the knee-jerk kick Kenny G. syndrome. If you want to draw the scorn of others success is a great way to do it.


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#27 2008-09-09 16:33:10

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Thanks Jim, it's good to hear the truth from someone who knows his way around jazz and shakuhachi.

Let me put out an idea here. Because as you mention shakuhachi has inherent limitations vis a vis jazz, would it be safe to conclude:

It is a valuable instrument for jazz as a "doubling" instrument, particularly for wind players? Use it where it fits and switch to your sax or silver flute for the bebop etc.

And, if you want to use it as the main or only instrument pick and choose your material for the instrument rather than attempt to fit a square peg into a round hole.

I am not a genre bound person, but my solution is to use a jazz ensemble setting, but choose the material from jazz, rock, blues, Japanese traditional and mix it up. Casting a wide net allows me to make CD's or do gigs with just the shakuhachi and rhythm section.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#28 2008-09-09 23:47:42

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1036
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Jim Thompson wrote:

Perry,
     To approach jazz as a shakuhachi player I think requires a little over view of jazz before you begin. The term "jazz" includes an extremely broad spectrum of music, some more accessible to shakuhachi than others.

Hi Jim, Yes, I completely agree. It's like saying "I want to do fine art paintings. I have a brush and paints, what size canvas do I need?" There's a lot more to it. The first step is identifying what kind of art one likes.

I would suggest that extreme up tempos, even mildly complex chord changes and chromaticism(which most jazz is) do not lend itself to the shakuhachi. I'd say that pretty much puts bebop off the map. There is something noble in trying to play Charlie Parker on a shakuhachi but it's a bit like running a 100 yard dash carrying a barbell set. What's the point? It might prove you have a lot of guts but it wouldn't make great music. I'd say stick with the modal stuff.  While shakuhachi may technically be a chromatic instrument I wouldn't call it fully functional in a jazz sense.

Thanks for the informed thoughts.

Also, I think that when you take something from one genre and stick it in another it often sounds like something just stuck in. For it to become special both parts have to assimilate each other and morph into an identity of it's own. Other wise it often comes off as a a novelty. Don't get me wrong. I support the efforts of branching out into other territories but you have to accept the instruments limitations.

As an Asian American theater artist who explores culture and tradition, I thank you for saying this. I strive to create true theatrical and musical works that blends my ethnic heritage with my American sensibility. This is not alway successful. In the best light, it can be seen as true assimilation of content and form. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be seen as exoticism. It's a constant struggle and something that I will probably explore for the rest of my life.

Perry, I think your attitude is terrific and and I support your efforts. I hope someday we can meet and play.
Some of my favorite moments have been when people just sit down and play without a word. You sound like that kind of an open guy. Cool.
     p.s. Look up an old Archie Schepp(sp. ?) piece called "Blase". It's modal and moody and I think would lend itself to the instrument.         Cheers.
                                                    Jim

Thanks Jim, I'm sure we will meet. Until then!

Namaste, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#29 2008-09-10 03:48:31

marek
Member
From: Czech Republic
Registered: 2007-03-02
Posts: 184
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Regarding the fast runs and its impossibility to play them - I always remember Philip Horan playing Irish dance music on the shakuhachi.

Also, is 7-hole shakuhachi out of bounds? Wouldn't this be an instrument feasibile for many forms of jazz?

Thanks,
Marek


"what are you gawping at!?"
                                          Uchiyama Roshi
 
" www.komuso.cz !"

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#30 2008-09-10 08:01:30

Jim Thompson
Moderator
From: Santa Monica, California
Registered: 2007-11-28
Posts: 421

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Yungflutes wrote:

As an Asian American theater artist who explores culture and tradition, I thank you for saying this. I strive to create true theatrical and musical works that blends my ethnic heritage with my American sensibility. This is not alway successful. In the best light, it can be seen as true assimilation of content and form. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be seen as exoticism. It's a constant struggle and something that I will probably explore for the rest of my life.

I find my face pressed pressed up against the same wall. Good luck to both of us. Also, Perry, another track that you might be helpful would the 4th movement(Psalm) on Coltrane's " A Love Supreme". Blase and Psalm are both as I recall in C minor. A 2.0 shakuhachi, as Brian suggests, is pitched the same as a tenor saxophone. Therefore you would be playing the same notes (D minor on the tenor sax- ro minor on the 2.0)
       Brian,
IMO it would be absolutely safe to draw such a conclusion. I'm trying to do exactly what you're saying. Sounds like you're further down the road on this than I am. I'm just finishing up a c.d. that is basically funk/world/pop music played on the usual electronic instruments. I couldn't figure out a way to incorporate the shakuhachi into the mix without sounding like the aforementioned square peg in a round hole. What I finally did was put a babbling brook solo shakuhachi honkyokuesque improv after the last track as a p.s. and was very pleased with how it worked but that is not blending genres which I've yet to achieve. Putting African percussion into funk was a short and easy hop. Getting the delicate textures of Japanese music to fit in is a far greater chasm to cross. So far, not much luck.
                                        Best wishes to you guys
                                                    Jim
p.s. Perry, Thanks for turning us on to "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle". I'm 1/2 through and waiting for the other shoe(s) to drop.

Last edited by Jim Thompson (2008-09-10 08:04:33)


" Who do you trust , me or your own eyes?" - Groucho Marx

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#31 2008-09-10 08:50:00

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 829
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

hi Jim,
looking forward to hear your CD!
India from J Coltrane will work for shakuhachi.  I saw D Leibman in a masterclas & he played with a short flute (not a shakuhachi).
I did couple of versions of Naima, one with the full band..(live recording 1 year ago) I used 1.8  www.myspace.com/morningsunriseensemble
I don`t like my playing there...I feelt like didn't eat the whole day:-)
Also crystal of Silence from Chick Corea sound good on shakuhachi.

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#32 2008-09-10 09:32:47

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

geni wrote:

hi Jim,
looking forward to hear your CD!
India from J Coltrane will work for shakuhachi.  I saw D Leibman in a masterclas & he played with a short flute (not a shakuhachi).
I did couple of versions of Naima, one with the full band..(live recording 1 year ago) I used 1.8  www.myspace.com/morningsunriseensemble
I don`t like my playing there...I feelt like didn't eat the whole day:-)
Also crystal of Silence from Chick Corea sound good on shakuhachi.

Geni, I thought I remember you doing a recording of Sugar. I'm not sure if you did it on shakuhachi but the tune is a pentatonic minor scale. I'm not sure what key, but pick the right flute and all the notes are there, at least for the head. I remember that there are a nice handful of standards based on a pentatonic minor scale, the only other I can think of off the top of my head is Freddie Hubbard's Red Clay, but I know they are others.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#33 2008-09-10 09:43:15

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 829
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

one can play pentatoic in every chord...but there a way to do that well:-)
This book is awesome

Pentatonics
Inside Improvisation Series, Vol. 2 (125 pages) Jerry Bergonzy (www.JerryBergonzi.com )

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#34 2008-09-10 09:47:33

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 829
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Another good advice to learn jazz is to hang & jam with jazz musicians. A lot of people want to learn how to..but you got to spend the time w/musicians.
I love to play with jazz guitar playesr. They play so many notes:-) A lot of choises & it helps develp the ears.

Last edited by geni (2008-09-10 10:18:08)

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#35 2008-09-10 14:13:08

jdanza
Moderator
From: Vancouver, Canada
Registered: 2008-06-19
Posts: 85
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Hello Friends
  Hey,  just put up in my Myspace page a couple of tunes to share with you, which is my own approach to JazzShak. Still very ethnic but with a groove.
Kyoto Jazz is with upright Bass and Oud. We basically jammed it out in one take and then I added the percussion. Madly Riding... is a live improv with a Zheng player.
  Hope you enjoy it...
www.myspace.com/pepedanza

Last edited by jdanza (2008-09-10 14:30:16)

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#36 2008-09-10 20:46:08

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1036
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

jdanza wrote:

Hello Friends
  Hey,  just put up in my Myspace page a couple of tunes to share with you, which is my own approach to JazzShak. Still very ethnic but with a groove.
Kyoto Jazz is with upright Bass and Oud. We basically jammed it out in one take and then I added the percussion. Madly Riding... is a live improv with a Zheng player.
  Hope you enjoy it...
www.myspace.com/pepedanza

Hey Pepe,  I dig it man!

Geni, Thanks for your input. I completely respect musicians who choose to immerse themselves in the technical and theoretical side of music. And yes, the best way to learn is to hang out with people who do what it is you want to learn. That's why I only hang out with great shakuhachi players...maybe some of it will rub off.  I'm joking of course. I'm from the school that believes the master learns from the student wink

Hey RadiOgnome,  Don't you play Jazz? Have you tried it with the shakuhachi?

Namaste, Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#37 2008-09-10 22:04:11

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Yungflutes wrote:

Hey RadiOgnome,  Don't you play Jazz? Have you tried it with the shakuhachi?

Namaste, Perry

Yes, or maybe I should say I used to. I try jamming along with CD's a lot, but even with 6 hole diatonic flutes and whistles I find it hard to negotiate through the chord changes for most jazz tunes. If you notice, during a good part of the "Take Five" improvisation the player there kind of ignores the chord changes. You can do that kind of thing, but then you have to be really good at phrasing to disguise it because if you end a phrase in the middle of the string of changes you're ignoring you can't pick up and start a new one until it's on a chord that you can play inside again because it'll sound too far off if you start a new phrase with a scale, mode, or arpeggio that doesn't fit the chord. If you have to wait too long for it to come back to where you can play again it becomes too obvious what's going on. So what he did (basically) was to just keep cranking on that scale that worked with the beginning part of the tune until he got back there again.

There's a fine line there. On one hand, you want to play in the chord, it's hard to do, it sounds good, and will get you a lot of respect because you've obviously done your homework. On the other hand, if you get too good at it and all you do is play within the chord structure everything will sound the same. So you want play "out" sometimes, even if it's deliberate, and that's where the fun comes in. You want to get back in eventually, and interesting things can happen along the way that can cause you to lose your place. The fun is trying to find it again. If you do, your solo is cool and everbody (and yourself) is in awe of what you just did. If not, better luck next time.

I still struggle at running a diatonic scale on shakuhachi, never mind making key changes. So most of my "jazz" improvisation these days is jamming to drone-like electronica chill CD's, and even then the changes sometimes come along a bit to fast for me.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#38 2008-09-11 00:20:15

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Nice music Pepe, very natural and earthy. smile


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#39 2008-09-11 00:23:54

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 829
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Another great recourse.
Check out this
www.jodyjazz.com/george.garzone.jazz.im … l.dvd.html

Its awesome. I am taking his class.. We had a lesson with him today.Just beautifull.

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#40 2008-09-11 00:25:08

geni
Performer & Teacher
From: Boston MA
Registered: 2005-12-21
Posts: 829
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

great playing man.If you were in Boston I would call you to play in my band:-) Any plans to be around here soon?

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#41 2008-09-12 00:48:11

YuccaBruce
Member
From: Tucson
Registered: 2008-07-06
Posts: 39
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Oliver Nelson was a great studio/composer/arranger and jazz educator.  His "Patterns for Improvisation" are exercises for wind players and oddly enough a great fit for shakuhachi players.

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#42 2008-09-12 10:42:22

Yungflutes
Flutemaker/Performer
From: New York City
Registered: 2005-10-08
Posts: 1036
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

radi0gnome wrote:

Yungflutes wrote:

Hey RadiOgnome,  Don't you play Jazz? Have you tried it with the shakuhachi?

Namaste, Perry

Yes, or maybe I should say I used to. I try jamming along with CD's a lot, but even with 6 hole diatonic flutes and whistles I find it hard to negotiate through the chord changes for most jazz tunes. If you notice, during a good part of the "Take Five" improvisation the player there kind of ignores the chord changes. You can do that kind of thing, but then you have to be really good at phrasing to disguise it because if you end a phrase in the middle of the string of changes you're ignoring you can't pick up and start a new one until it's on a chord that you can play inside again because it'll sound too far off if you start a new phrase with a scale, mode, or arpeggio that doesn't fit the chord. If you have to wait too long for it to come back to where you can play again it becomes too obvious what's going on. So what he did (basically) was to just keep cranking on that scale that worked with the beginning part of the tune until he got back there again.

There's a fine line there. On one hand, you want to play in the chord, it's hard to do, it sounds good, and will get you a lot of respect because you've obviously done your homework. On the other hand, if you get too good at it and all you do is play within the chord structure everything will sound the same. So you want play "out" sometimes, even if it's deliberate, and that's where the fun comes in. You want to get back in eventually, and interesting things can happen along the way that can cause you to lose your place.

Hi Chris, Thank for sharing your process. When I find myself stuck, I just find a tone that works and let it hang in the air. Or, play against the change with a lot of abstract shakuhachi noise.

...The fun is trying to find it again. If you do, your solo is cool and everbody (and yourself) is in awe of what you just did. If not, better luck next time.

I have found that when I'm listening well (and on automatic pilot), it will be easy to get back into the groove. My usual approach is to find a riff or theme to explore. On good jams, the theme can find many ways to work, even in the "out".  If I think too much, it can become forced which leads to stiff jamming. What I'm personally interested in is being able to seeing more quickly where the "in" and "out" doors are. I understand that getting there will be a lot of serious work! The good thing about our work is that it's both work and play smile

Thanks for the great input everyone! Perry


"A hot dog is not an animal." - Jet Yung

My Blog/Website on the art of shakuhachi...and parenting.
How to make an Urban Shakuhachi (PVC)

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#43 2008-09-12 16:27:31

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

YuccaBruce wrote:

Oliver Nelson was a great studio/composer/arranger and jazz educator.  His "Patterns for Improvisation" are exercises for wind players and oddly enough a great fit for shakuhachi players.

I don't have the book anymore (wonder what happened to it?) but I think he gave a fascinating interview with Frank Kofsky in "Black Nationalism and the Revolution in Music" where he ridiculed the then current ('60's) penchant among the black American music world for "African nostalgia" i.e. desire to return to Africa, wearing of dashiki, changing names to African names etc.

Which has an interesting correlation to shakuhachi people running around in kimonos and changing their names to stuff like "Tairaku" except that some of us aren't Japanese to begin with.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#44 2008-09-12 20:36:49

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

I had a student in a university class I taught who wore a kimono, hakama and getta every day to school (in Japan.)  He definitely got ridiculed by his peers for standing out so much (something Japanese don't appreciate among themselves), though some respected him because he was so consistent. He was also a shakuhachi player and he even got looks from fellow players because of his obvious dissimilarity.  It seems that ridicule comes most from those who have trouble letting go.  Viva la Difference!


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#45 2008-09-12 21:40:39

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Jeff Cairns wrote:

I had a student in a university class I taught who wore a kimono, hakama and getta every day to school (in Japan.)

Was the student Japanese or Western?


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#46 2008-09-13 15:25:46

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Conversely, has anyone heard or played a reasonable version of honkyoku, say 'Tamuke' on sax or trumpet ?
That might be a challenge.
I think I can hear a fretless Bass, Standup even, making a listenable rendition.
Can't hear a piano doing it, maybe a cello.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#47 2008-09-13 16:17:18

Tairaku 太楽
Administrator/Performer
From: Tasmania
Registered: 2005-10-07
Posts: 3202
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Karmajampa wrote:

Conversely, has anyone heard or played a reasonable version of honkyoku, say 'Tamuke' on sax or trumpet ?
That might be a challenge.
I think I can hear a fretless Bass, Standup even, making a listenable rendition.
Can't hear a piano doing it, maybe a cello.

Kel.

Ned Rothenberg has a truly amazing version of "Sokaku Reibo" for alto sax, and he probably has others as well.

Ronnie Seldin recorded an interesting duet on "Shika no tone" with cello.

Australian soprano saxophonist Fiona Burnett has a new CD where she plays some honkyoku phrases in the course of her improv.

On my CD's there are a number of honkyoku where I phrase in octaves with the upright bass player, Dave Gelting. That works.

Piano wouldn't really work because of the lack of microtones. Although blues pianists have figured out ways to cope with that issue, so maybe I'm prejudging.


'Progress means simplifying, not complicating' : Bruno Munari

http://www.myspace.com/tairakubrianritchie

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#48 2008-09-15 13:26:12

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

I did  three songs, Koku, Shika no Tohne (abbreviated version) and a folk tune I wrote with chinese harpist, Joy Hoffman, on her cd "Blessing". The Ma in her playing of Shika is unreal. I still have three copies available ($10.) if anyone is interested.


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#49 2008-09-15 19:02:20

Josh
PhD
From: Grand Island, NY/Nara, Japan
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 305
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Miyata Kohachiro has a version of shika no tone with piano.  It's interesting, but it sounds quite different. My teacher had to play it once at someone!s concert. The crowd was not specifically a shakuhachi crowd so most people really liked it.

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#50 2008-09-15 21:28:03

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Jazz Shakuhachi

Tairaku wrote:

Was the student Japanese or Western?

He is Japanese.  The curious thing though was that no 20 year old Japanese university students dress that way other than him.  He stood out like a sore thumb on campus and he knew it though he wasn't entirely an 'in your face' kind of guy.  I respect him for his decisiveness and dedication.

jeff


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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