Shakuhachi Diary #1

(I wrote this some time ago, but for some reason didn't publish it)

On April 1st, 2012, I bought a shakuhachi in a junk shop in Onomichi, Hiroshima prefecture, Japan. It looks like this:

If you don't know, a shakuhachi is an end-blown flute made from bamboo. They've been played in Japan for hundreds of years and are used in religious music, folk music, and nowadays all sorts of stuff.

This one cost me the princely sum of two thousand yen (currently a little less than twenty quid), after a little bit of accidental bartering with the shopkeeper. I then spent most of the day wondering whether I'd been ripped off or not. There's a crack in it, which has been repaired, stretching from the thumb hole to the joint:

As it turned out, a little bit of internet surfing showed me that:

1. even cheap shakuhachis are usually more than 10000 yen, and
2. ALL bamboo shakuhachis crack at some point, and even fairly serious cracks can be repaired if you know what you're doing.

So I still don't know what this shakuhachi is worth, or how to play it, but I've decided to find a teacher and learn properly.