I’ve been really tired lately, and not sleeping well (actually I’ve been taking naps in the infirmary it’s kind of comforting, laying in mostly bare white bed in encapsulated by cream-colored curtains with the mid-day sun gleaming behind them, while a radio’s incomprehensible words drift about the room…but I digress). I was exhausted after only less than an hour of using a grinder on my new piece (the wood bits flying everywhere keep cutting my hands, I need gloves or something), and after eating katsu-don and watching the glowing molten mammoths of pink “summer clouds” (according to Kenta, the billowy stacked cumulonimbus clouds should mean that rainy season is over) I sat down and just spaced out on a bench outside the cafeteria. A man came up to me and said, in English, that he would be playing the piano on the second floor, and I could come watch. I followed, and came to the part of the building I always knew was there but had never actually seen. It’s just a hall by the stairs with a grand piano. He played a beautiful song that could have been played in The Peanuts, and I lay down and actually RELAXED. It was, to my delight, one of the most experiences moments I’ve ever had. It gets stranger.

He played for about 5 minutes, then asked if I knew how to improvise, if I played piano (all in English). I said not piano, but cello, and yes I can improvise. He asked if I’d like to have an improv session. He showed me to play with the palms of my hands, and the backs of my hands and fingers, the sides of them, my wrists, elbows, arms, forehead. He played by pressing his hands and arms all along the piano, and it sounded amazing. Playing by making circular movements with your entire hands. Making music out of nonsense, and he played to them, and I played to him, we were having deep, intellectual conversation without any words. Then I got up and played the strings of the piano, he quite liked that. We must have played for at least half an hour, and he got up and I kept playing. He walked around, leaned behind the piano, and then lay down for a few minutes like I had, just listening to my nonsense. Then he said he was going to leave.  The floor was entirely empty except a man sweeping in the next room.
I too thought I should go.

I asked his name. Ogawa. How come you speak English so well? He looked confused. “I don’t speak it that well. I was in America for six months, but that was some years ago.” I tried to talk more to him, but he seemed to be in a hurry, I asked if he would come next week, but I have the feeling that I won’t ever see him again.

Here are some pictres from a few weeks ago. I went to a bbq at Uchida sensei’s studio in the foothills of mount Hiei. You can see lake biwa from his rotenburo (a small outdoor bath) (I DID take a bath in it, with a few other girls. what an experience!)

around Seika

Arashiyama

Arashiyama