2009-05-12

How I spent my Japanese Goverment Stimulus: Temple Bowls

About 10 years ago my older brother (a professional drummer/percussionist) visited me in Japan for about a week. One of the souveniers he bought during his visit was a temple bowl. They come in all different sizes and they have a beautiful sustained ring that goes on and on. Buddhist temples usually have a fairly large one (one or two feet in diameter, maybe) and people who have a little Buddhist shrine in there homes have a small one, a few inches in diameter, which they will ring as part of the ritual of praying and burning incense, etc. (Sorry if I have that inaccurate, I am not an expert on Buddhism)

Anyway, my brother is not Buddhist, he just enjoys the sound and thought he might be able to use it as a percussion instrument. Since that time he has collected a couple more. My wife and I also enjoy the sound of these bowls, so we have it in our heads to collect a whole "set" of these, from small to large and use them in a taiko concert, perhaps as an introductory or transitional piece. We are imagining them as a sort of accompaniment to a slow flute piece.

When I recently calculated the cost of the different sizes we hoped to get, it was around 2000 USD. So when I got 20,000 yen (about 200 USD) from a Japanese gov't stimulus plan, I decided to take some of it and start collecting these bowls. Right now we have three and we still need to get a lot more. Here is a short video of my kids demonstrating the bowls so you can get an idea of how they sound.



(Yes, mom, those are the new clothes you sent them.)

4 comments:

taikotari said...

First of all: how come you got the 20,000 yen one? I'm sadly only getting 12,000 yen.
And secondly... yeah, gotta get those temple bowl myself too, they're very cool. We used a proper large one at our Waraku Daiko concert. The sounds is very magnanimous, especially when you're using the big ones.

Marlene said...

It's very sweet to watch your children 'play' the bowls! Your son's reaction is priceless!

Raion Taiko said...

Ah, if I told you that, ... well, I can't tell you that, at least not here, not now. It's a secret.

Anyway, I like your vocabulary. "Magnanimous" is just the right word for the way those big ones sound.

Joy said...

I brought back two from Japan - one for myself and one as a wedding present for a friend. Her band, Mazer Rackham used it in one of their songs.hello

 
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