Mail Magazine vol.07

■Kumiko’s “In Search of the Transparent Sound” vol.7

The sound plays a vital role.
It indicates the deepest consciousness.

I often wondered why Prof. Sasaki had said so and so or why he had used such and such an expression in his lesson. However, now that I teach workshops on the essence of the sound and conduct the chorus a cappella “Song of the Wind”, I have come up to comprehend why he said so. I feel all that he said to me came from deep sensibility and sense.
As for food, he strictly lived up to the macrobiotics which was not common those days. Influenced by him, I practiced the macrobiotic diet by Yukikazu Sakurazawa( the founder of the macrobiotic diet and philosophy 1893-1966, he is known as George Osawa) with other students.
Every Friday, we used to walk around looking for a restaurant which offers macrobiotic meals downtown Takadanobaba before the workshop of hymns started. But the idea of macrobiotics was so new that all our efforts resulted in vain. By compromise, we chose a menu composed mainly of vegetables.
Afterwards, Prof. Sasaki gave me a book written by Masanobu Fukuoka(a farmer, philosopher and founder of natural farming 1913-2008). I was moved very much by his idea. He insists that;
The environments given by the earth― minerals, plants, animals, water―support and make the most of each other. A man cannot live without these environments. And what’s more, it is only the human beings who can activate the natural circulation according to the law of nature instead of destroying it.
His idea gave me a hope for the future.
Prof.Sasaki was a man of outspokenness and action
One day, he told me about his visit to Masanobu Fukuoka with his two little sons and his wife. He explained his method, < to open an ear> to Mr. Fukuoka. Unfortunately, it did not make sense to him. Instead, Sasaki sang a short trio with his sons. Fukuoka admired, saying “ It sounds voice of angels”

Several years later, he moved from Takadanobaba to a suburb.
I still kept on taking his lesson.
I like Bach very much. On the other hand, I was a poor player of Chopin.
So as to overcome my weakness, I chose Chopin`s music in my lesson. Whenever I started to play piano, he stopped me playing and said” You did not listen to the sound. Listen carefully to the sound!” It was continued by a long lecture. Then he made me play the initial few bars over and over again. After several repetition of playing the initial few bars and his lecture, my lesson finished. All that I played in front of prof. Sasaki was only a few bars every time! It lasted almost two months.
Meanwhile, my laziness began to whisper “It’s no use practicing the whole piece. All you have to play is just the initial few bars!” I gave in to temptation. During the lesson, I listened to his lecture obediently while I didn’t practice the whole piece actually.
One day I started playing as usual, assuming that he would soon say,” Stop!” However, he didn’t stop me even after the initial few bars passed. I was upset.
“Impossible! I can ‘t play any longer”
But there was no way out except keeping on playing to the end because he didn’t stop me. I finished playing with a lot of mistakes.
“I should have practice the whole piece! It was awful!”
I waited for his comments.
Surprisingly enough, he said “Good! Very good!”
Astonished at his comments, I was sad.
“As my play is hopeless, he gave me up!” I came back home hanging my head in disappointment.

On my way home, I ate soba noodle with my friend.
“Kumiko, your Chopin was splendid! Your sound was totally different from last week”
I was surprised very much at her words. She is the last person to tell a lie. So, I tried to believe what she said without reason.
As for myself, I could not sense what was different from last week.
Long afterwards, however, I found that I had felt an extraordinary space of peace and relief far away in my sense at that time.
It is this sense of an extraordinary space filled with peace and relief that has indicated my way since then.

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