Earlier today, I joined the conservation group P.T.O.‘s activities in Arashiyama. We spent the morning preparing bamboo switches that will be used to repair the fences along the bamboo groves this autumn. These fences are important because they keep the wild boar out and prevent them from eating up all the new bamboo shoots in the spring. After we had finished our work we were treated to an unusual performance by one of our members. Here in the bamboo forest Aki Nagane played for us the mukkuri, a traditional Ainu mouth harp made itself from bamboo. Just watch this. It’s a special moment in a special place.
Stephen Gill‘s impromptu haiku at the end of the video was later revised as follows,
Here’s a simple translation:
Through you, oh mukkuri
I hear the language
of the grasses and trees.
Nagane-san added that as she played she was imagining both the growth of the bamboo and the water being sucked up along it’s height from the ground and right up to the top.