• Beniko

43. Japanese Flute Practice

I used to love to watch my Oneisan (お姉さん, mentor Geiko) practicing Fue (笛, Japanese flute), and dreamed of myself playing it. I loved it because Oneisan looked cool especially when she was playing, and the sound of the flute was very pleasing to my ears.

In the Heian (平安) period, Fue was regarded as the instrument only for men. Only instruments allowed to women were strings such as Biwa (琵琶) or Koto (琴).

So, my Fue practice was started out of admiration. However, Fue was far more difficult than I imagined. I had to struggle just to produce a single note. The only thing I could make was the sound of the air, or at the best, a weird shrieking sound. I tried very hard to gain a proper sound, and when I finally made it, I was so happy that I held my Fue in my arms while I was sleeping.

There are famous pieces of Fue which have the unique names, such as "Aoba no Fue (青葉の笛, Fue of Fresh Green Leaves)” possessed by Taira no Atsumori (平敦盛) of the "Heike Monogatari (平家物語, The Tale of the Heike)", as well as "Hafutatsu (葉二, two leaves) possessed by Minamoto no Hiromasa (源博雅), a great piper in a historical TV drama "Onmyoji (陰陽師)". When I learned it from my Oneisan, I also named my Fue as "Tsubaki no Fue (椿の笛, the flute of Camellia)".

My Okasan (お母さん, the female owner of Okiya) and my colleague Maiko laughed at me, saying "It's too much for an ordinary Fue", but I was happy. Still today, I use my second Tsubaki no Fue for my practice.

Thank you so much.

Talk to you soon.

Beniko

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