Modern Oryoki

Our habits have to change eventually. Getting stuff to go in a cardboard or styrofoam cup or box is no longer a good idea. One solution might be a modern Oryoki set, containing 3 nestled bowls, a plate and cutlery consisting of fork, knife and spoon. This set should be very lightweight, durable and easy to clean and carry/pack.

Plate: because you can’t cut vegetables or meat in a bowl
Large Bowl: rice or pasta
Medium Bowl: salad, veggies or soup
Small Bowl: Tea or coffee (or Sake)

Here is a photo of an American ceramic Oryoki set. The traditional Japanese bowls are made of lacquered wood. I am not sure what material would be best for a modern set.

Black Oryoki Bowls

I carry a set of cuttlery with me when we are touring, because we have a lot of catered meals and sometimes those are served with plastic utensils. Here is a picture of the cutlery I carry with me:


You can click on each of the photos to go to the web page of the dealer/manufacturer.

I imagine the plate could be a top that fits on the largest bowl. When placed on the large bowl it would keep the rice or other food warm, and when turned over it would become a plate.

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Bits of Wisdom

Bits of Wisdom
I never trusted a man who never smoked or drank. – Abraham Lincoln.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. – Yoda

It’s just a feeling. You don’t have to act on it. – spiritual director

And there are plenty more where those came from…

Practice vs Performance

When we practice we often concentrate on individual aspects or fragments of a performance. Fingering, sound-production, volume/dynamics, melody, rhythm are all aspects of a performance that can be practiced independently. Concentrating on one of these aspects will have wonderful results and is in fact essential for improving, but I think that concentration is not good for performing music.

When we concentrate on the flow of the melody, the rhythm will suffer and we might place notes too far in front of or behind the beat. When we concentrate on the rhythm we might place the notes exactly on the beat, but the melody will lack flow. When we concentrate on producing sound (right hand for most people), we might lose sight of the fingering (left hand). In other words, while fragmentation is a great way to isolate and practice a piece of music – or general aspects of posture, fingering, sound-production, volume/dynamics etc. – for a performance these fragments have to join to form one single element: the music.

In order for music to flow naturally, we have to allow the mind to flow and trust that it will bring attention to any single element that requires it. During a performance mind might flow like this:

the melody is a little behind the beat… nice, but don’t fall behind… the lights are hot in the back of my neck… right hand is a little sweaty… keep it steady – don’t listen to Davo (sounds like he’s doing sevens against the six)… ah, Jon is starting to improvise: don’t go back to the melody now… the second string sounds a little off – is it me or the violin… or both…

You see, concentrating on any one aspect of the performance would inhibit the flow of mind and that might get us stuck and when we get stuck even for a moment we won’t respond to the needs that are arising. Getting stuck is the worst that can happen in a performance. Two places we certainly do not want to get stuck in are: what I just played was so great AND what I just played really sucked! Both thoughts have the same result – the flow of music is impeded and the very next phrase will indeed suck…

By no means is this limited to music. When you cook and concentrate too much on one item, you’ll burn another… and I am sure we will find many more examples…

Also see THIS and Gut Brain.

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Group Photo

Winter Rose - 4

We took this group photo on the stage of the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek after our last show. The performance was a total blast and possibly the best show of the tour. It was as if we wanted to leave on a high note, a very high note.

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