Monday, December 26, 2011
illustration friday (messenger)
My favorite wind instrument is the Japanese shakuhachi, but the instrument that holds the most youthful memories for me is the harmonica. The harmonica, along with the castanet, used to be a part of every Japanese schoolchild's tool kit-- and I assume it still is. But mostly, the harmonica takes me back to my high school years, when I was one of a group of TCK* teenagers who would volunteer to work for a part of each summer at a handful of dairy farms struggling to make ends meet in impoverished western Hokkaido.
After a day of backbreaking labor, we would sometimes unwind in the evening by forming an impromptu jug band, making vaguely musical noises out of anything that was close at hand. Someone would always bring out a harmonica and manage to pull all those noises together into something to jiggle and clap and hum along with. To this day, it is one of my fondest memories.
*TCK= third culture kid (kids who grow up outside of their parents' home culture, often in countries of which they are not citizens)