Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bad Habits Are Hard to Break When it Comes to Playing Sanshin

Not long ago I began teaching myself how to play the Sanshin a traditional folk instrament of Okinawa. It's sort of a three string banjo. Well not figuring out the basics to start with has been a problem for me because I developed a habit of trying to hit notes with my left ring finger which is a definite no-no if you want to play the note correctly. Just being off by the slightest bit will change the sound coming from the string. Today I had an epiphany of an idea when I saw a clerk counting money with a finger sleve and I realized it would be the perfect thing to help me realize I was using the wrong finger when reaching for a note. So far it is working Maybe now my playing will start to improve. That is when I memorize where all these notes are. Here is a chart showing the notes played on a sanshin. Okinawan sheet music for the sanshin is called Kunkunshi and the notes are all in Japanese characters.

These top notes are played open string.

These notes are played with the index finger.

These notes are played with the middle finger.

These last four notes are all with the pinkie.

Names of the notes

On the low string:    合 = “ai” 乙 = “otsu” 老 = “rou”
On the middle string:  四 = “shi” 上 = “jou” 中 = “chuu” 尺 = “shaku”
On the high string:  工 = “kou” 五 = “go” 六 = “roku” 七 = “shichi”

Some day I hope this all clicks in my head.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tom, thanks for sending the cheerful email. We are having another snow storm and I'm sure it's same over there or worse?

    My dear Cho-de-Brother, Tom san, Your intention to establish your BlogSite to promote Okinawan culture is so impressive and splendid! I am 100% with you. You know, this Uchina- Obachan always had the idea, especially after I retired from my work. Since I am not so mentally equipped with internet/computer I kept postpone it. Now you are
    going to do it! Soooo glad to find that it's you, Tom! Go for it! And Good Luck!

    So glad you are using the Uchina-guchi, Sanshin, instead of Japanese term. Tom, I don't do Sanshin, but certainly would like to encourage person like you, especially non-Uchinanchus. It'll click in your head very soon! Practice makes perfect! Someday I'll have a chance to listen to your Sanshin - Tom don't forget singing part, too. You can
    do it because you seem to be a guy with special enthusiasm for the culture & your tenacious characteristic traits will support that.

    Tom, when you can create the Newsletter like you have been doing for the Chicago Kenjinkai I believe you can do anything. I admire your talent and I want to do our NL like yours when I grow up.

    Yes, register/add me into your Blog Site. I'll look forward to reading the site. Let me know if you need any help. I'll do my best to support you. Gokuro-sama in advance. You're a great Minkantaishi (goodwill ambassador). Again, Good Luck!

    From Teiko Yonaha-Tursi,
    NY Okinawa Kenjinkai

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry