Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beef, onion, sprite, ramen good for shakuhachi

What would you eat (or avoid eating) before an important performance?

Japanese people often eat pork, especially deep fried pork called “katsu” before life-changing events, such as university entrance exams, because pork is believed to energize one’s body. My senpai musicians often took me to a tonkatsu restaurant before a performance exam. Why pork? Well, that’s because katsu in Japanese also means “win.” To me, this tradition is in part a superstition.

However, some people seem to eat certain food before a concert. For example, Yokoyama Katsuya was known for eating yakiniku (meat) to energize himself. Aoki Reibo seems to eat raw onion before a concert. Yamaguchi Goro preferred to drink “mitsuya cider” (it’s soda like Sprite). Another living national treasure seems to have said that ramen noodle is the best. Oily food generally keeps the moist in the mouth and prevents the mouth from drying up.

This person thinks that sushi is bad because vinegar takes water out. No sushi should be served for shakuhachi players before a concert (shamisen and koto players would be happy with sushi). Wadatsumi Fumon did not drink tea before a public performance. He thought strong tea would desiccate his mouth.

In my experience, honey water works well. Sugar water, hot chocolate didn’t work.

Share your experiences here!

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