Kyudo Notebook: Things

Following up from earlier comments, I went to the Mingeikan in Tokyo today (about a 10 minute walk from Komaga-Todaimae station on the Inokashira line out of Shibuya). At first I reacted more to the building and the grounds than to the crafts. Lots of old wood and crazy stone flooring (where did they get that?), plus huge pottery jars out in the garden or tucked away here and there, maybe placed strategically to collect rain? Or just to be there.

They had some pieces of pottery that I liked, particularly some Yi dynasty ware with a yellow/brown glaze, and also some tiny little tea bowls, no more than 10-12 cm across. Maybe they were for drinking soju? Or even for rice bowls for kids? Another one that I liked was in the front foyer, a square plate with what looked like a few warabi stalks as a pattern in the centre. But the high point for me (usually the low point at most museums) is that they had quite a lot of space devoted to work that was for sale, which mean I could pick things up and communicate with them.

There were three separate spaces for these. One was the regular museum shop, which was pretty much as you’d expect, with some pottery and textiles, plus books, postcards, and some other publications. Second was a larger space for “approved works,” a term that seems a little odd, but which also contained items for sale. I’m not sure what the difference is between the shop and the approved works. Maybe the latter are on consignment or something, but they all felt like modern work. Anyway lots to touch, and all very reasonably priced, maybe ¥1000-7000, so it would really be possible for an ordinary person (like me) to buy one, take it home, and use it in daily life. They were not “high art” with the attendant high prices, but arguably beautiful things made to be used, and somehow, though I didn’t feel it at the time, thinking back it seems there really is something to that. Yanagi-sensei was onto something.

The third area of things for sale was an exhibition of modern work that had been selected in a competition there this year, but these all carried modern prices, too… ¥200,000 or more for some of the textiles. Definitely not the tools of daily life for ordinary people, and the feeling was different, though I suspect it was just the atmosphere. High prices = hovering sales people.

I can’t say I really “coveted” any of the items I saw, but I did buy one inexpensive “approved” thing with the yellow/brown glaze. It’s smooth, so doesn’t have the rustic charm of the Yi dynasty ones. If it makes it back to Hokkaido in one piece it will be my new rice bowl (the old one broke a few weeks ago), and smooth bowls are easier to wash because rice grains adhere to rough spots. I also wanted to buy a small hake-style tea cup to use at the dojo, but ended up in a long conversation with one of the workers there, and forgot to buy it! Maybe next time.

By luck this was one of the days when Yanagi-sensei’s residence was also open to visitors, so I wandered around in there for a while. Cool house, with lots of hidden spaces. Kids would love playing there, but it would be a nightmare to clean. The curious thing is that, except for his study/library (and the house itself), there were almost no craft items to be seen. Maybe all of his personal things are now over in the museum, but isn’t it odd that they wouldn’t keep a few favourites as he left them? I’d like to know what he used, and how. As it is, his house was as spartan as a Zen temple. Normally I prefer that aesthetic, but this time I was curious about how a “things” guy lived. Oh, well.

I might go back next year. They rotate the exhibits and the people working there are very nice. If I’m feeling brave I’ll go with my friend the (former) curator when she visits, though that would be less worrisome if they had a cafe. I need a place where I can sit and read while she does her “thing” thing…

Also I went to Asahi Archery, this time coming back with a 6-sun nobi glass/carbon 練心 bow. This will probably be my last synthetic bow, and I’m looking forward to shooting with it. Its curves are much stronger than the bow I have now, much more like a takeyumi, so it may be helpful in many ways. I also tried some of the bamboo bows there, and yeah… maybe I have a little bit of desire there… but I’m content to be patient with this.

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11 Responses to Kyudo Notebook: Things

  1. ceterum censeo says:

    So you went to the Mingeikan… lucky you! I’d love to see Yanagi’s house in particular.

    I’ve been meaning to comment but Christmas is a busy time for us… covetousness abounds… and then there was the matter of part of the dojo roof being stripped off by a storm… and part of my hand being stripped off by 4hp polishing motor… both sound worse than they are – roof was temporarily felted again by yours truly and while working without skin is annoying it re-grows.
    Azuchi was frozen this morning too… winter is finally here. No need for snow walls here but some shoveling and foam boards instead of sand…

    Anyway, so you’re somewhat underwhelmed by the experience of the mingeikan it would seem.
    Maybe I over-sold the wondrous qualities of crusty pottery…
    … maybe your curator friend and I need to go to work on you some more.
    Personally I definitely have the urge to collect too… just not the funds, perhaps luckily I don’t…
    We do live in something of a museum here though.

    I keep talking about “pots”, it could be anything actually… ceramics, lacquer, wood, metal, textiles…
    It is just that pottery is interesting in that it requires almost no skill and time to make a piece of pottery …and at the same time it can show such sensitivity as few other media can. Clay responds so easily, everything else resists and is therefore less immediate.
    Clay can be worked by a 5 year old. Clay is cheap.
    You noted the cost of some craft objects, well that is often due to the time they take to make.
    Sometimes the standing of an artisan in the community is a factor in the price of objects, sometimes it is the cost of materials, but often it is just time calculated at modern wages.

    Glad you found a little friend to take home with you anyway.
    Maybe this will be the beginning of many new and interesting relationships.

    I love hand-made things and old ones in particular. Not necessarily because they are better but because they have an added layer of life.
    I do relate to them… well, often I don’t actually, many objects are just “nice”… no earth-shattering revelations, just nice… some aren’t even nice…
    But then some are sublime, they have a quality, a spirit, a life,…

    That is the wonderful thing about some folk-craft objects, they are a product of life, when they really work they are alive.
    To me they are often more alive than the most life-like painting or sculpture, more expressive than any object laden with elaborate detail or striking decor.

    It is easy to be impressed by some artistic tour de force – detail, materials, sheer volume of work,… I’m thinking of royal treasures for example, the type of work in gold and bronze, lacquer and silk that has taken craftsmen months and years to complete.
    We are awed by such work… who could make such a thing, imagine owning it… that was what I meant by window shopping… coveting…

    In folk crafts you often don’t see that (especially in ceramics, hence my emphasis on pots), you often don’t see hours of work… but then if you look you see lifetimes of work.
    Maybe you have to be attuned to it…
    I see in them lifetimes of work, such ease and perfection of line, form, richness of surface,…. and I think the exact same thing I think when I look at imperial treasures: who could make such a thing… how many hours do you need to do this to make it look that natural?
    It takes lifetimes of doing to do this little.

    In kyudo we find the same elegant austerity, natural beauty, balance,… as we do in some of Yanagis folk craft objects.
    We can look at our teachers in wonder and think: how long do you have to do this to make it look so natural, …to do so little?
    That is a point actually… the lack of artifice. The more you manage to leave away the better it becomes. We often try to do too much, little “flourishes” everywhere… too much artifice, too little essence…
    There is such an inner rigor in some of the work, in the simplicity. With the best objects that shines through, an inner strength, absolute control but with a totally natural feel.

    An unlikely quote springs to mind “a natural un-naturalness or un-natural naturalness” – Bruce Lee said that. He was speaking about martial arts and the special quality he was looking for in them. He pretty well nailed it for me – nature and technique.
    Kyudo can be inature in ritualized form and ritual in its most natural form. Technique and nature in such perfect harmony and balance you can’t tell the boundary anymore. In refining the process to its essence it becomes etherial, it refines the spirit also.
    To me that is why it lifts the spirit when we see it and that is why occasionally a clay pot can touch our soul.
    In shooting we refer to truth etc… it is the same in the making of objects. Some are so honest, so balanced, the technique so pure and without any artifice… a true expression of the art… of the nature of the thing,… of the spirit that made it.
    Hard to put into words,…
    … and I’m rambling again…

    Anyway, it is good not to get too hung up about owning stuff, and if objects are totally take it or leave it for you that is fine too.
    I thought Yanagi might be interesting because of the zen thing and because his aesthetic and spirituality bears similarities to qualities we look for in kyudo.
    My response to objects is extreme, that wasn’t really the point.

    Anyway, let’s talk about the tools of our trade quickly before I go to bed…
    So, a new last synthetic bow… hope you’ll enjoy it ; )
    You’ll have a job trying to find a decent take-yumi in 6-sun nobi… many makers don’t even offer 4-sun nobi…
    There seems to be a general tendency in bamboo bows to build for safety. Bows are getting wider and heavier and Urazori is shrinking. Here carbon insert bows are fairly common now too as they require less care.
    Really sharp light bows with a compact cross-section and high urazori are much more fun and comfortable to shoot though.
    I doubt many makers build them in 6-sun nobi, they are too volatile.

    Did you go up in weight or down then with the new one? You mentioned considering both…

    They are starting to build glass/carbon bows with a bit more urazori now it seems, makes them a bit less rattly. Jikishin/Renshin have been getting better it seems, the Higo Sozan range have always been good in that respect, but sadly only available in nami and nobi-sun I think.
    I found the new kokushin bows pretty good too. They come in 4-sun nobi, they are very light and with a cross section more like take yumi, and they even have a pretty good sound for a carbon bow. Totally synthetic but sharp, I found I can’t shoot mine all the time though as the vibrations compound joint problems I have from work.
    Take-yumis, provided they have a decent urazori, are much gentler. Not ideal for our climate perhaps but ideal for my bad joints.
    How do bamboo bows fair in Hokkaido in the winter I wonder? Maybe the air is less dry than here…

    Aand any idea who made the bow you mentioned before by the way?
    Just curious what the quality about it was that attracted you…

    Oh and finally, …speaking of tools…
    You mentioned wanting a fletching jig… my favourite is by Carol Archery… made in a garden shed in Surrey by a very nice lady named Carol – somewhat unsurprisingly. Carol is truly lovely and the jigs are excellent as they allow the gluing of all three fletches in one go. The jig needs only a couple of very minor adjustments to take kyudo arrows, I have several and I am very happy.

  2. karamatsu says:

    Oh, thank you for that recommendation, first of all. I looked at a jig that Asahi Archery is now offering. Since they also sell archery equipment they were familiar with various ones, but the trouble was that kyudo fletchings are longer than those commonly used in archery, so they had one of their own made. I will see if I can find Carol!

    I’m not sure I was underwhelmed by the Mingeikan. The pots that I liked I really did like, usually the very rough and rustic ones, but as you say, they tended to be quite old, full of cracks stained by centuries of tea. But I’m sure there is an element of acquired sensitivity, too. The house was very nice, although we couldn’t see all of it. I came away wondering, “Where’s the kitchen?” for instance. I still don’t know. Lots of old wood, though, just like the Mingeikan itself, though they’ve let the garden go. I particularly liked a little three-mat room that I thought would make an excellent meditation space. His study was the only room that looked obviously “lived in,” but that three-mat room had something.

    And I did get a whole lot from the book. It’s now very thoroughly marked up, and I want to go back through it again now that I have had a chance to see what he’s talking about. And yes, his reflections on Buddhist view are very interesting, though at times I found my self disagreeing. That could be a philosophical difference or just a matter of translation. It’s quite hard to do a good translation of Buddhist things. All of the sects use the same words to mean different things. I wish they could colour-code or something, like the Muslims do.

    When you asked about the bow I mentioned before I guess you mean my friend’s? I’ll have to check who made that. The one I bought is a Renshin, 15kg, so this is a step up in draw weight for me. I figure the 6-sun will be a good experiment even if I later move back to 4-sun for takeyumi. You’re right… the choices in 6-sun are pretty limited, but everyone said they felt sorry for my current bow.

    Winter here is hard on bows, arrows, and tsuru alike. My teachers use different bows for winter and summer, and just today one of them recommended that, especially in winter, I wet the cloth wrappings on the end of the tsuru slightly to keep those points from drying out, and he also gave my new string a bit of extra kusune. This was after my previous one (hemp) snapped. Oh, that’s the other thing with 6-sun… finding tsuru. Synthetics are available here and there, but hemp is harder to find. Asahi lists prices for some, but I’m not sure if they actually stock them. I’ll find out soon enough.

    I like what you said about the more you leave away the better it becomes. That’s sort of a theme generally, isn’t it? That same economy of action. Nothing that isn’t to the point. But getting there. Ah… In the time I’ve known my teacher I’ve seen his shooting change, too… simplifying and amplifying at the same time. Also he’s telling me now that I’m shooting too fast again, so I get to try to put my thoughts on hayake into action.

    Really though it’s just so good to get back to the dojo, back to shooting. I think I become unbalanced now if I can’t, and Tokyo is unbalancing enough. I should really find a place to practice when I’m there. I already have a Zen temple where I can go meditate. Now I just need a Kyudojo! Thanks very much for your comments. There is a lot here to chew on!

  3. karamatsu says:

    I forgot to mention that the way we keep the azuchi from freezing here is that, early in the winter (after there is no more chance of rain) we dig out the sand about 50cm around each target, then mix the sand with calcium chloride and pack it back in. The CaCl2 prevents ice build-up between the sand grains so we can use the regular azuchi all though the winter. I doubt anyone risks using bamboo arrows, but for steel or carbon it seems to do the trick even when the temperature drops to -30C. Maybe helpful? Of course, the foam boards are good, too, and probably better for the arrows, all in all. But tradition, you know…

  4. ceterum censeo says:

    Thanks for the info on frost proofing the azuchi, strings and bows.

    I can imagine finding hemp string for a 6-sun nobi bow must be a challenge.
    I am currently trying hemp string on a new bow. The only string I could get from stock was Fuji.
    The bow has a serious vibration-problem and the string does seem to help a little.
    Hemp does feel different, you are right. When the sting finally breaks on my old bow I’ll try hemp on that too, then I’ll be able to properly assess the difference using it on a well used familiar bow. Having said that the Hikari string that is on there right now has been there since the summer and has done somewhere in the region of 3000 shots. Hemp would have to be spectacularly nice to compete with that kind of economy and reliability, not to mention the speed…

    Having had a bow break a couple of years back I no longer use my bamboo bow at temperatures below freezing although my teachers do – and by and large seem to get away with it.
    My bow was not actually even in use when it broke but was standing in my hallway, so I now also no longer take bows into the centrally heated part of the house in winter.
    I tend to use carbon bows for training in the open dojo when it is very cold, although I am currently thinking of experimenting also with some of my more docile bamboo bows for winter use. The idea is to find a safe but comfortable bow, which may prove difficult. The safe bows have relatively high levels of vibration so they are no better than a good carbon bow… probably worse actually, given their sensitivity to cold and dry air.

    Bows generally seem to be getting “safer”… flatter, wider, less sharp,… maybe that is just a concession to inexperienced users or perhaps also to the spreading of bamboo bows beyond Honshu and Kyushu…
    It would be interesting to know if there are types of bow that are considered suitable for use in colder areas of Japan and the rest of the world…
    Not much information is available on the different styles of bows… I mean not just nari but section profiles, construction, bamboo from different areas…

    Anyway,… azuchi…
    CaCl may be worth a try…
    We do have a sand azuchi but not one which is covered. The reason is that we also use the field behind for enteki practice and we have no running water directly at the dojo.
    The azuchi is covered by plastic sheeting when not in use so it draws water from the ground blow.
    Convenient in the summer… not so good in winter. There is a lot of moisture in the sand and the whole azuchi does get covered in ice and snow so when winter really kicks off in Jan or Feb we often can’t get to the sand at all. If we could keep the plastic cover from freezing to it that might be a start…
    It might be quite a job to salt the whole azuchi though – it’s about 15 metres long. How much Salt do you use?
    Although, scraping snow off the azuchi or putting up foam is probably much of a muchness, the really tedious part is having to clear the snow off the field in front…

    Finally,…
    I hope the trouble you were experiencing at His Imperial Majesty’s Birthday was not serious and that a bit of rest did do the job of curing it.
    The Reigning Emperor’s Birthday being so close to Christmas I can’t help wondering if Christmas even registers in the japanese calender …as a holiday or period of rest I mean, not as a shopping event.

  5. karamatsu says:

    Hmmmm… an uncovered target area would be difficult. We don’t add calcium chloride to the whole azuchi but only to the sand surrounding the target locations. First digging out the sand in a rough semicircle extending about 40-50cm from the target edge and then back far enough that there’s enough to stop the arrows. Arrows that don’t hit within the softened area… well… that’s another matter. If they bounce back and land in the snow, they might not be found until spring, although we have a metal detector now. I think we did 10 target’s worth with maybe 10kg. It was a 25kg bag but it wasn’t full when we started, nor empty when we finished.
    For what it’s worth there is a dojo in Rubeshibe, Hokkaido that uses the same yamichi for both kinteki and enteki, but what they do is have the two ranges overlap at right angles. So you have a covered shajo and azuchi for kinteki that form “walls” at the shajo end of the enteki range. It’s a nice, compact solution and the three “walls” provide some protection from wind and snow.
    But the hemp strings feel good, don’t you think? I’m headed the opposite direction now, back to synthetics until I can get the hang of the new bow, but eventually I will try hemp, assuming I can shoot at all! I’m going to try some this evening, even if it’s not a full session. Then the dojo will be closed over the New Year holiday so my hand/wrist/arm can rest some more.
    If I get a chance I’ll ask if there are differences between the winter/summer bows that people are using. Actually most people use the same bows year-round, but some of the people who’ve been at this long enough to have a collection seem to have seasonal favourites. Where are you, by the way? The weather sounds similar.

  6. karamatsu says:

    Well, I asked one teacher who said that really there are no differences in construction for summer or winter. Cold, dry winters are hard on bamboo, of course, so you just need to be extra careful. The bows become stronger and the hemp strings become more brittle as they dry, so you have to work with that. But I suppose in a way it’s all part of the charm of working with natural materials.Of course the bowmakers may well have some ideas about what works best where. I have heard people say that this or that adhesive used to make bamboo bows is good/bad for the winter, but I don’t remember the details. Probably there will be more of that kind of talk at our new year party. There is also a book, 弓ごよみ, by Matsunaga Shigenobu, that collects articles on bowmaking contributed to the Kyudo magazine over an eight-month span in 2008. I’ve had it here for a while but need to get reading. Maybe it will be something for the holidays!

    PS Practice yesterday was better, but I had to pace myself and stop a bit early. Still it’s good to know that whatever happened on Friday isn’t permanent. I imagine I’ll be back to normal after the holidays, which is good because we’ll have a taikai on the 8th. Not sure which bow I’ll use for that.

  7. ceterum censeo says:

    Thanks for the tips.

    So you’ll get your rest over the New Year. I hope it works.

    Yes, the weather is fairly similar here. A little dryer perhaps, as we are not near the sea.
    Japanese visitors always remark how similar it is here to Hokkaido – landscape wise. Cows, hills, we even have the birch trees.
    I am in southern Germany, in the foothills of the Alps so to speak.

    Thanks for the bow info too.
    Alas I can “read” japanese only with the help of google, so books are very difficult.

    If I look at the bows I have here there are marked differences in construction. There are the ones with carbon insert, there are different core materials, there are different backings – plain, smoked or grilled… different curves and different section profiles.
    I have two bows here for example, both by young and eminently respectable Miyakonojo bow makers, both with a draw weight of about 19kg, both with an urazori of 19cm.
    One measures 27.5mmx16.5 at nigiri and is 22 x 13mm wide at hazu-kamuri-bushi.
    The other is 28.5mm x 16mm at nigiri and a staggering 27mm x 12mm at hazu-kamuri-bushi.
    There is a marked difference in weight, speed and in vibration.
    The thin bow has its quirks and has been a little volatile but nothing comes close to the light clean feel of it. By comparison the wide flat bow is really rattly and slow. For my taste it has too much mass and too little strength in the doh part.
    The modern flat bows usually have large sweeping curves. The stress on materials is limited by building them wide and flat so there is less stretching and compression back and front relative to width.
    The flat bows bend very evenly whereas bows with a strong doh area bend more at the tips – so they are faster and have less vibration – more risk of kubi-ore too, that is why bows are getting wider.

    Urazori is also shrinking for the same reason.
    I have one bow quite similar to my thin favorite bow. The maker was trained by the same person as the maker of the thin bow as it happens.
    Nigiri is about the same but overall it is a little heavier. Urazori is only about 11cm though.
    The resultant bow is about 18kg but is much slower and has more vibration.
    It feels very safe though and is unlikely to ever throw its string.

    One bow I got recently was a bit of a surprise. It was meant to be my new winter bow – 16kg nominal… turns out to be 20kg actual.
    Very nice bow though, a real tonic, 26.8mm x 17.3 at nigiri, 25×13 at the top. Yery nice strong doh part and good balance. The draw is hard to start with and then gets softer. It has a tiny quirk, which is that the narrowest point is at hime-zori-bushi (24mm) so what I’ll try and do might be to thin it overall to even that out. Progression is supposed to be down by .3 -.6mm per bushi.
    If I can loose a kilo of draw weight and sharpen the bow up a little in the process – get it to be 26.5mm down to 23.5 from nigiri to hazu-kamuri-bushi and still keep the balance, maybe move the crown of the tori-uchi up a touch… it might well become the new favorite.
    Either that or it will end up as Shibata-style walking sticks.
    The wide flat bow might then get whittled down to be the winter bow.
    I have little experience in the correcting of bows – especially the cutting and use of heat. I may give the new bow a chance to settle and wait for a time when an experienced teacher is at hand to help, …but I have a very strong urge to get the kisoge out right away and see if there isn’t a new favorite bow in there somewhere.
    Anyway,…

    Oh and Yes! hemp strings do feel nice – particularly when you tie them ; )
    I’ve finally thrown away my unbreakable Hikari string. It was looking really tatty but refusing to break. Every formal event and competition I’d remove it because it was “on its last legs” but it just kept going.
    Anyway, now I may try the Fuji and see if it does anything for the favorite bow.

    • Magic says:

      Hello Karamatsu / ceterum censeo;

      Apologies for replying to an ancient post!

      I was wondering if you could help me with a little clarification regarding the joints sequence in yumi. I have no access to bows other than mine, which is a fibre glass one and not made from real bamboo. My question is around the order / sequence of opened / closed joints on inside and outside faces of the bow. For reference there is a post here:

      http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/kuroken3147/58701746.html

      My Japanese is almost non-existent but this post covers interesting topic about how the natural zig-zag of bamboo pole is incorporated and utilized in yumi.
      Depending on the direction of the zig-zag (apologies for this terminology) the joint of the bamboo can be either opened (when the bamboo is bending away from you) or closed (when the bamboo bends towards you). It seems that this sequence is important when making a yumi bow, and joints (bushi) should be correctly “bending”.

      I did research online but the language is a barrier so the best I could come up with is this:

      (outside) 弭冠節 hazukamuri bushi – CLOSED
      (inside) 姫反節 himezori bushi – CLOSED
      (outside) 掛節 kake bushi – OPEN
      (inside) 上成節 uwa nari bushi – OPEN
      (outside) 鳥肩節 torikata bushi – CLOSED
      (inside) 目付節 metsuke bushi – CLOSED
      (outside) 足付節 ashitsuke bushi – OPEN
      (inside) 矢摺節 yazuri bushi – OPEN
      (outside) 手下節 teshita bushi – CLOSED
      (inside) 下成節 shitanari bushi – CLOSED
      (outside) 乙腰節 otokoshi bushi – OPEN
      (inside) 小反節 kozori bushi – OPEN
      (outside) 引掛節 hikkake bushi – CLOSED

      I would really appreciate any help in this matter; could you maybe peek at your take yumi and verify the right sequence, please? I’m trying to make a take yumi now and this is another little nuisance I’ve discovered in the yumi making process that seemed much less complicated…

      But this topic also helps to understand why the yumi is shaped asymmetrically, and where all the bends come from. It appears to me that there is no consensus on the reason / origin of the shape of the yumi between the authors that write books on Kyudo.

      Kind regards,
      Magic

      • karamatsu says:

        Sorry about the long delay in getting this posted. I was busy having the life crushed out of me by work. Well, not quite, but it felt like it! Thank you for the link. I never even thought to look at the joints to see if they were different. I always just imagined that bamboo grew more or less straight, rather than with a zig-zag! I don’t have my bow here at home but when I get to the dojo I will check and see if I can tell the difference. It must be interesting to make your own. Anyway I will post something when I’ve checked. It will probably be Tuesday. This weekend we have a shinsa so I’ll be working rather than shooting.

  8. karamatsu says:

    Wow, you are braver than I am, whittling down the bow. But I suppose with experience you learn what works and what doesn’t, plus you’re a craftsman, accustomed to working with the physical world. At this point in my economic life I couldn’t afford an error, and since I work in the imaginary world of software I’m not so comfortable with real materials. But maybe with time and instruction.

    I think I mentioned that some people here have been picking up quite usable takeyumi at second-hand shops and online auctions for just a few thousand yen. One of my dojo-mates, who just snagged his sho-dan last autumn, now has two. They needed work to get back into shape, and our teachers helped to recondition them, but at those prices it seems like a person could afford to tinker. Alas, just like used kimono, there is nothing in my size…

    Happy New Year!

  9. ceterum censeo says:

    And a very Happy New Year to you too : )

    Foolhardy probably more aptly describes me…

    You are lucky to be in a place where you can find used bows and stuff.
    I can imagine being tall is a bit of a problem though.

    “Whittling” sounds like there is a bit of bravado about it…
    Well, in truth having to do work on my bows does usually completely freak me out usually. I seriously lack in experience and I’d prefer not to have to but you rarely get one that really works and suits you.
    It’s a problem having to buy relying solely on pictures and descriptions…

    The woodwork part of adjusting a bow is quite straight forward in principle, but the bow is a natural thing and a person’s work. Someone made the thing using considerable skill and effort usually, so it is very difficult to judge what needs changing, what is capable of being changed or exactly how to do it. All the parts need to balance and work together.
    It is scary.
    The cost element you mentioned is part of it, then there is the fact I don’t feel I really understand how most bows work.
    I just have too little experience and no supply of cheap used bows to experiment on either.
    Our teachers sometimes bring over batches of rough, semi-finished bows (“fuji-banashi”, is that the term?) for people to learn on. A very good way to learn about care and repair and hopefully get a cheap usable bow in the process…

    Anyway, I’ll stop rambling about that… I have started “whittling” and so far all seems well… 20kg bow is down to about 18 and still looks ok…

    The whole point of my ramble was that there are marked differences in character and construction between bows. Given our climate here and the general unreliability of internet shopping and, not least, my particular attachment to “Things”… I am always looking for recommendations or advice on equipment.

    Anyway, hope you have had a good rest and I wish you good health and a fruitful year.

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