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April in Japan

From April 6-21 I will be teaching and performing in Japan on behalf of Tokyo Communication Arts, a private vocational college with campuses all over Japan. April is the beginning of the Japanese school year, so I'll be participating in opening ceremonies as well as conducting seminars at schools in Fukuoka (on the southern island of Kyushu), Osaka, Nagoya, Sendai, and Tokyo.

I first connected with TCA in the early '90s and traveled to Japan to teach and play dozens of times over the next decade. The Japanese music scene has changed a lot since my first visit, including moving away from Western-oriented rock and pop toward East Asian-centered dance music, but there has always been a strong appreciation for traditional American styles and since music education is still provided as part of regular school curriculum there are many highly skilled, talented young players. There are also some unexpected parallels between traditional Japanese music and blues; the last time I was there I heard a young guy playing an electric shamisen (a three-stringed instrument roughly like a fretless banjo that is played with a large ivory or plastic pick) that stylistically would have fit right in on a front porch in the Delta. 

I'll be carrying my laptop, of course, and since Japan is one of the most wired countries on earth I should be able to keep up with VE's pretty regularly while I'm there, but please forgive me if there's some travel-related time-lag now and then. Keep on keepin' on!

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