I was admitted into the “Nakasi academy” – figuratively – last Sunday. The sound of a horn drifted across the pond reaching us visitors at the Longtan 龍潭 Temple in Taoyuan. I hurried across the bouncy suspended bridge to the other side of the pond to find a middle-aged, bearded man playing an alto saxophone to a karaoke track coming out a single-speaker PA system.
A musical cowboy, the bearded saxophonist was wearing a white straw cowboy hat decorated with eighth-note figures, treble clef, and other symbols of musical notation, and a pair of matching white-framed glasses. His indigo blue jeans, tugged into his shiny white ankle boots, were similarly adorned with music notational figures. He danced around a stage enclosed by waving flags. These are greeting flags made by the artist himself: “Welcome!”; “Come and dance!”; “Listen with joy; No worries; world peace.” The heavy afternoon shower quickly put a pause to the concert.
I asked to buy the homemade CD-Rs. Another man asked me if I wanted the shakuhachi or the saxophone CD-R. I said, “Both!”
“Here you go. I’m sure your parents would really enjoy these CD’s.” The man happily handed me both CD's and then explained that he’s the shakuhachi player on the recording. President Wu is the president of the Taiwan Shakuhachi Society and gave me his business card. He was surprised that I knew how to say shakuhachi in Japanese. He asked where I come from. I said that I’m Hakka and was visiting Longtan because this was where my grandparents grew up.
“How old is your father?” The musical cowboy asked.