Craig Mod here, back — boom! — with a quick interlude of announcements.
Randomly: Just had a small piece land in The New York Times today, showcasing Morioka as one “Fifty-two places to visit in 2023.” They picked it as #2 (!!); getting lots of surprised / delighted messages and emails from friends / shops in Morioka — truly a fabulous little city, delighted to give it a little international attention.
January has been nothing but eternal sunshine, so of course the weather for next week is looking … gloomy. Ha ha! I’m just pining for few days of glorious golden light slanting across old Tokyo. Looking forward to this walk. Ran a quick five kilometers yesterday, and hiked about ten today. Getting these lazy legs in shape for some Big Tokyo Days. Picked up a new pair of the super ugly but very comfy New Balance Fresh Foam X Hierro v7s, too, to commemorate.
You can help spread the TOKIO TŌKYŌ TOKYO² word by sharing the link to the newsletter signup. Many thanks!
Open-ish edition of 100 (first lot, 18), signed, museum quality printing, blah blah blah. Yearly Members get $50 off. Trying to reduce the “preciousness” of each release, and thereby release prints more frequently. The process is onerous and time consuming (I do it all myself), but does provide a forcing function to get me to really look at a single image for an extended period of time, and in this way is useful. I’m also doing it to build up a physical archive of prints at home — storing them in paulownia wood boxes, making sure not everything is locked up in bits on memory cards and SSDs. This feels important.
I’m still drumming and still loving it, loving it more each day. I’ve been working through John Riley’s excellent The Art of Bop Drumming, doing 30-60 minutes a day just slowly going over the charts, focused on basic first principles of independence (or as he says, “interdependence”). It feels like a meditation. This is my first time reading sheet music (simple sheet music mind you) in … twenty-five years? Also fun. And fun to see the mind and body get better at it given just a little time each day. Wild to note: The thing I’m already missing just thinking about my TOKIO TŌKYŌ TOKYO² walk is the daily drumming.
I’ve also been plowing through a bunch of YouTube “lessons” from the very many excellent drum channels out there. Truly, what a time to be alive and learning things. Archetypes abound. Mimicry — arguably the quickest way to level up in language and music — is just there to be nabbed. Mimic away! My kit sits in my living room, facing the wall onto which I project films. And because it’s an electronic kit, I can turn the sound off and do sticking and foot interdependence exercises while I watch movies.
Having an instrument present in your life, physically imposing itself, and yet able to be played at any time of the day, for as long or as short as you want, is a wonderful thing. Obvious, I know, but I had forgotten just how wonderful it is. I do extended sessions, but also find myself playing for five minutes here, ten minutes there. It adds up.
Also of note: Feeling very much the interlinking of language here with drumming. A new phrase unlocks a new sticking pattern, unlocks a new bit of foot independence, organically finds its way into patterns as you play less structured forms. Same for language, grammar, new kanji.
Many thanks to everyone who wrote in in response to the Archetypes piece earlier in the week. Wow! Some amazing stories and letters. It feels tremendously “exposing” to write something like that and then to publish it (even at this relatively small publishing scale). Hopefully not too navel-gazing, hopefully useful to others to read / hear. Vulnerability is a tough thing to navigate. My goal is for it to not turn into a kind of trauma vomitorium, just spewing trauma all over because there is, certainly, a contemporary veneration of that — a veneration of pure trauma. The goal: minimum vomit, maximum analysis, extra-maximum tangible next steps.
Spend a few minutes watching a YouTube channel that inspires you to be better, to level up your foot precision, something you’ve been ignoring in your playing for, yes, some thirty years or more, but now that you see and hear it, can’t wait to clean up. You can do it, even while watching a bizarre new David Cronenberg film.