Okinawa Tourism Information:Trya10-minuteSanshinLesson!“ASmallSanshinShopkinjo”(NahaCity)

Try a 10-minute Sanshin Lesson! “A Small Sanshin Shop kinjo” (Naha City)

post : 2018.04.04 18:00

“Haiwa Dori Street” stretches from Kokusai Street, and it is a good-old arcade that souvenir shops and clothing stores nestle up to one another. While I was walking here, I heard the sound of sanshin from nowhere. Actually, the sound came from “A Small Sanshin Shop kinjo.” If you entered Heiwa Dori Street from Kokusai Street, you can find the shop on the right side. It is sited right before the corner toward Makishi Public Market, and across from “Hanagasa Shokudo,” a restaurant with yellow sign.

As the name indicates, Okinawan music instruments including sanshin, sanba (Okinawan castanet), and paranku (small drum) are available at the shop. Also, you can buy kubagasa (Okinawan traditional hat), shisa figurine, and accessories here♪

“Anybody can take a 10-minute Sanshin Lesson for 500 yen.” This catchphrase gets tourists’ attention. 10 minutes lesson for only 500 yen! It cannot be happened anywhere but here, and anybody can feel free to take a lesson with reasonable price! By the way, an instructor is “a local elderly man.” I assumed his name is “Mr. Kinjo.” However, his real name is Nobuo Arakaki lol. Why he chose the name which is not his actual name? Anyway, let’s start a sanshin lesson. No reservation is required, and a wide range of people are welcomed to take the lesson. Anybody who are beginners, or people of any gender, age or race is all welcomed if you are interested in sanshin!

First, the lesson will start from the basic. Arakaki teaches how to hold sanshin, how to grab its neck, finger placement, and the way to strum strings with nail (on right index finger) with gestures kindly (2 min from the start). Next, while he was explaining about “Kunkunshi,” the musical score of sanshin, a participant tried to remember the finger placement and played sounds one by one. The participant got nervous at first, but she got used to it after playing it for few minutes (4 min). After she got used to playing sanshin, it is time to play a simple song.  Probably not instructors from other sanshin schools or workshop would let participants to play 1 song in such a short time lol

The song was a popular Japanese nursery rhyme “Tulip” instead of Okinawan folk song lol Arakaki showed how to play the song first, and the participant confirmed the finger placement of each sound. After repeating it for few times, she kept playing until the end of the song (6 or 7 min). After getting used playing the song, she did not expected to learn the second song lol The next song was “Shimanchu nu Takara” by BEGIN (10 min). Even if fingers are still clumsy, anybody can play songs very good by following the basic and playing each sound carefully♪ Finally, she got the time to practice on her own, got advice from the instructor, and the lesson was over (13 min. The lesson did not finish exactly on time lol). This is how the lesson goes. Beginners will be able to strum tunes in 10 minutes, and some of them can play songs quite well. Doesn't it sound amazing? 

“Anybody can play sanshin as long as they remember the finger placement.” Arakaki told me with smile. “The key to get better is to remember songs first. You go to karaoke, don’t you? You sing your favorite songs many times to remember them, right? That’s the same thing. First, remember the rhythm with body. Sanshin is for accompaniment, so the skill comes after that. Even if you can’t make a sound well, that’s fine. You can improve your skill quickly after learning songs and playing them.” 

The shop is about 1-minute walk from Kokusai Street, and you can stop by here even on rainy days and hot summer days to avoid UV. Not only the location, but also the lesson fee is good. It is a very reasonable price (500 yen) and you can talk to Arakaki casually (10 min) during the lesson. No wonder many customers come to take lesson here throughout the year. But the main reason why they come here might be Arakaki's personality.

Finally, I was able to ask Arakaki why he named his shop as “kinjo” even though it was not his actual last name. “It is because ‘Kinjo (=金城)’ can be translated as golden (金) and castle (城) literally in English. To pray for my success in business, I named my shop as ‘kinjo’ which derives from golden castle.” He laughed very hard and told me the reason. The way his wife looked over him with kind eyes was also impressive. 

You can be satisfied with 10-minute of lesson by paying 500 yen! Why don’t you try playing sanshin when you stop by at Kokusai Street or Makishi Public Market? 

A Small Sanshin Shop kinjo
Address: 3-1-24 Makishi, Naha City
Tel: 098-862-9462
Business Hours: 10:00-19:00
Closed: open throughout the year
Fee: 500 yen / 10 minutes (tax included) *No reservation required.
Parking: no (toll parking lots are located near Kokusai Street and Makishi Public Market) 

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Kiwamu Ogawa (Qey Word)