When I got to the shrine, Kudo and Yuki were already there. The three of us were led by the co-abbot, an Austrian man in his thirties, into a changing room in a brand new building on the shrine grounds. We spoke for a while in German about how he came to be here and what the shrine meant to the community, about how they stand on the side of religious flexibility and social innovation. Our butoh performance was a case in point.
In the dressing room, Kudo had to fastidiously lay down newspaper on the clean tatami before applying his body paint.
Meanwhile, I warmed up outside in order to try out the new Yamaha portable guitar amp with the Barcus Berry internal flute pickup. The Austrian abbot is setting up the lighting. Here's some footage without the amp switched on. Note that I'm playing in the midst of some bizarre juxtapositions. A helicopter directly overhead, sent no doubt by Stockhausen, is flutter-blading my Bach improv in the courtyard of a thousand year old Shinto shrine surrounded by high rises and endless rivers of traffic. That's modern Japan for you!
Now have a listen to the amp switched on. Of course, the change in sound – volume, timber, and directional acoustics – is dramatic, but what is most extraordinary for me playing in an outdoor space is the complete freedom of movement. I have it set on maximum reverb and chorus.