I am not alone!

Today when the students saw my bandaged hands they were all very concerned. Turns out more than one of them had the same thing happen to them when they moved to Matsumoto (although I think they saw a doctor sooner and so it wasn't as bad) and knew exactly what I was going through.

The eczema is better today, far from 100% but I can at least walk like a semi-normal person (no quips from the peanut gallery, please!) Today at the hospital we asked the nurse to leave the tips of my fingers open so that I could try to play, which I'm mildly successful with. So, Mr. Takahashi has deemed be capable to have a lesson tomorrow! I may be able to finish Book 12 with him after all. (He pointed to my hands at lunch today with some other Suzuki flute teachers and said "Melancholic Fantasy impossible," but I was able to play through it today and it doesn't seem to be too worse for wear. (side note: this goes to show that if you prepare really well, even if you have to take time off you'll be back in shape in no time! (side note2: yes, parentheses within parentheses)) Although sometimes my bandages got stuck in the keys and wouldn't seal the holes all the way. I also managed to get through the Hüe without unraveling literally or figuratively.)

BTW, the cost for my follow-up visit at the hospital with state-of-the-art facilities? 861 yen (less than $9 US)

Following our appointment at the hospital, I had the opportunity to join in a workshop Mr. T does twice a month for Suzuki flute teachers from the area. It was great to experience him teaching a group of flutists and to see what he chose to work on (up until now, I've just seen him in a classroom situation or, obviously, private lessons). Two of them joined us for soba noodles (what else?!?) and I was pleased to be able to show them the trick David taught me for helping kids who've just gotten braces by putting masking tape on the lip-plate (turns out the sign-language for braces is universal!)

After practicing a bit I went into the student lounge where I met the bounciest person I've seen in Matsumoto so far. He's a double bass player and seems to have a great sense of humor - I bet he makes an excellent teacher. Despite feigning offence when I said that Matsumoto must just be a terrible place if it gives everyone who comes here eczema (he was born here) he turned out to be extremely helpful. I told the students that I wasn't entirely confident that I had gotten the folksongs I needed from my previous trip to the sheet music store. The bassist works at a different music shop so he took me there and translated for me and even let me use his discount! It was quite a little mini-adventure careening down these tiny streets in a huge bassist's-car (okay, not that the bassist was huge, but their cars have to be big.) The whole errand took less than 20 minutes, but it was refreshing to meet such an exuberant personality and have a whirlwind tour of some of the back-streets of Matumoto!

Tomorrow I will get to observe Mr. T teaching a brand-new beginner (a piano student who wants to start). And the countdown will continue to Kyoto!

(FYI: pic is of caricatures of the various instructors here at the Institute that are hanging on the side of a locker in the student lounge. I believe the top one is Dr. Suzuki himself, and the second from the top is Mr. Toyoda, the current president. I am reasonably sure Mr. T is fourth from the top, and the one on the bottom also bears a striking resemblance to him.)