New friends I met at a dinner party a week ago in Kyoto invited me to their home for an introduction to guitar and dinner this evening.

Hands on with a Real Guitar
The soon to be groom of this couple is an accomplished guitar player and has been playing for 10 years. He allowed me to play his Martin Acoustic and G&L Electric before his fiancee got home from work and joined us for dinner. We had a tasty meal in their home after the painful guitar session.

My First Chords
I was shown 4 chords: E, A, B7, and B, all of which I am likely to forget soon without a guitar to practice them on. The main thing I took away from this ‘introduction to guitar’ evening is that guitar playing is a physical challenge.

Guitar Athlete
As much as playing the guitar is a musical and skill challenge, it is indeed clearly an athletic challenge. To achieve my goals, I now understand that in many respects learning to play guitar is going to be like learning any other physically challenging activity.

I must embrace the physical nature of this pursuit and think of it as a mountain to climb not only for the summit, but more for the simple pleasures and satisfaction that come from the journey.

The Good Stuff
I suspect that as much as I may want to become a capable and highly proficient guitar player, many years from now, some of my fondest memories of my guitar journey are still going to be these times now when I was struggling to play just a few chords.

I am sure the best guitarists in the world still consider learning and progressing to be the best part of being a guitar player. They are athlete musicians always trying to improve and it is why they are so good.

There may never be a more concentrated period of learning and knowledge absorption in my guitar journey than this very moment.

Right now as an absolute beginner, my guitar journey is likely as good as it is ever going to get.

I really like that thought, because I can identify the same truth from other challenging activities I have pursued in life. Upon reaching the initially imagined goals, I found it was the journey I cherished, not the act of standing on the target.

Japanese Word of the Day
Itai (いたい) – pronounced ‘ee’ as in eek and ‘tie’ as in necktie. 
It means ‘ouch’ or ‘it hurts’.

I will confess I wailed, “Itai!” more than a couple of times tonight as I attempted to maneuver and hold my fingers in position for painful and often unsuccessful attempts to create chords.

I even felt a new song titled Itai trying to flow from within. My left hand fingertips are unnaturally pink and unpleasantly tender as I type this entry.

At first I regretted that I did not record my first weak efforts to play some chords this evening with my little portable audio recorder I carry around with me at all times. I was caught up in the moment, enjoying my visit and to be honest, I completely forgot about this little website and my guitar ‘goals’ for a while. But that is not such a bad thing.

I will record a few of my early unskilled efforts soon enough.

Thank you Koichi for this great start on my guitar playing journey!

-Kin’en

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