We got the chance to interview Pukichi-san, who will be performing at the Matsuri in Sydney on 10 December at Darling Habour. Below is an English translation of the Japanese interview.
Interviewer: Ryohei Fujita
Translator: Dalin Hamilton
Interviewer: Please describe what you do?
Pukichi-san: I travel the country playing the guitar. Kind of like a troubadour, which might be easier to understand, but then again, maybe not…
I: The acoustic guitar is a subset in the field of guitar. What is it?
P: In short, it is a genre of playing many songs with 1 guitar. As it does not have lyrics, there might be a number of people who have never heard the acoustic guitar before. It sounds like classical music, but with 1 guitar making you feel as if there is a band with a drummer, base, and vocalist. So I do play songs by bands. One of the best parts is people realizing that 1 guitar can play such various music.
I: Can you tell us about practicing basking (street music) in Australia?
P: I came to Australia with the intention to practice basking (street music) for two months. It was really fun but turned out not to be practice for Japan. Unlike Japan, police don’t yell at you and I feel a lot of people support you. I remember being impressed when passers by would say to me “That is cool” and give me a tip. So it has been awesome. And it isn’t just musicians as cities are filled with jugglers, artists and other performers.
I: What is your impression of Sydney?
P: Everyone is just so friendly. I am guaranteed to be asked “Give me one” by the person standing next to me at a red light when I am going home with my mountains of canned juice.
I: How did you come to be playing at the Matsuri in Sydney?
P: I came last year, but not to play. It looked fun and thought that I would like to play. After that I looked up the matsuri’s details and sent in my profile and music sample as required and got picked. I am super grateful.
I: What will you be playing at this year’s Matsuri and why? Or if you haven’t decided yet, what types of songs will you play?
P: I haven’t decided yet but will include songs that everyone knows and songs that get the crowd going. Towards the end I will, naturally, insert my original songs to aim for an inspiring stage performance.
I: What do you value as a guitarist?
P: I value the melody when I play. My motto is a saying by Eric Roche: Skill is there to make the song more musical. Also, keeping off the coffee before and after the performance is important…
I: What is your advise to aspiring guitarist who gave up guitar because of the F chord?
P: It is fine if you cannot play the F chord. As it is tough to practice things you cannot do, it might be a good idea to use your ingenuity and think of ways to play the song without the barre chord. In fact, because I am bad at playing the barre chord, I play in a way that avoids using it.
I: As a guitarist, what is Pukichi-san’s next step?
P: I would like to become a guitarist that can play live in many more places. For those who have heard me play, because I am open to playing anywhere, please let me know if you have a place you think I might be able to play.
I: Do you have anything to say to the Japanese volunteers at the Matsuri who are here as an international student or on a working holiday?
P: Thank you for what you are doing. It is great that through you people from Australia, Japan and other countries get to communicate. It might be small, but I am doing my part from the stage.
I: Briefly, what is a matsuri to you?
P: It is hard to briefly say, so I will express this on the stage on the day. I am looking forward to meeting everyone on the day!!