If asked what brought me to Japan, there are lots of answers as Japan culture is very diverse and interesting. But the main reason for me coming to Japan was and still is to learn Gagaku (雅楽). Starting about ten years ago with the first Gagaku concert of the Gagaku club of at the University of Cologne, now the Cologne Gagaku Club (ケルン雅楽会）, I went on studying the traditional Japanese music which is over 1000 years old .
To learn my instrument Hichiriki (篳篥） better, I decided to come to Japan in 2003 and study playing Gagaku in the land of origin. As tradition is very important for Japanese, there are lot of possibilities to do so in Osaka. Since 2005 I joined the student department of the Garyokai (雅亮会）, the Gagakurenshusho (雅楽練習所）, and I am enjoying Gagaku as much as ever, even thought it seems to get more and more difficult the more I advance. What I really like about Hichiriki is its relaxing tone. When I heard it first, it actually sounded rather strange to me.
About the history of Gagaku:
Gagaku has many origins – it seems to have come from the Asian neighbors to Japan mainly between about 600 and 800 a. D. The two main countries of origin where China and Korea, and the Gagaku(雅楽) repertoire used today is divided into these two groups called right and left dances, according to the side from which the dancers approach the stage. The dancing is called Bugaku(舞楽）. But Gagaku as it is played today is much younger – it is said that today’s repertoire and way of playing was formed in the Heian period （平安時代）when Gagaku(雅楽)became popular with the royal families in Kyoto and Nara. In the famous Stories of Genji (源氏物語), there are a lot of references to Gagaku, if one takes on the task to read it in the original form.
To learn more about Gagaku, try this page: www.gagaku.net
Or read the Wikipedia article: http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/雅楽
in English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gagaku
For further reading:The homepage of the Garyokai with lots of information in English also: http://www.garyokai.org/