I met Masa Inokuchi when I was just a toddler. His family and mine were friends, and we dined often at his wife’s Japanese restaurant on the Danforth, called Shoko Soba. Little did I know, at the age of 4, that Mr. Inokuchi would play such a huge role in my most formative and educational childhood years.
At one point in my life (between the ages of 9 and 12), I was considered by many to be a violin prodigy. Really though, it was the forced 5+ hours a day of practicing for fear of my mother’s and father’s [strong] hands that made me as good as I was, winning a ton of competitions, and even receiving the highest violin score of any age group at the national finals of the Canadian Music Competition when I was 11. It was with Masa Inokuchi’s 3/4-size violin in my hands throughout those years that allowed me to produce the sound I once could.
In my early teens, I had had enough of the strict practicing, day in, day out, and I abandoned the violin forever. It had been over 18 years since I last saw or spoke to the Inokuchis before filming this small piece on the two Saturdays of October 27th and November 3rd 2012.
On November 3rd, I interviewed Masa for almost 2 hours (just 6 minutes of which are in the video above). I vividly remember though, that after just about 10 minutes into the interview, a feeling of shame [in myself] came over me. It felt so strange, and I couldn’t pinpoint why at the time. Now, as I wait for the video to upload (152:34 minutes remaining as of now), I’ve started to understand why.
The shame I felt was from knowing, that never, in my entire life, will I ever dedicate my life to something–anything–the way that Masa Inokuchi has. It’s a beautiful and moving thing, and I think that the shame turned into almost… jealousy. Jealousy in knowing that only a life dedicated to the perfection of one craft, could yield a sense of fulfillment that Mr. Inokuchi has experienced.
Their family’s story truly is a beautiful one. It’s a distinctly Canadian story as rich, deep, and as worthy as all of those random ‘Heritage Minutes’ that used to interrupt Saturday morning cartoons. In case you missed it, it’s a story celebrating Canadian diversity, small Canadian business using Canadian natural resources, and enjoyed the world over.
The relationships that Mr. Inokuchi has developed over the years are plentiful and admirable. But none compare to the family he still shares experiences with every day–his adorably beautiful wife, Mrs. Shoko Inokuchi, their three children, Miki, Mika, and Mio, their grandchildren, and a 2 year old great-grandchild (one of the main reasons for having the train in the workshop), are a beautiful testament to a life fulfilled, and continuing every day.
I’m going to end it here, and provide the technical details below.
To learn more about the Inokuchi & Son Violin story, visit their website at inokuchiviolin.com
Thank you for watching, and please help me with comments on how the shooting, editing, and any component of this piece could and should be improved.
Canon EOS 60D, and a Canon EOS T2i (550D)
Tokina 11-16mm F2.8, Canon 35mm F1.4, Canon 50mm F1.4, Canon 135mm F2.0
Rode VideoMic, Zoom H1 (with wired Sony lav), Zoom H4n (built in stereo mics)
Manfrotto (older sticks) with 501 Fluid Head, Manfrotto BHDV561-1 Video Monopod, Kanovo 100cm Slider
Song 1: ‘Second Degree’ by Moulann at moulann.com
Song 2: ‘Acoustic 2’ by Jason Shaw at audionautix.com
Song 3: ‘Night Lights’ by Todd Petersen at premiumbeat.com