Bob Harris, Vancouver, BC

And nature painted its canvas to reveal a land of divine spirit, subtle beauty, and great kindness. Domo arigatou, Nihon!

jerry lopez, florida, USA

An enormously rich and life-changing experience of learning and discovery.

Kate Novykova, Coquitlam, BC

I am so glad I was able to visit Japan this year and YOU made this trip so wonderful, special, and outstanding. You draw me back into Shakuhachi and it was a lot easier to dive into it during out intense Root Pilgrimage to the Shakuhachi Motherland. It was an amazing journey, with all those things happening around us on their own. It was so enjoyable to hear you play live every day and to let the sound of Shakuhachi carry me away. I miss that feeling of “empty head”. I miss your music. I miss our magnificent group. I miss taking bath every night with the girls. But my memory is full now and I can re-visit all those events in The Phase if I become desperate. Hope to see you more often from now on. Many thanks for the Trip! Truthfully yours, Bambooshka

Christopher Bernetchez, Gibsons, BC

My experience of our journey to Japan deepens more and more as each day passes. You enabled us Pilgrims to touch the ancient of this Life here on Earth. I am in deep awe of your work that you put into this Pilgrimage; it’s creation first of all and the moment to moment, daily guidance and direction. Words cannot describe my gratitude and appreciation. Thank you forever and ever…Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu.

Urs & Ursula Riesen, Bern, Switzerland

wir bedanken uns noch einmal von Herzen für die cshöne Zeit mit dir in Japan! Die vielen Workshops waren für uns eine Bereicherung ein wichtiger Einstieg in die Welt der Shakuhachi. Leider war die Zeit mit dir und der ganzen Gruppe viel zu schnell vorbei, wir hätten noch lange zusammen weiterreisen können…diese Zeit wird uns noch lange in guter Erinnerung bleiben, besonders auch deshalb, weil wir dank dir alle neue Freunde gefunden haben! Wir wünschen dir alles Gute im neuen Jahr, viel Glück und Zufriedenheit!

Lauren Rubin, Los Angeles, CA

Al, thank you so much for putting together such an incredible trip to Japan. It was a once in a lifetime experience and one I will always treasure. I am so grateful you are my teacher and I look forward to many more years of wonderful shakuhachi experiences with you.

Robert Brevoort, Keizer, OR

Thank you for for leading us on a journey that transcends description. It filled me with a broad range of inner and outer, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences. WOW!! I have no words to adequately describe my gratitude to you for this experience. And the best gift of all is the birth within me of a new and vital shakuhachi spirit. ICHI ON JOBUTSU!

Eric & Amalia, Barcelona, Spain

Thank yous are not enough of a way to express our appreciation for our Shakuhachi Roots Pilgrimage. Each day now we reflect back on how this pilgrimage has changed our lives from appreciating more deeply traditional customs, aesthetics, cuisine, spiritual traditions and so many more aspects of Shakuhachi to a whole new family and friends both as fellow travelers and people we have met in Japan. Arigatou Gozaimasu!

Koji Matsunobu, Saga, Japan

I truly thank you for this great opportunity and fantastic encounters. Lo and behold, I found so many things about Japan and the people here which I did not notice before. With Canadian perspectives, things looked fresh and people appeared differently (in the most positive way). I personally learned so many things from spirited bamboo lovers. The trip was sometimes intensive and demanding (only physically) but the reward was tremendous. I truly believe that the trip deserves being called pilgrimage as we went through some deep spiritual moments. I was certain that my wonderful experiences had largely been prepared by you and based on your efforts in the previous years. The people in BC are very fortunate to have a teacher like you (and I would say you are lucky, too, to have such wonderful folks in BC!)

Richard, Arivaca, AZ

Thank you for calling me forward and leading me through a profoundly important journey. You are a brave warrior for the beauty of life. It is an honour to know you.


Peter Smith (6th time on)

Once again Al did a great job in organizing the trip and helping everything run smoothly. The trip was great because it was both “off the beaten track” and ‘behind closed doors’. In fact it attracted my wife and my mother to join me–both not shakuhachi students. We had lots of shakuhachi music training and exposure, and got to experience some of the hidden wonders of Japan. My playing has improved since the trip, and I am looking forward to making flutes from the bamboo that I harvested myself. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

Matheus Fereirra, Sao Paulo, Brazil

The Shakuhachi Roots Pilgrimage is a journey never to be forgotten. It is a journey through Japan that cannot be seen by common tourists, because shakuhachi opened a lot of doors for us in many holy places. A unique opportunity to experience all styles of the shakuhachi world and meet many Master players that will expand your awareness about your-Self and the possibilities of shakuhachi as a deep spiritual practice. I am changed for life !!!!

Oliver Henry, Boulder, CO, USA

Intense and wonderful, a great opportunity to see Japan in a way most people never do. To be warmly welcomed into the homes of some of the finest shakuhachi makers and players was a rare treat. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested in expanding their experience of the shakuhachi, as well as to people interested in the spiritual side of Japanese culture.

Darren Stone, Vancouver, Canada

It was an absolutely fantastic journey, passionately planned and lead by Alcvin.

Jean Mihell, Victoria, BC, Canada

On this exciting and educational journey, I experienced life in modern day Japan and shared in some of their ancient traditions.

Ronan Nanning, Vancouver, Canada

My shakuhachi lessons were supurb!! Shrines were fantastic! Temple was phenomenal! Shopping was great!….Everything was so out of this world beautiful. I can’t wait to get back home, to Japan.

Paris Smith, Vancouver, Canada

Wonderful Adventure!

John Paul Sicotte (3rd time on)

Awesome trip, Al. SUGOI!

Jane Kilthau (6th time on)

We may have jokingly called Bamboo Roots 3 “x-treme shakuhachi”, but it did give us a lingering high. As the veteran of the three tours, I can attest to the fact that this is a true pilgrimage in the spiritual sense. Experiences with beliefs and practices of Shinto as well as Zen, Jodo Shu, and Shingon Buddhism complemented our flute activities. Bamboo digging in the forest and playing in the company of welcoming Japanese friends is inspirational.