I found out today the ukulele is also known as the ‘bonsai’ guitar, and try as I might, I cannot find a single reference to how the term came about. Is it called ‘bonsai’ because it’s tiny and a cousin to the guitar family?

Or is it ‘bonsai’ because the act of owning/playing one incites a passion for spontaneous music? Like the act of shouting “BONSAI!” as one leaps out of a plane, does the uke drive one to create random acts of musicality?

Personally, I am in favor of the latter, as I think spontaneous musicality is wonderful. For example, when I had my first high-school job as a carry-out clerk in a grocery store, I had  a lady come up and ask me if we had any bananas. Like the dutiful worker I was, I went in search of the answer — as it turned out, we were completely banana-less until freight day. When I returned, I couldn’t help but perform a little dance while singing the song “Yes, We Have No Bananas” for the customer. She was amused (I think), and I would imagine I gave her a moment to remember for years to come (“Let me tell you about the time that weird little grocery clerk sang a song about bananas for me…”).

If I am indeed in for an increased percentage of spontaneous musical moments, I’ll relish it. We all need a little more music, a little more frivolity in our day-to-day lives.

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7 thoughts on ““Bonsai!!!”

  1. That is so GRAND!!!
    I am all for spontaneity, crazy fun, and being truly who we want to be.
    Plus owning a uke is just SO fun, because of how it surprises people. I bring it to jams in its little gig bag, and everyone says, “oh you play fiddle or violin? cool.” Then I get to whip out with, “Oh no–its a tenor ukulele. so there.” And they are surprised, impressed, confused, and engaged.
    So here is to doing the unexpected, and reveling in it!!

    1. 😀 Life is just so much better when you have fun being yourself, isn’t it? Plus, it’s just plain fun surprising people. No status quo for me, thank you! Hee! 🙂

      So, my uke is supposed to arrive today… I’m planning on pouncing on the UPS guy when he shows up. :P Muah hahaha!

      1. In English they are, anyway. Japanese usage is probably different but I’m not versed in the proper Japanese usages, so if you want more data on that you’d want to Google for it! But yeah. 🙂

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