Thursday, July 28, 2011

What will Shunya Susuki think of next?


I learned recently that my friend Shunya Susuki had bought a “cheap” violin on Net auction. He plans to teach himself to play the musical instrument “although they say it will be difficult to do so”.

The purchase is a fulfilment of a dream that dates back to his days at Kyushu University when he wanted to be a violinist, among other aspirations.

But a cello player, his senior at the university, had told him that a violin was “too expensive to buy” and Susuki gave up his musical ambition until recently.

Some may think that Susuki, at 57, is being very ambitious but they don’t know the multi-talented Japanese architect, urban planner, inventor and educator. He sees life as a voyage of discovery: creating a robot, designing green cars and sculpting are among his many artistic pursuits.

So learning to play the violin is one more path to personal gratification and development. According to wikiHow, “the road to learning the violin is a long one” and it takes lots of discipline to “practice difficult technique every day”. Yet I believe that the father of two would be able to make beautiful music with his violin and bow as a result of hours of study and practice. It takes time and patience to do one thing well, a concept Susuki understands perfectly.

 
I met Susuki in 2007 at the Asian Cities Journalists' Conference in Fukuoka City, Japan but I only became aware of his diverse and wide-ranging interests the following year when he told me about his website.
 
Here was a man worth writing about, I thought. The journalist in me could not resist a good story and the collaboration produced several articles.
 

I count Susuki among those who inspire me. Individuals like him encourage me to think that anything is possible. 


His dedication to his projects is extraordinary. I believe when he is in the zone, creating is the most satisfying thing in the world. Obstacles are only temporary setbacks; the challenge is in overcoming them and that gives him great pleasure. Susuki is a man of few words but he is ever willing to talk about his passion for innovation and invention. What will he think of next?

Susuki with his creation: the Jang Geum Robot. Picture by Maki Inoue. 


For more on Shunya Susuki and his creations especially the Jang Geum Robot, click here: The Creative Impulse (Cover, H2 and H3).

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