Junji Koyama is not your typical vlogger or Internet star. Posting videos under YouTube username heita3, Koyama has garnered a cult following in his native Japan and abroad. His day job? School teacher. Night job? Making instruments out of fruits and vegetables and playing them.
Not a typical claim to fame, Koyama first began creating his unique instruments out of pure interest in music. In a video interview, he claims that he had “limited musical talent” but had always romanticized the idea of becoming a musician. His pursuits of vegetable instrument-making began with a radish flute, and the rest was history.
His videos have received upwards of a couple thousand views, and the instruments’ creator has also been invited to guest star on television programs in numerous countries.
We at Spoon always love someone with a sense of quirk and innovation, and Koyama’s videos definitely venture into the realm of the weird (in a good way). Here are a couple of our favorites from the musician’s repertoire.
Note: Koyama’s videos are in Japanese, so be sure to follow along with the subtitles on the bottom of all of his videos.
1. The Celery Nose Flute
It takes a large pair of lungs to play a normal flute, so we’re assuming that it takes a big nose to play a celery nose flute…? In this video, Koyoma plays “Lightly Row,” a traditional German lullaby that is often played by novice violinists. For most of this video, we have a hard time deciding whether the musician is playing his veggie flute or trying to force a foreign object out of his nose.
2. The Cabbage Slide Flute
Now, this is where Koyama let us down a bit. We were slightly disappointed by this performance–it was pitchy and not too great on the ears. The cabbage seemed too large and cumbersome to be taken seriously as a member of Koyama’s vegetable orchestra. We give it an A+ for creativity but low marks for sound quality and agreeableness to our ears.
3. The Cucumber Trumpet
More of an ambitious venture, Koyama’s cucumber trumpet features a carrot mouthpiece and, fittingly, a bell pepper bell (the portion at the end of the instrument). His rendition of the classic “March of Bees” is heartfelt and soulful, just as you would expect from someone playing a trumpet made of vegetables.
4. The Banana Ocarina
An ocarina is a small wind instrument that fits in the palm of the musician’s hand and has several finger holes. Koyama’s version is a modified four-hole instrument. We’re amazed by how the musician is able to create both low and high-pitched notes from such a simple hand flute. He has also created ocarinas out of carrots, broccoli and apples.