Peter Grooves on Japan

Peter Tork

Peter’s pretty well-traveled. He’s up on a lot of languages, especially French, and he knows about many places. The United States is familiar to him, from New York to Los Angeles, and he’s been to England and France on tour. Also, he’s been studying like crazy many Eastern ways of life. But he still wants to keep on moving and seeing the world, learning about all kinds of people.

“I’d love to go to England and France again. Of course, when I go back to France, it won’t be as easy because the Monkees show has just been sold over there and I won’t be able to walk around unrecognized like I could the first time.

“As far as languages go, besides French, I used to speak German. I learned a little Spanish when I was in Venezuela. My father was working in Caracas for a year and I was there with my family for six weeks right in the middle of my beatnik period.

“One place I’d really like to go is Persia. Now, the Indian style of thing is for a ‘guru’, or teacher, to gather his students around him. He sits cross-legged and teaches and they sit cross-legged and listen.

“But in Persia I’ve been told that you have what’s called a ‘Sufi’ which means a brother. These cats are also very hip and very aware. If you go to them and say ‘Listen, we want to gather around and have you just teach us your ideas,’ he’ll say ‘Beat it. If you want to watch me, you go stand a good distance off and watch me but don’t get in my way. I have my own life to lead’.”

All these places are very fascinating to Peter, but there’s one place that he wants to visit more than any other and that’s Japan.

Peter Tork

“I think there’s something incredible happening in Japan today. It’s about the Japanese spirit and it doesn’t pertain to recent history. The last hundred years don’t count. But before that, the spirit was very evident. And again, just now, I think the spirit is coming to the fore.

“The Japanese are very simple, you know. Some people are now looking to India in their search for enlightenment because they think they can pick up a lot of help there. But I think the Indian way of life is a little too cluttered for my way of thinking.

“Of course I do enjoy Ravi Shankar’s Indian music but that’s because he’s a genius. He’s spent his lifetime just to involve me in his music and I’m very happy to let him do that. I dig involving myself in his music because it’s truly enlightening to hear.

“But the Japanese spirit and religious concept is much simpler than the Indian. They believe that awakening will come to you in a single second. It’ll just come to you in this great big flash, where it’s all at. It’s called the Doctrine of Sudden Enlightenment.

Peter Tork

“I’m now learning to speak Japanese from the Berlitz Japanese teacher. In the Berlitz school you’re only supposed to speak the language you’re learning, but sometimes we talk in English too. Some of the words I’ve learned are ‘empitzu’ which means ‘pencil,’ ‘Ohaio’ which means ‘Hello’ or ‘Hi’ and ‘Nihongo’ which means the Japanese language itself.

“When I go to Japan I’d like to go to Kyoto most of all. Kyoto is the former capital of Japan and it’s the center of the Zen Buddhists. Zen Buddhist temples are all over the place and I’d like to go there just to pick up on the vibrations.”

Without a doubt, Peter will make it to Japan before too long, because when he sets his mind to do something, it gets done. And after he gets there, the country will never be the same. Wherever Peter goes, he learns from the people he meets and the things he sees. But everyone who meets Peter always learns from him too! You can’t help it because he’s a super-fascinating person chock full of super-fascinating ideas!

Magazine: Monkee Spectacular
Editor: Ralph Benner
Volume: 1
Issue: 11
Publisher: Laufer Publishing Co.
Pages: 30–31