I'm a guy who detests consumerism and materialism of the culture we live in. But one thing I'm glad that I acquired recently is definitely the Sanshin. I was actually debating myself whether to get the Sanshin or the Shamisen. I loved the sound of Shamisen which I listened to over the niconico video, so I wanted to get the Shamisen at first. However with much research, I found out that I'd probably need Shamisen specialists near by, who would be able to fix the instruments in case of damages over the course of time, especially on the leather parts of the body. And since I don't think there are much of Asian community near by where I live, I was very doubtful of finding such a specialist to fix a particular instrument like Shamisen. With that notion and how the humidity level changes drastically as well as the temperature in Michigan, I wasn't too comfortable importing such a sensitive instrument that cost at least a half grand, even for entry level instrument for beginners.
Also, by doing research on the Shamisen, I learned the root of the instrument and how it evolved over time. From Sanxian of Chinese lute instrument, to Sanshin in Ryukyu Kingdom (Current Okinawa) then to Shamisen in mainland Japan. Sanxian was a bit too long in size, I thought. Not to mention, it was much harder to find varieties of Sanxian that I would be able to compare them that were willing to ship to overseas. Sanshin had more diversified sellers to choose from and was a bit smaller in size, which I like as I travel quite often for board meetings and such.
Also, the entry level Sanshin was a bit cheaper, bit more affordable to go by. But not only that, the ease of customization of the Sanshin was definitely a catch for me! I suppose, you could customize shamisen with different "Doukake" and the cap for ten (head).
Anyways, my imported sanshin came with regular black and gold body wrap (tiiger:ティーガー). So, I ordered just the body wrap separately. I wondered, if I should get one with white dragon with blue clouds (looks awesome!!) or go with simple basic design with the family crest of Ryukyuan kingdom of the past. I was kind of hoping that I might see some designs that would have hawks in it in a navy blue background, since I love the Seattle Seahawks, but couldn't find anything that had hawks, so I ended up getting the blue and gold simple design ones from my favorite store for sanshin. It's still awesome and the store I bought it from gave me through and through instructions on how to tie the body wrap around the instrument. Rakuten Store called Okinawa2 (Wonderful Okinawa) had definitely became my favorite place to import Sanshin related goods!
三線用 胴巻き（ティーガー）左御紋 金襴 青
胴巻き ティーガー 三線 B-3