Hi, Is there an alternative to the Washi Fukuro that that I could use? Knowing what the postage to New Zealand from Japan is like I am looking for an alternative that might be easier got get.
I have easy access to one of these so I might give it a go.
I think a light grade of humidity once in a while wouldn't be too bad for the instrument. If you look at countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, which tend to have a high grade in humidity, their skinned instruments still do sound great.
I know that the Hmong people use small bags filled with dried rice to keep off exceas moisture.
Sure, the skin has to be dry, but I think depriving it of all moisture might cause cracks and easy breaking. (Because of that moroccan Berber use shea butter, to prevent the skin on drums from drying, but since water is lipophobic it might keep off moisture too)
For the use of silica gel I would say be cautious. Silica absorbs a lot of moisture in short periods of time, so I don't know if it might damage the shamisen.
For re-use you can heat up your oven to 275F and put about 20-40 ounces into a casserole form. It would take about 1 - 1¹/² hours to dry out completely.