Some people may remember that I used to own a pretty beat up nagauta shamisen. After it sat in the corner for almost a year (due to the fact that I was busy with my senior year of college, and I had no money or instructor for lessons), I sold it. Now that I have time again, I have found an instructor who can teach me through Skype, and I purchased a nice used jiuta shamisen (on recommendation from the instructor). It has brand new synthetic skins, and while I know they won't sound as good as cat or dog skins, it won't suffer in the Memphis humidity.
It has all the basic items except for a bachi, so I ordered one of those as well. I am very excited that this time I will be able to actually learn versus just muddle around! The instructor is away until the 26th of this month, so that will give me time to have the items shipped. I hope to report back good things!