Blog and Book Reviews

ナニカアル  桐野夏生 新潮社  10/19/14

October 19, 2014


Third at First Concert series 10/20/14

October 19, 2014

We started the new concert series “Third at First” at FUMC Pasadena, California. As you see from the naming each concert will be presented every month on the Third Saturday at 4pm at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena, except March and May. We had the first concert performed by an exceptional organist, Ty Woodward on October 18. His organ playing was an eye-opening to us. His tone was so colorful, imaginative, and creative! I will be on the next concert, Saturday November 15 at 4pm. The theme will be “Clara Schumann and her contribution in 19th Century Music” and the program will include Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet (Jin-Shan Dai and Johnny Lee, violins, Michael Larco, viola, and David Garrett, cello), Robert Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for cello and piano, Mendelssohn’s Cello Sonata, and Clara’s solo piano work “Scherzo”. Clara Schumann is my ongoing project, and I am so excited to play this concert. Please go to the below site for the details of this new concert series. (My solo recital at Occidental College on the same theme will be on Monday November 10 at 12:45pm in Bird Studio.) Please come to the concerts!


2014 October Our New Concert series "Third at First"! Please go to my blogs.






LA Phil 2014-15 Opening Concert 10/6/2014

October 6, 2014

I truly enjoyed this concert! The program included David Lang: Man Made and Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5, and this programming was an excellent choice to start a new season. “Man Made”, a percussion concerto written for So Percussion (4 percussionists group), is a co-commissioned work and Thursday night was its U. S. Premiere. “Man Made” is so creative, artistic, visually attractive, dramatic, and fun! To me the effect is a new style of minimalist. The conversation between an orchestra and 4 percussion is the key to bring the intention and drama. They echo each other and create the special atmosphere. I was so involved! And I could feel the entire audience was involved too. During the intermission we chatted over this new work, of course! Then here comes Mahler 5! From the moment the trumpet plays 4 notes to the end this more than 70 minutes symphony give us the reason why we like ORCHESTRA, an amazing solo playing in brass section, lyrical string sound in a slow movement.. you name it. One thing I never thought about this piece was that I somehow could hear the relation to Kurt Weill’s music. I started to hear Weill-ish melody and atmosphere in this symphony, and for a little while I could not get away from it. I guess I need to do some research on it! This program is so inviting to the audience to come back to Disney.

A Movie “A Most Wanted Man”

September 28, 2014

This is the last movie Philip Seymour Hoffman was involved before he died with the drug overdose. As always his acting is amazing, but the story is too difficult to believe. It is a great thriller. And I simply could not miss his last movie!

9月場所 大相撲の楽しさ、満喫!

September 28, 2014


NHK達人達 竹内洋岳 篠宮龍三 インタビュー

September 28, 2014


幸せのバランス   9/14/14

September 15, 2014



A Movie ‘Philomena” 9/14/14

September 14, 2014

A movie “Philomena” is based on the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by journalist Martin Sixsmith, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. It tells the true story of Philomena (Dench), 50-year-long search for her forcefully adopted son, and Sixsmith’s (Coogan) effort to help her find him. The movie follows the sad story/history of adoptions. Philomena became pregnant with a man she met at the fair, and was sent to Sean Ross Abbey in Ireland. After giving birth (without much of medical treatment and facility), she was forced to work in the convent laundry, seven days a week, for four years to pay off the cost of her stay. There were many young ladies at the Abbey. One day she discovered that the nuns had given her son to an American couple for adoption, without warning or a chance for Philomena to say goodbye. That was customary at this abbey. Philomena kept her lost son a secret from her family for fifty years, but she visited the convent periodically to try to find him. The nuns repeatedly told her that they were unable to help her which was a total lie. Martin and Philomena begin their search at the convent.  They present her with a contract she was forced to sign, forbidding her from contacting her son again, which Martin considers to be too convenient for the Abbey. Later at the nearby pub, the locals tell Martin that the convent deliberately destroyed the records in a bonfire, and that most of the children were sold for £1,000 each to rich Americans. This Abby’s secret is one of the high points of this movie. Eventually Sixsmith and Philomena found her adopted son, Anthony then named Michael by his adopted parents, dead by AIDS. He was gay. Michael grew up to be a lawyer and senior official in the Reagan and Bush administrations. Through his lover they learned Michael had privately wondered about his birth mother all his life, and, in his final months, had travelled to Ireland in an attempt to find her. This movie gives us many controversial questions. I strongly recommend Philomena!


A Movie “Heaven is for Real” 9/14/14

September 14, 2014

This movie is based on the book (the same name) written by Pastor Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, and directed by Christopher Parker. It has great casting and it is definitely a “feeling good” movie!

Four-year-old Colton Burpo, the son of Pastor Todd Burpo, tells his dad about his story in heaven during his death threaten emergency surgery.  He tells very detailed story, having looked down to see the doctor operating, his mother calling people to pray in the waiting room, and his father in another room talking and yelling at God and etc. Also he tells he met his great-grandfather and his second sister who died before being born. The parents did not tell about these people to Colton yet. Colton has been taught many Christian stories, and it could have been one of stories he has heard before (as a son of the pastor he grew up listening his dad’s preaching and mom reading bible stories), or he really went to the heaven and experienced amazing things. We don’t know, but this movie creates many questions which is the best part, I think.

夢幻花  東野圭吾  PHP  9/6/14

September 6, 2014