English Blog

2020 Prayer on Thanksgiving Day 11/26/20

November 26, 2020

For flowers that bloom about our feet, Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet, Father, we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee, for all things fair we hear or see, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For blue of stream and blue of sky, Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high, Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze, for beauty of the blooming trees, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For this new morning with its light, Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night, Father, we thank Thee.
For health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


Music at Noon Concert – Wed. 11/25 at 12noon at Pacific Time

November 24, 2020

Uplifting Words for Us Today 11/8/20

November 8, 2020

Psalm 98:4-6

You raise your hand and gently begin
the concerto of creation:
birds carry the melody while stars keep the beat; mountains dance in merriment
and little children clap their hands with joy.
Love’s Composer, our new songs are lifted to you.

The old, old song is made new in our hearts:
Christ is Risen! Sing Alleluia!
You invite us to sing to a world deafened by despair and haunted by the tunes of fear.
Lord of the Dance, our new songs are lifted to you.

Believing we cannot carry a tune,
we hesitate to join in the chorus of praise
sung by all creation.
So, you softly and gently hum the melody in our hearts until they burst with you, raising a rousing chorus
of Amazing Grace.

Music-making Spirit, our new songs are lifted to you. Every song, old and new, is offered to you, O God.


When J. S. Bach was satisfied with a piece of music, he wrote the letters SDG at the bottom of the page – Soli Deo Gloria -For the Glory of God Alone.

A Movie “Saul and Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band” 10/24/20

October 24, 2020

Like many survivors of the Holocaust, Saul and Ruby moved to America after the WWII, started families and careers. They grew old, and retired happily in South Florida. For them, retirement could have been the last page in their stories, but Saul decided to start a klezmer band, named the Holocaust Survivor Band, despite of his wife and rabbi’s negative comments. He searched another Holocaust surviver to join him. And he found Ruby! The band’s goal was to perform in Poland where they grew up. They never visited there after moving to the US. They have bittersweet memories in Poland, but more importantly, it is a celebration of life. Saul and Ruby have very direct expression toward their feelings. The movie follows their musical journey starting from the local homes and shopping malls in their neighborhood, then at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, to a dream concert in Poland. It is a very unique and heart-warming story. They are not professional musicians at all. That is not their purpose. It is about the soul searching in life at their age and the power of music.

A Movie “Kingdom” 10/24/20

October 24, 2020

I usually don’t like an action – fantasy movies, but I really enjoyed this one. It is an adaptation of “Kingdom” manga series of the same name which is set during China’s “Warring States” period, and the film is created by Yasuhisa Hara. The film portrays the life of “Li Xin”, a general of Qin, from his childhood as an orphan through his military career during the ancient China. It is a colorful tale and has a great action throughout the movie with a wonderful cast, including Kento Yamazaki, Ryo Yoshizawa, Masami Nagasawa, Kanna Hashimoto. It is an entertainment during the current remote life.


6 months after COVID19 Lock Down 9/11/20

September 11, 2020

Today is exactly 6 months after my last concert with a live audience. I have gone through so many stages, shocking, lost, nervous, anxious, finding a way, keeping hope and purpose in life, and connecting with people. I have taken photos along the way. Today I am hopeful to start planning for the future. But definitely we will live in a new-normal lifestyle.

March 11: I played a chamber music concert at the library. I clearly remember that the staff members at the library were constantly cleaning the counters with sanitizer, but they served refreshment at the concert. No one was wearing masks, but we did not shake hands or hug. The library was shut down the next day.

Empty Freeway during Rush Hour  

Homemade Mask

I woke up in the morning and saw a beautiful rainbow.

The End of March: I started to teach online from home.





I made a goal to cook a different meal and was creating something new everyday. It has been fun to explore different food. I had different concerts scheduled in the spring and was looking forward for summer festivals to go, but everything was cancelled and there was no way to know what will happen next. So my mood was down for a while. I was lost. 




I started to walk in my neighborhood in the morning. I have met new neighbors and Miss White Princess. Social Distance is not Disconnect with people.

June: Hair Salon was reopened. I had a good time chatting with Kazuyo-san.

July 4: I started to release weekly Piano Lesson Videos in Japanese. I learned how to make videos by myself.

I visited my friends for the first time since March. I was glad to see they were well.

The Middle of July: I had a lunch with Toko-san. It was first time to eat out since March. We had a wonderful time.

I continued to explore my cooking curiosity.




July 18: First Virtual Live Concert. All of us were so excited to perform. 




August: Visiting Descanso Garden

Visiting Big Bear Lake instead of Summer Music Festivals (!)

August 24: Occidental College Fall Semester started online. I was glad to see my colleagues online and start teaching for college students.

September: I got tested Negative.

September 11: 11th Piano Lesson Video was released. I am happy to connect with piano enthusiasts in Japan.

I have some virtual concerts in a next few months and am thrilled to have some planning for a concert in Japan next fall. I upgraded a mic for online teaching, and have learned Zoom’s possibility. Now I am able to organize online recitals and meetings. That is a big accomplishment for me. I did not gain any weight for the last 6 months! I cleaned up a cellar. I scanned most of my photos and got rid of albums. I learned new piano pieces and memorized some. We are still living in a uncertainty, but I am glad I have a house to live and food to eat. Thank you, essential workers. We can’t live without you.



A Movie “Canaletto and The Art of Venice at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace” – Exhibition on Screen 12/4/17

August 8, 2020

I enjoy Laemmle’s “Exhibition on Screen” Culture Series! It was shown at Pasadena location. This movie depicts an immersive journey into the life and the art of Venice’s famous view-painter, Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto. No artist better captures the essence and allure of Venice than Canaletto.

The remarkable group of over 200 paintings, drawings and prints at the exhibition offer exceptional insight into the artistry of Canaletto and his contemporaries, and the city “Venice” he became a master at capturing. The film also offers the chance to step inside two official royal residences – Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle – to learn more about the artist, and Joseph Smith, known as Consulate Smith, the man who introduced Canaletto to Britain. The film is not only a wonderful way to see the exhibition, but an opportunity to get closer to Canaletto and Venice that inspired him! $16 for this amazing journey to London and Venice!? I love it!


The 75th Commemoration of Atomic Bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 8/5/20

August 5, 2020

This week is the 75th Commemoration of Atomic Bombing in Hiroshima, August 6th, and Nagasaki, August 9th.

Hear my voice and grant insight and strength so that we may always respond to hatred with love, to injustice with total dedication to justice, to need with the sharing of self, to war with peace. O God, hear my voice and grant unto the world Your everlasting peace. Amen.

Sat. 7/18/20 Virtual Live Concert “Music of Hope” – 3rd@1st Final Concert of 2019-20

July 17, 2020

Music of Hope:
An Online Third@First Concert

Saturday, July 18 at 4 p.m. would have been the last event of the 2019-2020 Third@First concert series.  The pandemic, however, caused the cancellation of our spring plans. Even though we cannot gather to enjoy music together in the Sanctuary, art and beauty are more important than ever.  And so we will offer the first ever “virtual” Third@First concert.

Pianist and series coordinator Junko Ueno Garrett will be joined by cellist David Garrett, along with pianist Paul Floyd, guitarist Rob Hayes and organists Aaron Shows and Gregory Norton in a live performance in the Sanctuary intended to inspire hope.

A Movie “Frantz” 7/8/20

July 8, 2020

It is a quiet and inward movie, setting in Germany and France in the post First World War era. “Frantz”, the name of the young German soldier who was killed during trench warfare, depicts an endless mourning period through the eyes of the war’s “lost generation”. Anna (Paula Beer) lost her fiancé, Frantz, and is living with his parents. Adrien (Pierre Niney), French veteran of the war, shows up mysteriously in her town, placing flowers on Frantz’s grave. Adrien’s presence in the German town is met with resistance by the small community still reeling from Germany’s defeat, but Anna gradually gets closer to the handsome and melancholy young French man. They started to share their emotional depth and their friendship started to grow. The story has a twist.

Can they desire for happiness? Guilt, Anger… This black and white film does not speak loud, but touches our heart.