English Blog

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.



Ludwig van Beethoven – Song Cycle “An die Fern Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved) , Op. 98 7/3/20

July 3, 2020

I have been practicing Robert Schumann’s Fantasy Op. 17. I have so many things I want to say about this great piece, and will write it in a separate blog. Schumann uses quote from Beethoven’s “To the Distant Beloved” song cycle in his Fantasy. The quote comes from the 6th song which is very touching and moving. Beethoven wrote his famous “Immortal Beloved Letter” in 1812, and this song cycle was written in 1816. His feelings continue from the letter to this song cycle. The letter is very beautiful, truthful, and so personal. But for this song cycle, Beethoven asked Alois Isidor Jeitteles, a doctor, to write a text. The text is beautifully written, as if Jeitteles knew the existence of “Immortal Beloved Letter”. Each song takes us to the scenes Beethoven was imagining in his head.

“An die Fern Geliebte” is known to be one of the first example of a song cycle. Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann followed Beethoven’s step to write their own. I listen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore.

“An die Fern Geliebte” text by Alois Isidor Jeitteles
1. On the hill sit I, peering
On the hill sit I, peering
Into the blue, hazy land,
Toward the far away pastures
Where I you, beloved, found.

Far am I, from you, parted,
Separating us are hill and valley
Between us and our peace,
Our happiness and our sorrow.

Ah! The look can you not see,
That to you so ardently rushes,
And the sighs, they blow away
In the space that separates us.

Will then nothing more be able to reach you,
Nothing be messenger of love?
I will sing, sing songs,
That to you speak of my pain!

For before the sound of love escapes
every space and every time,
And a loving heart reaches,
What a loving heart has consecrated!

2. Where the mountains so blue
Where the mountains so blue
Out of the foggy gray
Look down,
Where the sun dies,
Where the cloud encircles,
I wish I were there!

There is the restful valley
Stilled are suffering and sorrow
Where in the rock
Quietly the primrose meditates,
Blows so lightly the wind,
I wish I were there!

There to the thoughtful wood
The power of love pushes me,
Inward sorrow,
Ah! This moves me not from here,
Could I, dear, by you
Eternally be!

3. Light veils in the heights
Light veils in the heights,
And you, little brook, small and narrow,
Should my love spot you,
Greet her, from me, many thousand times.

See you, clouds, her go then,
Meditating in the quiet valley,
Let my image stand before her
In the airy heavenly hall.

If she near the bushes stands,
Now that autumn is faded and leafless,
Lament to her, what has happened to me,
Lament to her, little birds, my suffering!

Quiet west, bring in the wind
To my heart’s chosen one
My sighs, that pass
As the last ray of the sun.

Whisper to her of my love’s imploring,
Let her, little brook, small and narrow,
Truly, in your waves see
My tears without numbers!

4. These clouds in the heights
These clouds in the heights,
These birds gaily passing,
Will see you, my beloved.
Take me with you on your light flight!

These west winds will play
Joking with you about your cheek and breast,
In the silky curls will dig.
I share with you this pleasure!

There to you from this hill
Busily, the little brook hurries.
If your image is reflected in it,
Flow back without delay!

5. May returns, the meadow blooms
May returns, the meadow blooms,
The breezes they blow so softly, so mildly,
Chattering, the brooks now run.

The swallow, that returns to her hospitable roof,
She builds, so busily, her bridal chamber,
Love must dwell there.

She brings, so busily, from all directions,
Many soft pieces for the bridal bed,
Many warm pieces for the little ones.

Now live the couple together so faithfully,
What winter has separated is united by May,
What loves, that he knows how to unite.

May returns, the meadow blooms,
The breezes they blow so softly, so mildly,
Only I cannot go away from here.

When all that loves, the spring unites,
Only to our love no spring appears,
And tears are our only consolation.

6. Take, then, these songs
Take, then, these songs,
That I to you, beloved, sang,
Sing them again in the evenings
To the sweet sounds of the lute!

When the red twilight then moves
toward the calm, blue lake,
And the last ray dies
behind that hilltop;

And you sing, what I have sung,
What I, from my full heart,
Artlessly have sounded,
Only aware of its longings.

For before these songs yields,
What separates us so far,
And a loving heart reaches

For what a loving heart has consecrated.

Seneca Quotes セネカの格言 6/18/20

June 18, 2020


Other men’s sins are before our eyes, and our own are behind our backs.



Live among men as if God beheld you; speak to God as if men were listening.




True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.








Aspects de Chopin Alfred Cortot 6/18/20

June 18, 2020

I read this book in Japanese before (Japanese title misses “aspects” and just “Chopin”), but English translation is much better. Somehow the Japanese translator tried so hard to make it really complicated and difficult to understand… I practiced Cortot’s “Rational Principles of Pianoforte Technique” every day when I was young! He was one of the best Chopin interpreter. He was a teacher of Dinu Lipatti who is my personal hero! We can’t talk about pianism without Cortot. He formed a trio with Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals.

This book contains full of his affection to Chopin. He follows Chopin’s compositions, personality, relationships and works. If you love Chopin’s music, you will enjoy reading this book!

A Movie “The Farewell” 6/12/20

June 12, 2020

I truly enjoyed watching this movie. It is truthful, yet funny. It is soulful, yet silly. It is very entertaining and soul searching. The movie follows a Chinese family’s journey to search Chinese belief (I share this belief as a Japanese too) and to help the family’s difficulty together.  It happened when they discovered that their beloved Grandmother has only a short life to live. So they set up the grandson’s wedding to have a reason to gather in China because all of families are scattered, living in Japan and USA. Billi (Awkwafina) has a difficulty to keep family’s secret in front of her beloved grandma because the family decided not to tell the truth to the grandma according to Chinese belief. Everyone has difficulty to keep their feeling uplifted in front of the grandma. The grandma is so happy to see everyone and so excited to have a big wedding. First of all, Awkwafina is an amazing actress. You forget this is a movie so she is acting. She is so natural. This movie was a big hit last year. If you have not seen it yet, it is truly recommended! It is actually a perfect movie during our pandemic.

Pentecost Poems May/2020

May 31, 2020

Today is Pentecost, the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. I think those are beautiful poems for Pentecost.

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost


Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today  the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire, air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.

By Matthew Guite