English Blog

新総理の「友愛の国」の将来ーー 10/13/09

October 13, 2009

9月の日本での様々な経験については、折を見て触れて来ました。新政府の出発進行も、ちょこっとながら、経験。国民の熱い期待と、厳しい目をひしひしと感じました。新総理が、選挙前より掲げていた「友愛」の心について、感じた事があったので今日は一言。

東京では相変わらず、セカセカと、周りの事に気を配る余裕もなく、そしてお疲れが顔に滲み出ている方達を沢山見ました。蒲田の駅で、駅員さんにどの電車に乗れば良いか聞いたところ、親切に教えて下さったのですが、その電車が各駅で、更に定刻より2分遅れという事をおっしゃった時に、この世の終わりのような感じで謝られてびっくりしました。そんな事大した事ないのに、きっと皆さんセカセカが板について、こういう事でも駅員さんを叱ったりするのかなあー。別の駅で、主人のデイビッドが、女性が階段を大きな荷物を持って苦労して上っているのを見て、手伝おうとしたら、仰天され恐ろしいものでも見る形相。それでも、真意が分かった後は、とても感謝されていましたがーー。数年前に、私が女性の同じ立場だった時には、もちろん誰も声をかけてくれませんでしたけどね!別の日に、国内線の飛行機の中で、降りる際に、席から通路に出ようとして誰も出してあげなくとまどっている女性がいて、私が「どうぞ」と言ったら、何が起きたか分からない!という感じで、深く深くお辞儀をして、感謝されてしまいました。又、あるスーパーでのレジで。前にいらした中高年の男性が、マスクをしている店員さんを叱り、かつビニール袋のサイズが小さい事を叱り、カリカリ。毎日の暮らしが、きっと大変なのだなあと、思いました。

街中では、奇妙なマニュアルしゃべりが溢れ、一見すると丁寧なようだけど、慣れてないと私なんかとても変な気分。デパートでも、コンビ二でも、飛行機の中でも、もうありとあらゆる場所での現象ですね。もうちょっと普通に自分流の話し方をしたら良いのになあーー。っという訳で、表面のマニュアル礼儀に惑わされて、根本の人間のマナーが失われていると思いますけど、皆様どう思われますか。そして小さな日常の気持ちの持ち方が、一番大事だと思います。そういうゆとりを持てる様な国。庶民には、大それたスローガンは必要ないんです。

Dudamel Celebration Concert in LA 10/4/09

October 4, 2009

I went to the LA Phil’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl yesterday. It was a celebration concert titled “Bienvenido Gustavo!” Of course this sensational new young conductor, Dudamel, was the center of attention!! I did not go from the beginning of the show. I attended only the 7pm portion, which featured the speeches, the videos, and the Beethoven’s 9th symphony with big fireworks! It was a fantastic show to celebrate Dudamel, and a wonderful community event to bridge between Spanish speaking community and the others.

I am very excited that Dudamel will be a music director of LA Phil for next 5 years (I hope it will be longer), and Dudamel is super talented, wonderful, caring, smart, charming, sensitive, and etc –. I hope he won’t get tired being in this Hollywood attention—, but He handed this show very well! He is Fantastic!

I was wondering about the balance of the ethnic background in YOLA, Youth Orchestra in LA, which performed prior to the LA Phil’s performance. It was very nice to see the young children playing together even though they only started to play those instruments 2 years ago! Dudamel is a Venezuelan, and he is a hero in LA Hispanic community. He spoke to the audience in Spanish (I was proud of  me that I understood it!).  As a Japanese citizen myself I wanted to see more diversity in the players because I see mainly Hispanic children in this youth orchestra. I am sure there are many children in other background need the similar opportunities. We have huge communities of Armenians, Filipinos, Koreans, Japanese— in LA. When we are united all together it really goes with the text of the last movement in the 9th symphony!  I hope they will form this youth orchestra little bit differently in future.

Again I am very much looking forward to hearing Dudamel with LA Phil for many more years.

Congratulations, Everybody!!

Lives in Japan 9/29/09

September 29, 2009

I came back from our Japan tour last weekend! Japan was in nice fall weather, and I fully enjoyed feeling it!  I had a great time, performing 5 concerts, seeing my childhood friends (all girls club! My husband is a special member in this club.) and family, eating GOOD food, drinking, visiting Sumo for 2 days, and Kabuki Theatre in Ginza–. I love going back to Japan even though I love living in LA.  This tour was partially granted by the State Department so the concert program was focused on American Music. It is so fortunate to get this opportunity to share my love of American Music with Japanese audience. I chose to record all American Music for my first CD about ten years ago, and since then I have been playing all kinds of American Music. Please see the fun photos in the Photo Gallery in this homepage.

I got my bachelor of music degree at the Toho Conservatory in Tokyo, then masters and doctorate in USA. I love Japan and America equally. I have been getting lot of opportunity in music and meeting wonderful people in US,  and I like relaxing lives here compare to Japanese stressful attitude. Since Japan is a closed society in a small island the lives are often not easy. But we offer deep culture and sensitivity. Until recent years we did not have many foreigners. So people expect others to be like everyone! It means we have to fit in the society. This is changing very slowly. But the society is often tight, and people like to do team-play activities which I miss in US.  And most importantly I love the food in Japan. I prepare Japanese food at my home in LA for most of days, brown rice, and lot of fish dishes and vegetables. And Japanese people have great passion for food!

I hope to continue living in US and visiting Japan occasionally. I think I am truly Japanese no matter how long I live in US.

My American Father 8/21/09

August 21, 2009

My father-in-law passed away on his 87th birthday on 8/7. I am from a pretty difficult Japanese family and it has been my great love to be a part of my husband family. I have learned a lot! My father-in-law was a nice, gentle, kind, warm– person that no one has any bad memory with him. I have wonderful memories with him while we were visiting my husband parent’s home in Indiana. It is very relaxing, fun to play with family, chat and eat —-. I appreciate to have this everyday life filled with love and fun! My parents-in-law don’t want to go on any fancy vacations. Instead they visit family and host family reunion. There were many wonderful people came to his viewing and funeral, and we heard beautiful words from them.

We gathered in the end of June for family reunion, of course at my parents-in-law’s house, and he was having a good time with us, eating and watching us play outside. And his health declined little by little since then, but he was doing everything by himself. And a week before his death he had a massive stroke and he never recovered from it. As if he planned he passed away on his 87th birthday with family members around him. He had good 87 years! It is a sad time, but he went to heaven peacefully and comfortably.

I am looking forward to playing the program of “A Touch of Jazz” at the First Presbytarian Church in Pasadena, CA, on Wednesday 26th. I will be performing Gershwin, Kapustin, and Timo Andres. Then Occidental College will start the beginning of September, but I will be gone for 2 weeks from 9/11 to 9/24 for Japan Tour. Summer is over!

Los Angeles Public Library 7/24/09

July 24, 2009

I love libraries! I always feel there are millions of treasure whenever I am in libraries. I have been living in LA for about 10 years, and I don’t know how many books I have checked out from Los Angeles Public Libraries. The central branch has a great collection of music as well. I use it when I research for new repertoire or just curiosity. Lately I have been going through many pieces to choose for next year’s concert programs, and of course the library is one of resources I use. Youtube and Google are good ones too! It is amazing we can find almost everything on Youtube! I think myself as a good sightreader, but it is always good to hear an actual sound  played by someone. I have found some of great music to play for coming season!! FYI: UCLA music library is the best music library in California, or even in west coast. You can see their collection in their website. It is really amazing!

Also Los Angeles Public Library-Little Tokyo branch is a fun place for Japanese, like me! I never seen so many Japanese books in American libraries. They carry most of major newspapers and magazines in Japanese, and interesting books. When I have extra time before I shop at the Japanese grocery store I drop by and enjoy feeling home. Again I can’t remember how many Japanese books I checked out from this library. Los Angeles Public Library has a great service to request for hold. It means you can check the books you want to check out and ask to bring to your local library. It is convenient if you can wait because it takes few days to few weeks to get your books.

We pay BIG tax so it is good to use public service!

Woody Allen Movie-Whatever Works 7/12/09

July 12, 2009

Yes, we should take “whatever works”! And we have to be true to ourselves. Some outfit looks great on Ms. A, and if I try to copy it it may look good in my mind, but that outfit may not fit to my body or I may actually look funny in that dress–. You know what I mean. Everybody has different mind, body, skin color, height, weight, desire, concept, occupation, hobby–. Recently I went over my closet, and I was reminded that too! We have to listen our voices and to look into our eyes. This movie has a very hopeful message, and full of Woody’s humor!

Timothy Andres-How can I live in your world of ideas? 7/6/09

July 6, 2009

I have mentioned before that I heard Timothy Andres (we call him Timo) at Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella concert, and I fell in love with his piano piece called “How can I live in your world of ideas?”.  Do you know what I found after I came back from the trip in the end of June??? Timo mailed me his piano piece for me!!!! Since the day I received his piece (except I was gone for another unmusical trip for 5 days) I have been figuring out this great piece. As Timo told me this piece requires big hands, like Timo, Liszt, and Rachmaninov. I can reach 10th with my left hand (I need to stretch my left hand with maximum strength!), and 9th with my right hand. So I need to figure out some of the big chords to fit to my little hands (!). Other than that I am really enjoying playing this cool piece every day. I am aiming to perform at the concert in Pasadena in August. Thank you very much, Timo!

In September I have a big tour to Japan, and I am starting to prepare for this tour which includes several programs, but mainly all American music! This tour is partially sponsored by the US State Department. I will post soon for detailed information about those concerts in Japan.

Concert in Dallas 6/22/09

June 22, 2009

I was in Kansas for last 10 days to teach and to perform at Sound Encounters. During those 10 days I made a very quick trip to Dallas, TX, to perform with my friend Jon, trumpet, and his girl friend, Liane, violin. Liane joined us for Ewazen’s piano trio which is a great piece to play! I have performed several pieces by Ewazen, and I liked all of them! Winter by Snow (I am not joking!) for a trumpet and a piano is a beautiful piece including lots of piano solos! I was so honored to play my PIANO solo at the Trumpet Festival! Besides above pieces we performed Gershwin, Turrin, Simon, and Damase. This trumpet camp was organized by Bert Truax and his wife, Sarah. Bert is a great man with a great vision on music education. And I was so happy to meet many wonderful trumpet players while I was there.

So I am back in LA for few days before taking off to the next trip. It is beautiful in LA LA Land!!

Mark O’Connor 6/12/09

June 13, 2009

I am in Ottawa, Kansas, for music camp. The students are wonderful and the organization is just great! I enjoy coming here for teaching and performing for 10 years, and every single year I look forward for this summer music making in Kansas! I performed last night with 2 great musicians, and I am very happy to hear so many positive comments on our recital! Tonight was one of highlights of this music camp because we had Mark O’Connor performing his string quartet and his solo pieces. Oh—he is just marvelous! He has a great technique and imagination! He can do anything with violin!! His rhythmic drive is very natural, but very energetic! I was stunned! After this concert we went to the reception, and he was so nice to chat with!! He gave me several CDs of his recent recordings. I am looking forward to performing his piano trio for next year. I am inspired.

As I write in my greetings page the music took me to so many wonderful places, and Ottawa, Kansas, is certainly the one of those memorable and exciting places I have gone. Our music making will be continuing to next week here, and we will conclude this camp on 6/20.

a Movie-Departure 6/8/09

June 8, 2009

I could not wait to see this movie, and I went to see it on the first day! As a Japanese I did not need the subtitle! Whenever I see Japanese movies I feel very nostalgic, and feel home sick–. The movie “Departure” made me feel it too. The relationship between a husband (a cellist turned a funeral business man) and a wife (a web designer followed her husband to live in his home town) is typical in Japan. It is quiet, and there is often not much communication, oposite of western couples(!). And eating is very important in Japan. We feel the seasons from different food we eat. We comfort each other from eating. We show our love from food–. You can see eating scenes a lot! I have attended many funerals in Japan, but I never seen the people do rituals on death. I did not care much about this ceremony, but I can share the feeling how the family members would accept their loved ones death. The expression in Japan is different than the western world, and I still do have Japanese expression—.

This movie has gotten different reviews, good and bad, but I recommend you to see it. It has many beautiful scenes from the northern part of Japan, and it depicts quiet love (it is not dramatic like Hollywood movies!). You can cry and laugh.