It’s always a treat to work with violinist Mai Suzuki! We had fun performing our favorite short pieces this week. Yesterday, we escaped the heat in the Kawaguchi-Ko Music Forest in Yamanashi. Their summer roses and old music boxes are from all over the world. It felt like we were performing in a fairytale land.
I had the honor of performing at the 6th Enraku Sanyutei’s Rakugo recital in Ginza Jujiya. Rakugo is a Japanese traditional form of comic storytelling. Using only a paper fan (扇子 sensu) and a small cloth (手拭 tenugui) as props, Rakugo’s minimalistic style is one of the coolest arts we have in Japan. The master Enraku took us through a mesmerizing hour of storytelling. His storytelling was so good that I forgot I needed to perform next! I was completely drawn in by the funny but very human tale of a pickpocket in Edo. Famous for his sarcasm, of course he said “this big instrument takes up so much space on the stage! ”
After an intense but wonderful week in Ecuador, I flew to Japan, and visited Wakayama and Tokyo. I had a great time performing solo recitals to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Hashimoto International Friendship Foundation and the Hashimoto branch of UNESCO, and the 140th Anniversary of Ginza Jujiya.
I was honored to have Mr. Mikio Ozawa, the younger brother of Maestro Seiji Ozawa, as a special guest at the concert in Tokyo’s Ginza Jujiya Hall. Mr. Mikio Ozawa’s warm presence on stage immediately brought the audience closer to us. We enjoyed his interesting and fun anecdotes in between pieces. Ginza Jujiya is one of the first music shops to begin importing Western Instruments into Japan during the Meiji era.
Hashimoto city is located at the base of Mount Koya, which is the home of the most sacred site in Shingon Buddhism. I was enchanted by the serene beauty of “Ko-Yo” (color of changing leaves) in Wakayama, particularly after experiencing the dramatic South American landscape.
I also participated in a CHANEL Pygmalion Days chamber music concert led by Maestro Heiichiro Ohyama. It has been a very exciting month for me!
I was in Ecuador earlier this month with cellist Christine Walevska.
Ecuador is one of the few countries where Christine has not
concertized yet among all South American countries – the other being
Bolivia. For me, it was the first time to be in South America.
Christine and I performed a concert for the benefit of the country’s
sick and poor children. The concert was held at the oldest colonial
church in the South America, and at the Museo Guayasamin.
Surrounded by the Andes mountains, Quito is 9,000 feet above sea level.
The dynamic cloud that touches the mountains, the thunder storm every
afternoon around 3PM, the crazy traffic of the narrow street in the
old town, colorfully dressed Indian woman selling goods on the street,
exotic fruits and birds in the Rainforest—everything I saw was new
to me and made a big impact.
I had a wonderful week spending the last bit of summer in Taiwan with cellist Christine Walevska. It was our second tour in Taiwan. We performed at the National Concert Hall in Taipei, Kaoshiung Music Hall, and also the Tainan University of Technology.
Taiwan is such a beautiful country. Meeting wonderful people, seeing their culture left me in awe with many beautiful memories.
I am happy that my old solo album from PLATZ label Japan “L’enfant de la musique” is now available on Naxos Music Library.
This is a live recording of my debut recital at Asahi-Hamarikyu Hall in Tokyo when I was 14 years old. The program includes Bach’s Partita No.1, Mozart’s Sonata in F major, Chopin’s Mazurkas and Ballade No.3, Schumann’s Papillons, Liszt’s Transcendental Études No.10 and etc.
This album is the crystallization of the earlier years of my life and adventurous musical journey, and it has a special place in my heart. I am thrilled that it is now available for streaming anywhere in the world.