Apr 30, 2011

Japanese New Yorkers and Moms United to Support Japan

Penny Harvest Run For Change! April 30, 2011

BYJ and VANNESS with Dominique Leguillier, Executive Director of Children Without Borders
HOHOEMI PROJECT Event @ Tokyo Dome Dec. 2010

Apr 26, 2011

"Thank You" is not necessary; U.S. forces honored to help reopen Sendai

COMMENTARY - "Thank You" is not necessary; U.S. forces honored to help reopen Sendai

NHK World News on the Reopening of Sendai International Airport

Yong Joon-ssi used this airport too!
See him in the beautiful video created by onpu in March 2009

courtesy of onpu's blog "Egao de Aetara (If we can meet with a smile)"
You can find the link to her blog on the right column)

Apr 25, 2011

The Power of Music!

Maestro Seikyo Kim strikes the hammer during the rehearsal of Mahler's Symphony No. 6 "Tragic"
(March,2011@ Kanagawa Art Hall)

photo courtesy of Kanagawaphil on ustream

Apr 23, 2011

The Spirit of the Noh Performers

A reader's contribution article in the Asahi Shimbun March 18, 2011 edition

On March 11, the day of the great earthquake, I was at the Nohgakudo (Noh theater) in Suidobashi,Tokyo. Because it was after the earthquake, the two leading performers came out to announce, "today's performance will either be cancelled or postponed". All the trains and subways had stopped. To us who had no way of getting home, the people at the theater suggested that we wait at the theater, and they even offered us the bento (boxed meals)of staffs who were not able to make it to the work place.

We were not able to get through to our families -text messages, cell phones, public phones were all unaccessible. When it was announced that JR (Japan Railways) was not going to move that day, the people at the theater started to look for places we could stay for the evening. There were five of us who had remained including an elderly person who was born in the Taisho era (1912-1926).

As it turned out, all the hotels were full, and so they said that they would take us to a performer’s home so we can spend the night there. Being general guests, we were hesitant, but because they insisted that they wanted to do what they could for people who had come to the theater, we decided to accept their kindness.

The traffic jam was very bad. The staffs were very concerned about the elderly guests, and after they obtained information that the subways had begun to move, they confirmed this and led us to the station. By subway, we first arrived at the Nohgakudo in Aoyama. Because it would take even more time to get to the performer’s home, they offered to put us up for the night in the warm room at the theater.

There is a heartwarming Noh piece called “Hachinoki”. Through the way the Noh performers worked together to help us, and we were able to experience something very much like what is depicted in the piece. I have come to realize that the spirit of the Noh performers who support the World Cultural Heritage, and the development of the long history of Japanese culture will prevail. Right now, I can only hope that a life of peace will return to the people at the disaster-stricken areas as soon as possible.

Noh-actor Mr. Minoru Shibata in his Official Blog, gives us some background information on the day’s events:

(translated by flowerbossa with the author's permission)

On March 11, the day of the great earthquake, our group “Tessenkai” was scheduled to hold our March regular performance. Although public transportation had stopped completely, there were about 20 guests who had arrived at the Hohsho Nohgakudo. Unfortunately, this day’s performance was cancelled.

I personally was not able to get to the theater, so I do not know the details of the event. However, I heard later that the theater performers and staffs had thought that as long as there were guests there to see the performance, they should do what they could. Since all of the Miyake family (performers of the Kyogen) were present, they Ukon Miyake-san had suggested to show their Kyogen piece.

Also, the Noh program for the day was “Sakuragawa” and “Sesshoseki”. Because Kuroemon Katayama-san and Hisa Uzawa-san were there, there was also talk of performing the Shimai (dance) of the two pieces, however in the end they decided to cancel everything.

The staffs’ bento were passed out as supper, and it was decided that the five guests who were not able to get home will stay at Uzawa-san’s home.

They first set out for Tessenkai at Aoyama, but it took them 6 hours for the distance of 5 km. Since no one could guess just when they could reach Uzawa-san’s home, they ended up spending the night on the stage of Tessenkai.

There was an article in the Asahi Shimbun by one of the guests who had experienced this event, thanking the performers for their kindness.

I would like to applaud my fellow performers and staffs for having served our guests with sincerity.
I believe such consideration and sincere thoughts for our guests help us to increase our audience.
I would like to keep this event in my heart always, as a heartwarming episode.

Almost all the Noh performances for March have been cancelled.

I do not know what the future will bring, but when we do resume with our performances, I can only pray that many guests will come back to see us as just as before.

For now, patience, patience!

Poster of Upcoming Noh Performance
May 4, 2011 14:00 at Tessen-kai Nohgaku Kensyujyo

phone 03-3401-2285

第11回 青葉乃会 能と素浄瑠璃 -能と語りを探る―
2011年5月4日 (水・祝) 14時開演

能 「俊寛」

Synopsis of "Hachinoki": http://www.noh-kyogen.com/story/english/Hachinoki.pdf

For information on Noh in English: http://www.the-noh.com/index.html

Apr 19, 2011

On Sirius and B.S.J.

About wuri sister sirius...

Satovic had once described her as someone "with a mysterious power...she can walk the streets of Seoul with the same ease of walking around Tokyo, and though she's a top businesswoman who could deal with billions of yen,she's also a girl with pure eyes, a lover of astronomy and science fiction. She was the liason person of BSJ, undertaking many negotiations with outside parties, at the same time taking on tedious tasks as insurance paperwork so BSJ staff can move about freely and "safely".

(ブロコリ B.S.J. サイトより satovic)

Taking this opportunity, I would like to look back on some of the major activities of B.S.J. and also look at the great creations by wuri talented kajok!

(please watch on youtube)

and... LAST but not LEAST...

Yon-sama Gekijo by Satovic

(click to read last chapter)

Please support!

Japan-US Chorus Charity Concert for Sendai @ Carnegie Hall May 20

(Please see previous article for details)

BYJ sister "sirius" Calls For Support - Charity Concert for Sendai

Sirius-san is a long time BYJ kajok who now lives in the Tokyo area, but is originally from Sendai. She was an active committee member of B.S.J. (a fan site led by satovic), and had supported BYJ and the LSH scholarship activities over the years.

This past disaster had a big impact on her life…

I would like to share her message:

Dear flowerbossa,

Thank you for your message of sympathy.
Not only Japanese sisters like satovic, but many friends from Korea and around world have sent me messages of encouragement, and as always I feel so grateful for the kindness of BSJ chingus.

With this recent earthquake, both my husband’s and my own immediate family have survived, but many of my relatives and friends have had their homes washed away and many even lost their lives.

Still, when I call them or e-mail them, they respond with a tough attitude.
I cannot help but feel respect for how they accept the present situation and how they are bravely setting out to restore the devastated land.
But in their hearts, they hold deep sorrow and anxiety.

I too intend to be by their side and do what I can until we can resurrect our city.

The charity concert I was telling you about earlier was something which was planned as the "Japan-US Chorus Festival" and we had been preparing for it from a year ago. But many of the participants live in Sendai and have become victims of the latest disaster. It seemed that we would have to cancel the event, but because many of the people involved strongly wanted to go on with it, we decided to hold it as a charity concert.

This is the official site:

Japan-US Chorus Charity Concert for Sendai at Carnegie

Featuring the "Hagi" Chorus, Sendai, Japan

I will also be participating in the chorus.

Experiencing this unprecedented disaster, I feel that we are being tested in many ways.

I hope many people in the New York area will be informed about our charity concert, and we would be most grateful if they would come to hear us sing.

Best wishes,

Japan-US Chorus Charity Concert for Sendai at Carnegie

East Meets West in Choral Harmony

May 20 2011 (Fri) 8:00 PM - 10:30 PM (Doors open 7:30 PM)
Admission: Free (ticket required), Donation suggested

Participating Artists:

☆ The HAGI Choir (from Sendai)

☆ The Alexandria Harmonizers

☆ The Men's Glee Club of New York

☆ The Men's Glee Club of Tokyo & Kansai

☆ The White Pine Glee Club (Detroit)

MC : Kaoriko Kuget (Host of "FCI Morning Eye")


日米合唱チャリティーコンサートat カーネギー

Apr 16, 2011

Kim Hyun Jung Returns! Playful Kiss Charity Event

Playful Kiss Premium Talkshow & Live in Osaka

May 3 (Tuesday, public holiday)@ Grand Cube Osaka

Matinee Show: Doors open 1PM
Night Show: Doors open 5:30PM
Duration: 2 hours
Ticket price: 9,800 yen

Cast: Kim Hyun Joong, Jung Somin

Jane Birkin in Tokyo "Together for Japan" April 6, 2011

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream

Jane Birkin Charity Concert "Together for Japan" 

April 6(Wed), 2011 @Shibuya Club Quattro

French artist Jane Birkin visited Japan and held a free charity concert sending her support with Japanese artists to disaster-affected people.
Organised by Parco Co.,Ltd. and L'institut Franco-Japonais de Tokyo

ジェーン・バーキン震災復興支援チャリティーコンサート「Together for Japan」
4/6(水) 渋谷クラブクアトロ
会場内に募金箱を設置し、集まった義援金は「世界の医療団(Médecins du Monde)」を通じて全額寄付された。
主催:パルコ 共催:東京日仏学院 

Apr 15, 2011

Prof. Donald L. Keene Claims He is Married to Japan

Donald L. Keene, an American expert on Japanese literature and Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, will apply for Japanese nationality and live permanently in Japan.


Don't ever underestimate the power of music

Acclaimed conductor Zubin Mehta has arrived in Japan to conduct a charity concert benefitting the survivors of the March 11th disaster.

Mehta arrived in Tokyo from Russia on Friday. He held a rehearsal with the NHK Symphony Orchestra, which will perform Beethoven's Symphony Number 9 in Tokyo on Sunday. All proceeds will go to the disaster-hit areas.

Before the rehearsal, Mehta told orchestra members that he hopes for Japan's recovery, and that his thoughts are with the people.

"All the world is with you and with your country.

Everybody is crying with you.

I want to do part of something to lift the spirit of people.

Don't ever underestimate the power of music."

- from NHK online
(video clip in English : http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/09_06.html)

☆ This concert which will be aired on NHK on April 17.

2011年 4月17日 (日)
教育テレビ 午後9時00分 ~ 9時57分

ズービン・メータ 希望の響き

~ 東日本大震災 チャリティーコンサート ~

「世界中が日本の皆さんの勇気、不屈の精神に心から敬意を表しています。 惨劇の中、自己統制を保ち、前進しようとしているその姿に感動を覚えています。 今以上に強い日本になることを世界中が願っています。日本は世界の模範となるでしょう。」

急遽開催が決まった東日本大震災チャリティーコンサートから、ベートーベンの交響曲第9番をお送りします。 指揮はズービン・メータさん。3月11日、フィレンツェ歌劇場の日本公演のために来日していたメータさんは、 日本で、震災の惨状を目の当たりにしたのです。
これまでメータさんはインド西部地震など危機的な状況下で指揮台に立ち、人々を勇気づけてきました。 「音楽家にはそういったことをする義務がある。」 今回のコンサートは、メータさんの強い意志によって実現したということができるでしょう。 インタビューと演奏を通して、「困難な状況下でも、音楽は力を発揮できる」というメータさんのメッセージをお届けします。

組曲第3番から アリア   ( バッハ作曲 )
交響曲 第9番 ニ短調 作品125 「合唱つき」 から   ( ベートーベン作曲 )
ソプラノ : 並河 寿美
メゾ・ソプラノ : 藤村 実穂子
テノール : 福井  敬
バス : アッティラ・ユン
合唱 : 東京オペラシンガーズ
管弦楽 : NHK交響楽団
指 揮 : ズービン・メータ

Bach: Suite No.3, "Aria"

Beethoven's Symphony No.9

Soprano: Hisami Namikawa
Mezzo Soprano: Mihoko Fujimura
Tenor: Kei Fukui
Bass: Attila Jun

Chorus: Tokyo Opera Singers
NHK Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Zubin Mehta

[ 収録: 2011年4月10日, 東京文化会館 ]

Coming to Japan from Korea!

☆ Musical 宮 "Goong" Starring Kim Kyu Jong (SS501)
@Kyoto Shijo Minamiza June 11 to July 1, 2011

(photos 2, 3 from 宮official site)

John-Hoon May 4,2011 @ Saitama Super Arena

Together... We Look Up...(updated)

With Tommy Lee Jones

「上を向いて歩こう」 Sukiyaki Song
「見上げてごらん夜の星を」 Look Up at the Stars

Apr 12, 2011

Aigo! Bobby Kim Injured!

Praying for your speedy recovery from the bottom of my heart ...

Bobby Kim injures his spine and thorax after falling 4 meters

April 12, 2011

Bobby Kim is in the hospital recovering from a dangerous 4 meter fall that resulted in an injury on his spine and thorax.

The singer reportedly fell down the stairs while returning from the second floor bathroom of a bar on April 4th. He was directly transported to a hospital.

On April 8th, he completed his physical examinations and his doctor said, “His 5th and 7th vertebrae have been broken, as well as his ribs. He is expressing deep pain in his thorax. While his 5th vertebrae has been pressed down, about 2 millimeters of bone has been broken, thus requiring another examination.”

He added, “The 5th vertebrae is especially important. Even if it does not seem to be injured, Bobby Kim cannot return to his normal activities for at least 2 months. In the worst case scenario, he could be paralyzed waist down if the bone fragment touches his spinal cord.”

Bobby Kim’s agency stated, “We may have to cancel’s Bobby Kim’s schedule for 2 months according to the advice of the doctor. We are going to do whatever it takes for Bobby Kim to recover fully.”

The singer put a halt on all of his activities, including his national concert tour which he successfully started last month.

Source: Newsen via Nate

Bobby with IU

Apr 10, 2011

LIVE from N.Y. - Concert for Japan Ryuichi Sakamoto and many others

Live video chat by Ustream

Concert for Japan
合計視聴数: 46,527

100% of proceeds from this event will go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Please go to http://www.japansociety.org/earthquake to donate.

Japan Society presents a 12-hour concert benefiting organizations that directly help people affected by the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan. With dozens of music acts and performances throughout the day, confirmed performers for the GALA BLOCKS, organized by John Zorn, include Philip Glass & Hal Willner; Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Zorn; Ryuichi Sakamoto; and Bill Laswell with gigi band. In addition to the music, CONCERT FOR JAPAN offers special activities for all ages, from making origami cranes and washi lanterns for good wishes to unlimited access to Bye Bye Kitty!!!.

New York Suwa Taiko Association led by Hiro Kurashima, Cocolo Japanese Gospel Choir plus more to be announced!

(GALA BLOCK ticket required)
Philip Glass, & Hal Willner
Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson & John Zorn

Performance order TBD
Masayo Ishigure (koto), Mutsumi and Masumi Takamizu (ji-uta sankyoku), James Nyoraku Schlefer (shakuhachi), Sadahiro Kakitani (ryuteki - gagaku flute), Taikoza (taiko), Yumi Kurosawa (koto), Taka Kigawa (piano) (Organized by James Nyoraku Schlefer) plus more to be announced!

(GALA BLOCK ticket required)
Ryuichi Sakamoto with Special Guests
Bill Laswell with gigi band

(seating is first come, first served)
Performance order TBD
Hard Nips, Echostream, The Suzan, Me & Mars, DJ Aki (Organized by Hayden Brereton, Superglorious)
Plus Salmé from Tokyo!


Apr 9, 2011

To the People of Hong Kong - Arigato, 謝謝!

Song created from the poem "Ame ni mo makezu" by Kenji Miyazawa
(a famous Japanese poet from Morioka, Iwate Prefecture)

Be not Defeated by the Rain
by Kenji Miyazawa

English Translation by David Sulz

Be not defeated by the rain,
Nor let the wind prove your better.
Succumb not to the snows of winter.
Nor be bested by the heat of summer.
Be strong in body.
Unfettered by desire.
Not enticed to anger.
Cultivate a quiet joy.
Count yourself last in everything. Put others before you.
Watch well and listen closely. Hold the learned lessons dear.
A thatch-roof house, in a meadow, nestled in a pine grove's shade.
A handful of rice, some miso, and a few vegetables to suffice for the day.
If, to the East, a child lies sick: Go forth and nurse him to health.
If, to the West, an old lady stands exhausted: Go forth, and relieve her of burden.
If, to the South, a man lies dying: Go forth with words of courage to dispel his fear.
If, to the North, an argument or fight ensues:
Go forth and beg them stop such a waste of effort and of spirit.
In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.
Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a "Great Man".
This is my goal, the person I strive to become.

Background to Ame ni mo makezu

After Miyazawa Kenji's death, a single, black notebook was found in a pocket in the lid of his favourite trunk. This is the famous "Ame ni mo makezu" notebook. The poem is written in midst of his repetitious copying of "namu myoho renge kyo"(*) which shows his earnest nature and his reflections on letting go of the desire for pleasure.

The 11-3 at the beginning of the poem refers to the date, November 3rd, Showa 6 (1931).
At that time, Kenji was lying sick in bed but his handwriting is not what one would expect from a sick person; it is big, bold, and there are nine pages written on both the back and front.

When this "Ame ni mo makezu" was written, we can assume that Kenji probably had a hunch that he was going to die. With such thoughts lingering in his mind, his earnest wish in the last line - "the person I strive to become" - can only strike at our hearts with a deep resonance.
In his later years, he formed the "Rasu Farmers' Association" in order to live in closer harmony with the agriculturists he so admired. In Showa 11 (1936) a stone monument was erected with the opening line - "In the shade of pine-tree grove in the middle of a field …" Even now, many people visit this site.
(The Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Society Foundation)

(Information from the site "The World of Kenji Miyazawa")

Japanese actor Ken Watanabe's recitation of the original poem:

~ KoKoRo ~ Argerich Takes it to Heart

(photo courtesy of Yasai-san's blog)

Argerich supports Japan's Baby Network!

Argerich plays Schumann's "Kinderszenen (Children's Corner")

Apr 7, 2011

Ganbare!! Let's Save the Children of Tohoku! Updated with a comment from Dr. Toyoshima

April 7

From flowerbossa:

Dr. Toyoshima has kindly given us his express permission to repost his article. In this short time, many BYJ fans have already given their support by giving donations, gifts and warm comments on his blog. He said that comments are always appreciated by the babies' families and medical staff, so please do not hesitate to show your support. AND please feel free to leave a comment here on my blog in any language you choose!

豊島勝昭先生のブログ 「ペ・ヨンジュンさんのNICU訪問から1年!がんばれ!小さな生命(いのち)たちよ」より

I have added photos from the Doctor's blog.

From Dr. Katsuaki Toyoshima ‘s Blog
“Ganbare!! Chiisaki Inochitachiyo ( Fight!! You Precious Small Lives”)


This is Katsuaki Toyoshima of Kanagawa Children's Medical Center's from the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)

At the out-patient clinic, I heard a little girl’s voice calling “Sensei~ (doctor)" so I turned around. It was the (adjusted age) one year old Chii-chan’s older sister running towards me. Chii-chan herself and her mother ran to me too.

Chii-chan was born 4 months early, weighing a bit more than 600g, and was on the brink of death as she fought for her life in the NICU. Dr. Tanaka and I attended to her. Her big sister was “a good strong girl” waiting outside the NICU, while her mother tended to the baby. She seemed to like me from then. I’m trying to recruit her saying “ I hope you get to know this hospital even more and come back to work here when you become big girl.”

Many of the so-called overworked pediatricians and nurses had the experience of coming to hospitals when they were very young, accompanying their sick siblings. And through watching their parents and medical staffs, they often come to desire to work in this field. Some may take pity on these children for having to live with a sick brother or sister, but on the other hand, you may say that they are privileged to have had the opportunity to know what “kindness” and “care” is all about.

Now, Chii-chan is beginning to walk, but a year ago, she was still in the NICU.

She is the baby that appeared on TV, when Bae Yong Joon-san who as introduced in the “24 Hour TV” charity program etc. donated incubators to us, and had come to our hospital to show his support to the patients.

Tomorrow will mark a year from then. I think I never imagined that Japan will be hit by an earthquake a year ago.

With encouraging events like BYJ-san’s visit to our medical center, I think I had a vague feeling of a bright future that the situation of NICU would improve.

When he came to visit us, BYJ-san went around to see each baby and their families, listening intently to what they had to say and gave them strong encouragement.

When I asked him “ why did you make a donation to the NICU?” the following was his answer:

“Children are the future for all of us”.

Last year he had donated to the NICU, but this year he has made another contribution appropriate for the particular situation (the recent earthquake). I truly felt that he is a serious and kind person.

His words, “giving incubators to the children is about all I am able to do…” also left a strong impression on me.

I told him, “I am grateful for your donating these incubators, but what I would appreciate even more is that if your fans in Japan who are many in number, will observe your behavior of doing what you say you can do, and if that will lead to their support for NICU and the children in the medical centers, that “heart” will be a far greater gift then an “object” such as an incubator. This is something I also told Shuuichi Murata-san of the Yokohama Bay Stars (baseball team) who contributed to the “Kyuji Kikin 救児基金 (save the children fund)”.

If any of you Bae Yong Joon-san’s fans support the objective of our fund, we would appreciate it if you would make a donation for the sake of the children.

The size of your donation does not matter. To have as many people as possible come together to show they care, the babies, the families and medical staff who are doing their best even in the aftermath of this disaster will be greatly encouraged.

On Bae Yong Joon-san’s incubator, there is a gold plate as seen in the photo. It seems that it gives much encouragement to parents and grandparents of the babies who are Hallyu fans.

When the infants’ temperature is low, we use an incubator which is box-shaped, but once their temperature is stabilized, we change it to an open-type incubator which resembles an open car that has a removable lid.

It is a high performance incubator which has the capability of adapting to the child’s growth and temperature, and one incubator can function as two of them. In the future, Japanese NICUs may not be able to obtain many of these types.

But I am ready for the reality that we are entering an age that the issues we faced before the earthquake “we don’t have enough NICU beds, facilities, staff…” will not be easily solved after this disaster.

A year ago, I felt that “no matter how hard we try at the medical center, we don’t have enough things, oh someone do something about this”… But having experienced the earthquake I think I have strongly come “to appreciate the things we have and that things we have left, rather than cry over what we do not have”.

In this age when the economy will probably decline, the enhancement of NICU will no doubt be difficult, but I am reaching a conviction that I will not give up.

By thanking what we have, being grateful for the warm thoughts of the people who are willing to support us, making the most of what we have and what is left… Even if we do not have more in “quantity”, by improving the “quality” we can unfold our own ability to the fullest. And a feeling is building in me that no matter what the circumstances are, I want to save the children of Kanagawa Prefecture. We too will do our best, so we hope that together, each of you in your own way would support the medical care that will protect the children who will be taking on the role of reconstructing our country. May we ask for your understanding and support?

Dr. Katsuaki Toyoshima, Neonatal Division, Kanagawa Children's Medical Center

神奈川県立こども医療センター 新生児科 豊島勝昭

(translated by flowerbossa)

"Pray for Japan" icon by makishi-nim, arigato!!

Information on the Fund in Japanese:
Yong Joon-ssi with children at the "HOHOEMI PROJECT" Charity Event in Dec. 2010.

Super child actor Mana Ashida reciting a poem in the "HOHOEMI PROJECT" event at Tokyo Dome, Dec.2010

The two stars meeting backstage!

Children of Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture singing "Sekaiju-no-Kodomotachiga"
"Children of the World"

Mock Hill Records has also launched their own aid project. They will donate the whole amount from the sales of this CD (includes this song in the video-my friend Toshihiko Shinzawa-san wrote the lyrics!) to the Japanese Red Cross Society. This project will continue till they sell out 150 records (or until the end of April). I already got mine! IT'S GREAT! For details: http://mockhillrecords.com/shien.html