News from Japan: Former Member Yoshi Kinefuchi Sends Greetings to the GODC

Today ( May 1, 2019) we are celebrating the start of a new era in Japan. Our Emperor stepped down due to his old age and from Today we have a new Emperor (Naruhito). I was watching the ceremonies on TV. Japanese People are in a festive mood. The new Empress (Princess Masako)is a former diplomat and Masami and I know her well. She was a junior staff when my husband was in the headquarter office. And as I was working at the Foreign Service Institute (Training institution for Japanese diplomats), I remember receiving her as one of the newly employed diplomats there. She was not only beautiful but so elegant. (She graduated from Harvard too) After she married the crown prince, she fell ill for a long time, but today she seems to be recovering. I hope she will be healthy and strong again.


Our grand daughter is growing fast. I am sending a few pictures of her and our family.

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The wrap is a sort of our traditional baby wrap in kimono style.

It is used to cover the baby with mother (or grandmother) when visiting the shrine. We go to the shrine to pray for the good health and happiness of the new born babies after one or two months. Then after 100 days (three months), we have another celebration for the baby. We call it "Okuizome" (first bite ceremony), as we start to feed the baby with other food than milk. In reality, babies don't start to eat food, but it is just our tradition.


Of course you are welcome to share the photos and my updates with all the friends of dulcimer and GODC. I always enjoy reading the group emails from Linda and keep me informed with the group's recent activities. How I wish I could join you again!

The weather is just gorgeous in Japan now. I try to take a walk whenever I can. There are lots of green spots near my house and I just love to smell the flowers blooming in the spring sun shine! It is a beautiful season again. I hope you enjoy the wonderful spring time in Tennessee too.

Love,
Yoshie

10.7.2018 News from Yoshie by Judy Beier

For about three years, the Nashville dulcimer community had the privilege of having Yoshie Kinefuchi join us in learning and playing the mountain dulcimer. Now living back at her home in Tokyo, she is sharing her love for the dulcimer with her Japanese community.

Enjoy the following photos and excerpts from recent letters from Yoshie:

Our concert last night (September 15 was a great success! We had a big audience; about 170 people in spite of rain. The feedback was very positive. They said the program was very good and our performance was excellent. The first part was the choir; we sang 10 Japanese songs. The second part consisted of a piano duo concert, country & folk music with dulcimer, viola and recorder, one Egyptian song, three songs for finale. I had the microphone before our performance in the second part and gave a brief introduction of the dulcimer: its history and structure, and how we enjoy it. The audience was very interested and listened to my explanation carefully. Some people came up to me after the concert to see my dulcimer up close and wanted more story about it.

It was truly a delightful evening. Many people said they loved the sound of the dulcimer. So I guess we gained at least 170 new fans of the dulcimer in Japan!

It was sometimes difficult for us to get together and practice regularly as everybody is busy in their own life, but each member practiced her part at home and tried our best to put them together in harmony.

I suppose the concert was successful because we put our hearts together. We had a very good time. Here is some information on our choir: The name of our choir is "Soot El Wald" (meaning "Voice of flower" in Arabic). This is a sister group of the Japanese women's choir in Cairo that was established around 1990.  At that time, there was little activity that Japanese women could enjoy there, so a few music-loving women got together and started a singing circle, and little by little more women came to join them. We used to practice once a week and sometimes visited local senior homes, schools and orphanages.

Over the years, the members of the original group have returned to Japan one after another, and around 2010, we established a new group in Tokyo.

So the members of our group are all returnees from Cairo. (Sadly, the original group in Cairo is no longer active due to security reasons over there.) This year's concert was held at Suginami Public Hall in Tokyo on Saturday, September 15th. This was our second concert in Japan. 

You were asking about the place we had the concert.

It is a concert hall called "Suginami Public Hall." It has a big concert hall, a small hall and a salon. We used the salon (the smallest space, accommodating approx. 150 people) for our performance.

It has a wonderful structure and the acoustic is really good. Unfortunately the website is only in Japanese, but I hope you can get the idea of it.

www.suginamikoukaidou.com

The gowns we wore are all hand-sewn by a friend of our member. We love the gowns too!

Submitted by Judy Beier who met Yoshie and her husband Masami during a Tai Chi class at the Green Hills YMCA. (Mr. Kinefuchi was serving as Consul General from Japan for the Southern States.)

When Yoshie overheard someone ask Judy about playing music at Uncle Dave Macon Days, Yoshie said:  “What is a dulcimer?”

Judy and Yoshie met for several sessions on Saturday mornings before the Tai Chi class began. After a few lessons Yoshie started playing regularly with the Twangtown Dulcimer Players. Now you know the rest of the story!

 
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