The view returns

Blogging is difficult in certain circumstances.  Here are a few.

  1. the blogger has no internet connection
  2. the blogger has nothing of note to say (write)
  3. the blogger has no time to write
  4. the blogger has lost interest in his/her audience
  5. the blogger has been arrested
  6. the blogger was deported to a place from which blogging is not allowed

In my case, numbers 3 comes closest to describing the recent downtime.  Working six or seven days a week leaves little time for levity!  In my case, though, “work” includes not only the dull bits one finds in any job (answering email, planning, checking budgets, attending meetings), it also consists of running rehearsals, practicing for recitals, and other musical activities.  So, dear reader, do not construe my excuse for not blogging as a complaint.  A musician who is busy making music is not (or should not be) an unhappy person.

Recent doings include two choir festivals, another organ recital, Christmas music planning, England choir tour planning, and other such things.  I did manage a full day off yesterday (Monday was a national holiday in Japan) and enjoyed a walk around parts of Tokyo with my son Masa, and a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner at home in the evening with family.  Weather wasn’t the best for photography, but there is always something to be captured while walking.  A few photos:

  1. Coffee Kiazuma Zoshigaya (コーヒーキアズマ雑司が谷)

A nice retro coffee shop in a remodeled wooden house near several shrines and temples in the area.  Lovely for walking, and delicious coffees for a good price.

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2. Somewhat dilapidated Shinto shrine grounds.  Atmospheric on this dark day.

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3. Son Masa with the 600+ year-old Zelkova tree near the coffee shop.

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4. Dream home in the Higashi Ikebukuro area.  Signs warn one not to get near during earthquakes or strong winds.  Otherwise, it’s a fine fixer-upper.

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5. Glass art at Yurakucho Station area

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6. Happy Thanksgiving,  all!

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Posted in Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Post-Requiem ride – レクイエム奉唱会後の楽しみ方

The annual Requiem concert at Rikkyo University (last Saturday, Oct 24) was a success.  I was extremely pleased with both the first-half student performance, as well as the second-half Cherubini Requiem.  I will post photos (and recordings?) of the event in a later post.

On the day following the Requiem I found myself a bit tired, so after a lazy morning, took a train out to Saitama Prefecture (Asakadai) and just walked along the little rivers there for a few hours.

By Monday, however, my batteries were fully recharged and I felt ready for a challenge.  Up at 4 am, and on the train at 5:30 with my Brompton folding bike.  I arrived in Chiba City at 7:00 and started cycling up the Hanamigawa Cycling Road after a stop at Tokyo Bay:


2015-10-26 Chiba ride (33 of 33)

Tokyo Bay at Chiba City

2015-10-26 Chiba ride (32 of 33)

Scott and Brompton

The ride up the Hanamigawa river path (花見川サイクリングロード)was really a pleasure.  50+ km of uninterrupted cycle path with changing views.  After a long stretch of river riding, the path takes the rider around several large ponds (called numa in Japanese).  Photos:


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As usual, the rider with his/her eyes peeled can spot unusual and photogenic things. いろいろな面白い物も発見しました:

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Kokeshi dolls along the cycling path

Gardenia (?) blooming along the river

Gardenia (?) blooming along the river

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a windmill imported from Holland

2015-10-26 Chiba ride (14 of 33)

two elephants imported from ??

modern jizo statues at a local temple

modern jizo statues at a local temple

My plan was to ride 50 km up the river, and the fold the bike and ride the train back to Tokyo.  I arrived at the goal at noon, though, and the weather was so fine that I decided to go on, and to find my way back to Tokyo.  Some of the country roads were dead ends:


2015-10-26 Chiba ride (6 of 33)

somewhere (nowhere?) in Chiba

Thanks to (and, at times, despite) help from my Garmin GPS cycle computer, I did make it home without resorting to trains.  The ride took 12 hours, and covered 121 km.  Would I do it again?  Given the same weather, of course!  I’d be sure to plot out a better course for the way home, though.  As you can see in my ride map, there was a fair amount of aimless wandering while trying to find the way back to Tokyo.  Arrival at dusk, with Mt Fuji and the Tokyo Sky Tree outlined by the brilliantly colored sky where reward enough.


untitled (1 of 1) 2015-10-26 Chiba ride (3 of 33) 2015-10-26 Chiba ride (1 of 33)

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Requiem Concert tomorrow @ Rikkyo – 明日!レクイエム奉唱会(コンサート)@立教大学


The 65th annual requiem concert will be held at Rikkyo University’s All Saints Chapel on the Ikebukuro campus tomorrow (Saturday, October 24th) .  Doors open at 6:00, and the concert begins at 6:30.  The concert is in two parts; part I consists of the student choirs in performance, while part II is a performance of Luigi Cherubini’s Requiem in C Minor.  The students will be joined by graduates of the choir and a 25-member orchestra.  The dress rehearsal went very well last night, so I think it will be a fine performance.  I will be directing both halves of the concert.  Admission is free, and the chapel fills up early, so plan to arrive a bit early to get a seat.  In case you are not familiar with the Cherubini Requiem, here is a recording of a particularly dramatic movement, the Dies irae.  Enjoy!



Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, Rikkyo ~ 立教, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Cycling news – サイクリングニュース


News for cyclists and fans thereof.  A beautiful late-Autumn day beckoned, so I took off for a day’s ride recently.  I normally head to the Arakawa River bike path in order to get out of the city quickly.  The river is northeast from home, so I rarely see the west side of Tokyo.  This time I decided to do a bit of exploring on the west side of the city.  Here is a map of the 125 km ride.

2015-10-20 Fuchuu ride (1 of 1)

A suggestion from a student (thanks, Itoh Leo!) pointed me toward Fuchuu City and its Godo outdoor museum.  It is well worth a visit, and has not only beautiful grounds divided into several different zones, but an outdoor museum of old Japanese buildings, as well as a museum of local history and culture.  I only spent 90 minutes in the park because I had a long ride ahead.  One could spend half a day easily.  Here are some photos from the park. (If you search hard, you may find the photographer, a la “Where’s Waldo.”)

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2015-10-20 Fuchuu ride (44 of 125)

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Back to the ride – quite a symmetrical route, don’t you think (see map above)?  To be honest, there weren’t any grand sights after the Fuchu museum.  But I’ll share what there was.  The ride from Fuchuu to Tachikawa up the Tonegawa River was pleasant.  The dike road is much narrower than the “super highway for bikes” that is the Arakawa.  Still, there no lights, so one can sail along.  Tachikawa is a largish city, and if you pay a little, you can ride through the giant Showa Memorial Park and cut off distance and traffic (I rode around it).  There is art in the center of town, though I couldn’t find any information on what this creation might represent:

2015-10-20 Fuchuu ride (115 of 125)

After Tachikawa, it was a longish slog up to Ome City (a gentle climb of 90 minutes).  From Ome, there are tremendous views out to the west.  The city is perched on a bluff, with the Tonegawa river far below, and the mountains to the west.  My brain said I should ride down into the valley, but my legs warned me to stay up on the bluff.  Which I did.

The ride from Ome to Kawagoe was very pleasant for the most part.  Country lanes with little traffic until I hit highway 15.  But a jump to the Irumagawa river dike path bypassed most of that.  Here is the dike road:

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The cycling road is not complete, so one has to do a bit of finding for parts of the way.  After it hits the Kawagoe water park, however, it smooth sailing all the way to Tokyo Bay without ever leaving the bike path.  I rewarded myself with ice cream, before running the last 40 km back to home.  Details: 12 hours out (6 am – 6 pm), 8 hours of actual riding, and 125 km covered.  2015-10-20 Fuchuu ride (119 of 125)


Posted in Cycling, Nature ~ 自然, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Hiroe Rie organ recital at Rikkyo – 廣江理枝オルガンリサイタル@立教

Yesterday, October 11, Hiroe Rie played an organ recital at Rikkyo University’s Ikebukuro campus chapel.  She is a passionate performer, and one who knows how to register (select sounds) on the English Romantic-style Tickell organ in the chapel.   My favorite works from the recital were the Brahms Prelude and Fugue in G Minor, and (naturally!) Elgar’s Sonata in G Major.  This was a stunner of a performance.  The fourth movement is a bear to negotiate, but she flew through it with real feeling and panache.  Thanks, Hiroe-san!


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opening announcements by Chaplain Miyazaki

opening announcements by Chaplain Miyazaki

Ms Hiroe at the start of the recital

Ms Hiroe at the start of the recital

audience members

audience members

Ms Hiroe assisted by Sakiyama Yuko, university organist

Ms Hiroe assisted by Sakiyama Yuko, university organist


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the Tickell organ

What’s next?  The Requiem concert, of course!  You must be there on Saturday, October 24 at 6:30 pm.  Here are the forces who will be presenting Cherubini’s Requiem Mass.  Yours truly will be conducting the orchestra and chorus.  次はなんでしょう?もちろん、レクイエム奉唱会(演奏)です!10月24日(土)@立教大学池袋キャンパスチャペル(18時30分開演)以下のメンバーで演奏します(私は指揮)。第2部の曲はケルビーニ作曲のレクイエム。お待ちしています。

2015-10-11 Hiroe recital (1 of 1)

Posted in Organ ~ オルガン関係, Rikkyo ~ 立教, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment