A short trip to Hakone 〜 箱根への短い旅

It was at a recent organ recital that a friend reminded that I haven't posted anything interesting for a month or so. (Thanks, SD) Well, I haven't really done anything of interest for a month or so, to be honest. Work is always interesting to me, of course, but the daily ins and outs of dealing with students, running a music program, preparing for classes, etc., are not really blog material. Be honest – do you want read about my method of choir training? I thought not. Thank you for your (devastating) honesty.

But back to the subject at hand – SD's comment spurred me to do “something interesting.” It isn't easy to find – this something interesting. Luckily, “the wife” and “the son” had birthdays coming up, so “the son” we three headed to the mountains for a short stay. Aha! Something to report, finally. Here are a few photos of the Hakone area.


Hakone Open Air Museum 箱根彫刻の森

Sunset at Lake Ashinoko and Mt Fuji 夕暮@芦ノ湖

Usually prohibited on The View, today we have a few personal photos. A Hakone special.

And finally, the Editor in Chief of “The View from Tokyo.” In his best serious mode, as usual.


Posted in Nature ~ 自然, Photography ~写真 | Leave a comment

Upcoming organ recitals at Rikkyo – オルガンリサイタル@立教の情報

Here are two organ recitals scheduled for this semester at Rikkyo University.  All university-sponsored recitals are free and open to the public.  今学期の立教大学主催オルガン・リサイタルは以下の通りです。是非、お越しください。

  1. Aota Kinue, organist at Tokyo’s Roman Catholic Cathedral (May 14, 2:00 pm).  This concert will be held in the Ikebukuro campus chapel.

Aota Chirashi-1

2. Fabio Ciofini, Italian organist.  June 2 at 12:30 pm in the Niiza campus chapel.

Ciofini flyer

3. The following is not a Rikkyo event, but the conductor of the Kawasaki Community Choir, Mr. Kunitomo, is a PhD student at the university.  He is a professional gospel choir director.  May 28, 2:00 pm.  次のコンサートは立教大学と直接関係するイベントではありませんが、合唱団の指揮者である国友さんは立教大学キリスト教研究科のドクターコースの院生です。本格的ゴスペルを聞きたければ、おすすめします。

Kunitomo flyer

Posted in Rikkyo ~ 立教 | Leave a comment

The View goes B&W 〜 今日は白黒の日です

Today The View is reporting in rich black and white.  Why?  Well, this is a secret for my readers (don’t share with anyone), but my “the wife” is away visiting her mother.  Which means that yesterday I had 24 hours in which to go completely and irresponsibly crazy.  Is your curiosity whetted sufficiently?  Here was the day plan of attack.

  1. Drop wife off at station, make sure she is truly gone
  2. take off walking with no plan or destination, traveling in disguise (i.e., a baseball cap)
  3. take hundreds of photos, 99% of which will be erased, just for the fun of it
  4. stop off for a pint of beer when the spirit moves
  5. buy wine, bread and cheese for the evening
  6. watch three full-length movies in succession into the wee hours of the morning
  7. pass out

I’m happy to report the day went as planned, and that today I am back to my normal, fully restrained self.  Proof of the walk is to be found below.  I wonder how you spend your crazy day when your mother/wife/husband/father/spouse is away?  Comments welcome!

Grandfather rests

Grandfather rests

Junk shop treasure box

Junk shop treasure box

Rusted things

Rusted things

Grandfather strolling

Grandfather strolling

Otsuka high rises

Otsuka high rises

Tofu shop (?)

Tofu shop (?)

Repair (junk?) shop

Repair (junk?) shop

Spring-time napping

Spring-time napping

Gokokuji cemetery

Gokokuji cemetery


Posted in Photography ~写真, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

And we begin again… また始まりました

It is April in Japan (I suppose it is where you are, as well), which means many things. To those in academia, it means the start of another annual cycle. We have just concluded graduations (photos below), an Easter high mass, and now just a week later are inducting new students at Rikkyo University. Welcome, all incoming students!


For me, as director of sacred music at the university, April means two days of internment at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space concert hall. It's not as bad as it sounds – Rikkyo University rents the hall for two days, and conducts seven entrance ceremonies by department for the 5,000 new students enrolled this year. The university chapel choir, glee club, orchestra, and university organist all participate to make the event as grand as possible, musically, and I am in charge of these forces. This year, all three student groups are top-level, and it has been a pleasure each time to work with them for each of the ceremonies. Next week classes begin, and the choir resumes singing at three weekly chapel services. Here are a couple of photos of the campus cherry blossoms this year.


Unlike the rainy, cold weather we are having for entrance events, graduation week was pleasant in Tokyo. Here are some of the choir students who graduated this year. They were a most colorful group who will be missed, both musically and personally. Best of luck to all of you out there in the “real world.”


Somehow, we managed to fit a fine Easter High Mass in at the university chapel (March 27), at which there were nine baptisms. I won't tell you how long the liturgy took to complete – you wouldn't believe it. Anyway, a belated Happy Easter to you and yours.

There are many musical events coming up at Rikkyo this year, including concerts by the choir, handbell choir, visiting organists and other artists. I'll try to keep you informed, so do check back once in a while.


P. S. There are rewards to be had when spending two days in a concert hall. Besides listening to our fabulous university organist Yuko Sakiyama practice the grand organ (photo 1), there are the delicious bento lunches provided by Rikkyo. It could be worse!

P. P. S.

He who writes and conducts. 筆者・指揮者



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

Hello Tokyo! 〜 ハロー、東京!

Hyde Park bird

The story of my trip to England was not meant to be a cliff hanger. My poor readers are undoubtedly going without sleep, arguing with their friends and neighbors as to whether I took up residence in the UK, or decided to return to Tokyo after all. In the end, I returned with “the wife” as planned, arriving in Tokyo on March 14. We left sunny, near-spring weather in London and returned to a rainy winter's revenge in Tokyo. Be that as it may, it is so good to be back! Home has many advantages – a shower that works every time, an electric blanket on the bed that allows me to laugh at a cold bedroom, interesting food in the refrigerator (after we went shopping, anyway).



After our day in Winchester, the last day in London was spent shopping at Harrods for gifts to take home (you didn't get yours yet? Just ask my wife – she bought one for every single person in Tokyo, I believe). This is a task I find extremely dreary. A “last lunch” at Harrods helped ease the pain. A bit.

There is nothing other to report, really. Packing up, a final dinner out, and a ride on the Heathrow Express from Paddington Station to Heathrow Airport ended the journey.
My first night home I had a craving for anything but pub food. The craving for Japanese food persisted for another day. Luckily, the choices are legion. Tempura udon did it for day 2 at home:
This trip I was away from home for roughly a month. Would I do it again? Given a couple of years to recuperate, of course. I'm occasionally asked why I don't take the choir to my own country (USA) on these tours. The answer is easy – history. Any cathedral we visit has a long list of fine musicians, many of whose music we sing. A look around any Medieval church shows the ravages of the 16th-century Reformation, as well as the work the Victorians did to restore everything (and then some) in the 19th-century. You can literally read England's history in its buildings. Add to that world-class performances of choral music available day in and day out and you've got the perfect location for choir tours. Here are two examples from Winchester Cathedral. The great Samuel Sebastian Wesley was choirmaster there, it is the first church in England that has records of having had a pipe organ (in the 11th century!), and many fine musicians have lived and worked in the building.
ご存知の方はおられると思いますが、私の国籍はアメリカです。学生たちをイギリスだけでなく、アメリカへ連れて行ったら、とよく言われます。イギリスにこだわる理由は明らかです。歴史のためです。植民地であったアメリカは現在、優れた教会音楽の伝統、そして、美しい教会はもちろんあります。しかし、比較的最近に作られた伝統です。立教の聖歌隊がよく歌う16世紀〜19世紀のイギリス音楽の現場はイギリスの大聖堂、大学チャペル、そして、王立礼拝堂など、です。イギリスの大聖堂に入ると、歴史を強く感じます。建築様式を少しでも勉強すれば、建物を歴史教科書のように読めるようになります。その中で作られた音楽と音楽家たちが活躍した場所を味わうことが出来ます。これはイギリスでしか出来ないことだから、毎回この国に戻ります。ウィンチェスター大聖堂で発見したものを例として提供します。偉大な作曲者であったS. S. ウェスレーを記念する石版、そして、17世紀聖歌隊員だった人の墓がありあす。以下の通りです。探せば、他にも音楽関係の見どころがたくさんあります。国中の大聖堂にも似たようなものがあります。

Thanks for reading! From the next post things return to normal at “The View from Tokyo.” Check back soon!

次回から、ブログのフォーカスは日本に戻ります。また来てください!ところで、ツアー中約2000枚の写真を撮りました。編集作業は少しづつしています。毎日数枚の写真をウェブアルバムにアップします。見たい方はこのページの右上、FLICKR PHOTOSをクリックしてください。


PS I am continuing to sort and edit (and delete!) the some 2000 photos I took during the trip. You can always check my Flickr photo stream (link is above on the right panel) for the latest uploaded photos. Here is one final favorite to finish this post; Hyde Park, London, at dawn.



Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, England, Photography ~写真 | 6 Comments