Another month, please – もう1ヶ月ください

2015-08-18 SnowI respectfully request one more month of summer vacation.  August is already winding down, the weather has cooled off drastically, and work thoughts are beginning to attack my sense of serenity.  It has been a very good summer, though, so I suppose it isn’t fair to complain.  “The wife” and I stayed in Tokyo for the entire month, going on coffee dates, eating out, attending concerts, and generally enjoying city life (if not the record-breaking heatwave this year).  I had plenty of time for both short and longer rides, as well as for organ practice, and loads of photography.  Here are a few things I discovered while poking around Tokyo and its environs.

  1.  The city, or, rather, one small portion of it viewed from Sunshine 60 in Ikebukuro.  As you can see, there are plenty of places to explore.  2015-08-09 city ride (106 of 137)
  2. The gardens in the new Toshima Ward Office Building.  They run down the side of the building from the tenth to the fourth floor, and are stunning.  And free.  Highly recommended if in Ikebukuro.2015-08-19 Toshima Kuyakusho (9 of 13)
  3. Temples and shrines galore.  Just ride or walk with your eyes open and you will stumble across beautiful things every few minutes.
    Nishimukiten Shrine, Shinjuku 西向天神社、新宿

    Nishimukiten Shrine, Shinjuku 西向天神社、新宿

    Sangakuin Temple, Toda, Saitama 三学院(埼玉県戸田市)

    Sangakuin Temple, Warabi, Saitama 三学院(埼玉県蕨市)

    Sangakuin Temple, Toda, Saitama 三学院(埼玉県戸田市)

    Sangakuin Temple, Warabi, Saitama 三学院(埼玉県蕨市)

    4. Open air museum – I was the only visitor

    Urawa Museum of Tradional Architecture 浦和くらしの博物館

    Urawa Museum of Tradional Architecture 浦和くらしの博物館

    Urawa Museum of Tradional Architecture 浦和くらしの博物館

    Urawa Museum of Tradional Architecture 浦和くらしの博物館

    5.  Oddities also abound

    Toda tin house

    Toda tin house

    Dream house, Toda City

    Dream house, Toda City

    6. Museums.  We didn’t get to too many this year, but did enjoy an afternoon in the Tokyo National Museum.

    China, 6th Century

    China, 6th Century

    These and many more photos can be seen on my Flickr site.  You can access it through the photo album link (above right) or by clicking here.

What’s next?  Plenty!  Choir camp runs from Sept 1 – 11, for starters.  I’m also performing an organ recital at St Paul’s Anglican Church here in Tokyo on Sept. 26.  The Rikkyo University choir will be joining me on the second half.  Here’s the poster:

?????? ショウ先生コンサート 2015.9.26

Posted in Cycling, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Report – 2015 Summer Church Music Workshop at Rikkyo – 報告:2015年夏教会音楽ワークショップ@立教大学

This year’s summer church music workshop at Rikkyo University, sponsored by the Institute of Church Music, took place August 1-2-3 on the Ikebukuro campus.  This year’s selection of classes was particularly rich, with newly added classes on handbells and reed organ maintenance.  Here is a photo journal of the three-day workshop.


1. Opening lecture, given by Professor Abe Yoshihiko.  The lecture considered the reasons for the Christian church’s use of music in its services over the centuries.


2015 RICM summer workshop (76 of 78)

2. My two-day choir workshop.  The group rehearsed and sang for the service of Evensong on Sunday afternoon.  The solo for the anthem was ably sung by Rikkyo choir bass part leader Shuya Oto.

私の指導した聖歌隊ワークショップ。2回練習し、日曜日の夕の礼拝(Choral Evensong)を奉仕しました。アンセムのソロは聖歌隊現役ベースパートリーダの大東さんでした。

2015 RICM summer workshop (36 of 78)2015 RICM summer workshop (9 of 78)

3. Organ lessons.  This year we had rich selection of four different classes – French classic organ music at Niiza on the Fisk organ (sorry, no photo), German Baroque chorale preludes, English organ music, and reed organ repertoire.


Yuko Sakiyama leading a workshop on English organ music

Yuko Sakiyama leading a workshop on English organ music

2015 RICM summer workshop (34 of 78)

Sonoko Itoh teaching on the historic Yamaha (1941) reed organ recently restored and acquired by Rikkyo University

my session on the Beckerath organ in the Magnolia Room

my session on the Beckerath organ in the Magnolia Room

4. Since the Yamaha reed organ featured prominently in this year’s workshop, Itoh Sonoko, Yuko Sakiyama and I gave a joint evening recital on the organ.


2015 RICM summer workshop (25 of 78)

piano and organ duo (Franck’s Prelude Fugue and Variation)

2015 RICM summer workshop (27 of 78)

Sonoko Itoh performing.  Her husband restored the organ for Rikkyo.

5.  Another new course this year was for handbell ringers.  Mr. Shimoda, the university’s handbell choir instructor, was in charge.

もう1つの新しいプログラムはハンドベルのためのワークショップでした。立教のハンドベルクワイアの指導者である下田和夫先生が三日間を通してテクニックを指導されました。2015 RICM summer workshop (48 of 78) 2015 RICM summer workshop (46 of 78)

6. One of my favorite events every year is the meditation session led by Ajuko Ueda, with selections of organ music performed by Yuko Sakiyama.  It is a much-needed hour of cooling down during the busy three days.


2015 RICM summer workshop (22 of 78)

7. A lecture on children’s hymnody by Rikkyo University chaplain Hikari Miyazaki.


2015 RICM summer workshop (33 of 78)

8. A group photo of the participants in the Sunday Evensong service.  Hearty thanks to all who sang, played, and otherwise participated.  See you in 2016!


2015 RICM summer workshop (1 of 78)


Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, Organ ~ オルガン関係, Rikkyo ~ 立教 | Leave a comment

Summer vacation! 〜 夏休み!

Yes, Johnny, teachers enjoy summer vacation as much as students do.  Probably more, because we’ve had so many more years to practice.  I only started my holiday yesterday (and have to teach at open campus tomorrow – grrr), but have already worked hard had having fun.  Cycling, of course.  Shopping with the wife for things around the house.  Meals out, a concert tonight. etc.  There is so much to cram into a short time!  Here are a few photos from “what I did on during my summer vacation.”  The next post will be a very serious one, I promise.  But for today, pretty things only.

1. a temporary garbage dump on the Arakawa in Tokyo.  The sign says “special anti-terror measures in place.”  Good thing – one wouldn’t want those pesky terrorists blowing up valuable trash.

2015-08-04 ride (47 of 18)

2.  Bike lane.  I’m glad they are creating new lanes around the city.  Blue is my favorite color, and it is soothing to ride in a blue lane.  Too bad the big white letters are raised enough to give a bumpy ride, and that truck drivers find the new lanes convenient for taking naps.

untitled (134 of 95)

3. Now for the real pretty – sunflowers along the Arakawa cycling road near Toda, Saitama.  2015-08-04 ride (57 of 18)

4. Now for the less pretty.  Yours truly on an early morning ride.  This is my favorite spot in Tokyo.  Kasai Rinkai Park on Tokyo Bay.

2015-08-04 ride (45 of 17)

5-6: Full moon (so-called Blue Moon) and the Red Moon a few days later

2015-07-31 moon (48 of 10)

2015-08-03 (53 of 18)


Stay tuned for a really, really serious post tomorrow.

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

Well done, good and faithful friend

Rest in peace, my furry little friend of 17 years.  You are missed.

Islay (1998-2015)

Islay (1998-2015)

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Revenge ride – リベンジライド

I could have stayed home yesterday, basking in the dark, dry coolness of my living room.  Instead, I chose t0 head out for an all-day ride in the heat.  Exactly how hot?  40 C (103 F) on the Tonegawa cycling path at 1:00 p.m.  This, I assure you, is hot enough.  Sweat runs from everywhere on the body, including one’s eyeballs.  Why, Scott?  Why??  This is the chorus that greets me when I meet people after such a challenging ride.  There are two reasons, actually; one logical and one illogical.


1.  Illogical reason for long rides in hellish heat: my long ride last week ended at the 192 km mark.  Reason enough?  The “number people” in the audience will understand.  If you are the type that says “192 – fine distance,” then I have no more to add.  If you are a “number person,” however, your teeth will ache, your hands will shake, and you won’t sleep well until you go out for a better number.  Precisely 20o km, if possible.


2. Logical reason for long rides in hellish heat: I enjoy being out on my own, fighting heat, occasional boredom, and fatigue.  I need to see open swathes of territory with few (preferably no) people in sight.  I want to see the sun come up at the beginning of a ride, and then watch it go down later that same ride.   In fact, I want to experience all of the following:


1. sunrise over the Arakawa river 荒川サイクリングロードから見た日の出

2015-07-21 200k ride (8 of 116)

2015-07-21 200k ride (13 of 116)

Sunflower at sunrise

2. Castles and temples 城と寺

Sekiyadojo 関宿城

Sekiyadojo 関宿城

Tokouji Temple, Kazo City - 東光寺、加須市

Tokouji Temple, Kazo City – 東光寺、加須市

Tokouji Temple, Kazo City - 東光寺、加須市

Tokouji Temple, Kazo City – 東光寺、加須市

Tokouji Temple, Kazo City - 東光寺、加須市

Tokouji Temple, Kazo City – 東光寺、加須市

3. Roadside shrines found when making wrong turns; boys chasing bugs in rice paddies 道に迷った時に見つけた石像と田んぼの中で遊んでいる子供達

2015-07-21 200k ride (78 of 116) 2015-07-21 200k ride (81 of 116) 2015-07-21 200k ride (91 of 116)

4. threatening skies ドラマティックな雲

2015-07-21 200k ride (99 of 116)

5. placid Mt Fuji 穏やかな富士山

2015-07-21 200k ride (109 of 116)

6. and, finally, sunset near the end of the ride 日暮れ

2015-07-21 200k ride (116 of 116)

Now you know all the reasons I ride, both logical and illogical.  Proof of the deed:


2015-07-22 200k ride (40 of 1)


2015-07-22 200k ride (30 of 2)

Posted in Cycling, Nature ~ 自然 | Leave a comment