On the 13th of april 2013, we were invited to play a concert in Ishinomaki, in Tohoku. This is an English translation of The photo diary.
The name of the hall is the Yugakukan.
The place was rather far from my parents' house in Tokyo. When we arrived after getting five different trains, I said to myself: -Well done Momoyo you made it... My husband was impressed: -Well done Japan, all the trains were on time...
Mr.I was there when we got off the last train at the station. I was told early on the day that he was absent from the hall because he was ill. So my first word to him was,
"Are you alright?"
But he said he was looking forward to and could not stop coming to pick us up. It was touching!
The organ was placed in the middle of the big open space between different halls and rooms. There were glasses everywhere and the main office was just next to the organ. As I heard that the meeting room was behind the office, I felt curious and asked: -Is there no problem when someone's practicing the organ? Don't you hear too clearly the organ to continue the meeting? -Ah! No problem, because we don't have meetings when there are organ practices. Priority to the organ rehearsals.
I could not believe his words.
Around 3 p.m. we heard some cheery voices of children coming to the library or the swimming pool also situated in the culture complex of Yugakukan. Here, hearing the organ seems to be a part of their usual life.
After the rehearsal, when we went out from the hall was the view of the two hundred prefabricated houses still fully lived since the tsumani of the 11 march two years ago.
In fact the Yugakukan was then used as an urgent hospital and all Japan saw the place on TV. It was the first lunch time concert since that desaster that we have an honor of playing the following day. Though Mr.I told us the work in the hall has been taken up as usual nowadays, we know that there is no budget for the culture or almost, still this year. My meeting last year with the brave organist Kaori Goto was the reason of our invitation today and we wish her best of luck for the future activities of the hall.
Mr.I drove us to a train station and we went back to Sendai, where we took a pause in the station building looking down the sunset.
Then a school friend of mine came by car to take us to her home. We had not seen for ages, as she got married and moved to Sendai from our school town in Tokyo. She is now a piano professor, like her mother was. Even if we had met in an athletic club at school, she was one of the classic music 'mentor' to me and she told me to listen to Prokofiev, thirty years ago! I still love listening to the recommended third piano concerto.
She and her husband, together with their two children prepared us a wonderful dinner with speciality of Tohoku. We of course spoke about the tsunami but could not stop talking about music.
The day of the concert was fun like an excursion. With their two cars they brought us to Ishinomaki, which meant no more fuss about train time table!
My worry was about some CDs and presents we brought to give away after the concert. There will be not enough presents for everybody, how to distribute them...?
Mr.I simply proposed to do the "Stone, Paper & Scissors". I was a little bit taken aback. But they are not going to do like children?
Sure enough, after the concert, people were completely taken by the game, and they just fought over presents through "stone, paper and scissors". All presents were won! It was such a fun.
After saying goodbye to the kind Mr.I, my husband had a big wish to visit the atelier Katsuura Organ of the builder of the hall, Katsunuma-san. He and his wife kindly accepted the visit of six of us.
He showed us specially his restoration of the street organs. The son of my friend tried to turn the handle and found not easy to keep the right rhythm!
Then my friend's family took us to the beautiful seaside of Matsushima. It impressed me to know that people live so near from the sea. It just inevitably made us all think about the 11 March.
For lunch we had one of those wonderful preparations with the seasonal ingredients of the place.
I wish to come back to Tohoku in the near future and to see again my friends. It made our wedding anniversary unforgettable, as it happened to be!
And the pair of very pretty sake glasses offered by Mr.I were brought with care to our home in Brussels.