Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

Music Goddess Uehara Hiromi

The Gods of Music have anointed Uehara Hiromi as one of their own, the Music Goddess who now travels this mortal coil spreading joy where ever she may go.

Here, exuberance exudes from her heart to all, via her Goddess-like unparalleled musical skills and divine presence.

She was born in Hamamatsu Shizuoka, Japan, where Yamaha also boasts its origin.

ヤマハ浜松ビル

Could it be the Gods of Music looked down upon Hamamatsu Shizuoka and Yamaha saying, “Let there be a child prodigy.”

“She will go forth into the world, and bring joy to all who hear the magic disseminated from her anointed fingers for the edification of all who hear.”

And so there she is, embodying the fundamental essence of music, disseminating her divine vision throughout our world.

Indeed, Hiromi has left a very deep and meaningful impression after viewing interviews in both Japanese and English, and hearing her philosophy, which one can access inside her music.

Extremely complex in technical demands, her music simply takes one to a different level, where her heart is in direct communication with each listener on an infinite number of levels.

Intrinsically, Hiromi’s music is a celebration of the common humanity we innately share.

Here, she expresses her divine visions, sending out a clear message of human unity through her music.

Moreover, two anointed brothers, Mr. Anthony Jackson and Mr. Simon Philips, masters in their own right, join her on the incredible trio journey to unite humanity through music, our universal language.

One could say Hiromi embodies the YAMATONADESHIKO spirit.

After the Great Tohoku earthquake, March 11, 2011, Hiromi felt the Yamatonadeshiko spirit calling her home from the States.

She said “ I had never felt that Japanese in my whole life”, as she comforted her compatriots with live radio and TV performances.

She cradled Japan’s wounded soul in her bosom of music and facilitated healing amongst the devastation of this unprecedented natural disaster.

Indeed, sometimes the Japanese referred to Japan as the “country of disasters”.

災の国 wazawai no kuni

Even so there is also

災転じて福と成す wasazai tenjite fuku to nasu

Turning disaster into fortune

And as sure as the sun shines off puddles after rain, the sun will continue to shine upon Japan again, again, and again.

So, the deepest appreciation to our cherished daughter, the Goddess of Music, who continues to bless all of us each and every day, Uehara Hiromi.

Dan Son Jo Hi

Dan Son Jo Hi

Dan Son Jo Hi

Dan Son Jo Hi

This title is an actual four-character-compound that is known by most Japanese.

男尊女卑 (Dan Son Jo Hi) Predominance of men over women.

Recently there has been some controversy concerning a decrepit, past-expiration-date politician, who has historically been looked upon by the common Japanese with palpable distaste while being widely considered somewhat of a moron.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals made from recyclable electronic devices

Mr. Yoshiro Mori also proved himself to be quite useless as a short term prime minister, and a poor excuse as the head of the Japanese Olympic committee. All the while running off from his own mouth, creating unpleasantry and disdain for all of those around him.

Mori Yoshiro the Braying Donkey

One took an impromptu survey of several Japanese women about this controversy, over a wide range of ages, and the general consensus was clear.

This is the level of most politicians, so there’s really no reason to pay much attention to them.

Really, the women of Japan, have much more pressing issues on their minds in this changing world than some irrelevant old fart, and the senile nonsense spewing from his filthy trap. 

These women are truly busy raising their children during a global pandemic, keeping the household afloat, probably working outside the home, and in many cases taking care of their elderly parents. 

Their hands are already full enough without joining this pointless never ending debate.

True to feminine Japanese form, these women shied away from having their picture taken, although the lady on the right managed to get in a peace sign.

井戸端会議ー森会長の意見のいきなり調査

Indeed, historically in Japan it was not only women who were treated as inferior, but all of the common Japanese citizens, and this is also embodies in a four-character-compound.

官尊民卑 ( Kan Son Min Pi) Putting officials and bureaucrats above the people.

This mindset  is so ingrained into the Japanese psyche, that this is not something the Japanese really give much thought.

Is Japan overdue for a little bit of western style gender equality? 

Why not!

1971 March on Washington and San Francisco WOMEN'S CONTINGENT

Remember, yelling at stupid people won’t change anything.

Indeed, in over three decades of living in countryside of Japan, it is my clear understanding that in order to tackle any systemic issue in Japan, one must go to the underbelly of the beast, which is also know as:

“The System”

What exactly is “The System” one may ask.

It is our ancient culture and society, built upon millennia of form, order, and process.

A Jomon stone figurine or gangu. Komukai, Nanbu-cho, Aomori, Japan. Jomon Period, 1000-400 BCE. (Tokyo National Musuem)

One believes the common Japanese understand bureaucrats and politicians are only momentary placeholders, and to most they are faceless, mindless bureaucrat, and self-serving narcissists with no purpose in life but to serve their own department and tribe within “The System”.

How can change be effected in Japan concerning this festering issue?

One believes we must laud, honour, and recognize the great women of the past who blazed trails for the modern women, working to make a more equitable system for the daughters of the future.

Many of the important stories of the pioneering women of history have become obscure and their groundbreaking achievement in advocating for women’s rights have been lost in the commotion of the modern world.

Let look at the example of Tsuda Umeko, the 6 year-old daughter of a samurai, who was included in the Iwakura mission to America at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration.

Shige_Tei_Ryo_Ume_Sutematsu_in_Chicago

Tsuda Umeko at 6 years old

She arrived in San Francisco in November 1871, and remained in the United States as a student until she was 18 years old.

By the time Tsuda Umeko returned to Japan in 1882, she had almost forgotten Japanese, her native language, and experienced cultural problems adjusting to the inferior position of women in Japanese society. 

Regardless, with the help of her friends Princess Ōyama Sutematsu and Alice Mabel Bacon, she founded the Joshi Eigaku Juku (Women’s Institute for English Studies) to provide equal opportunity for the education for all women, regardless of their predetermined position in this vertical society..

Sutematsu,_Alice,_Umeko,_Shigeko

Continuing in the face of adversity and chronic funding shortfall, Tsuda Umeko spent much of her time fundraising to support the school, which ultimately left her in poor health. 

Still, unrelenting in her enthusiastic efforts, the school gained official recognition in 1903, and after World War II, the school became Tsuda College, which is one of the most prestigious women’s institutes of higher education in Japan today.

津田塾大学

Despite her hardship as a women in Japan, she did not advocate for a feminist social movement.

Her activities were based on her wise and noble philosophy that education should focus on developing individual intelligence and personality. 

Which is really the crux of the matter when one come right down to it, is it not?

Crux Of The Matter

How does one as an individual, regardless of birth circumstances, take each precious day with the intent to become a better version of one’s own self?

This is the message from Tsuda Umeko, and one that should be taken to heart by all the future women pioneers, in the noble question to achieve equality.

Tsuda Umeko as an Adult

Culture point 1

Thankfully, Tsuda Umeko is now being recognized by the Japanese government for her pioneering work in women’s education and as an icon of the Power of Women, she will be featured on the new Japanese ¥5,000 banknotes to be issued in 2024.

Tsuda Umeko on the ¥5000 Note

Request:
Please send in your stories of pioneering women from all corners of our earth, and they will be include in updates to this post.

Here we will honour these women and lauded them for their great achievements and praise the sacrifice they made so as for our modern world to a better place for all today.

#1 Alice Mabel Bacon 

アリス・ベーコン Alice Mabel Bacon

Born in New Haven Connecticut on February 26,1858, Alice Mabel Bacon was an American writer, women’s educator and foreign advisor to the Japanese government in the Meiji period. 

In 1872, when Alice was fourteen, Japanese envoy Mori Arinori selected her father’s home as a residence for Japanese women being sent overseas for education by the Meiji government, as part of the Iwakura Mission. 

Alice received twelve-year-old Yamakawa Sutematsu as her house-guest, and for ten years the two girls were like sisters, enhancing each other’s interests in their deeply different cultures.

In 1888, Alice received an invitation to come to Japan from Yamakawa Sutematsu and Tsuda Umeko to serve as a teacher of the English language at the Gakushuin Women’s School for Japanese girls from aristocratic families. 

After a year stint in Japan, she then returned to Hampton Normal School as a teacher.

Hearing about one of her students wanting to become a nurse, but was refused entrance into training schools because of her race, Alice established a hospital at the Institute successfully in May 1891.

In April 1900, Alice returned to Japan to help establish the Joshi Eigaku Juku (Women’s English Preparatory School), which was the forerunner of Tsuda College, staying until April 1902.

During most of this period, she assisted Tsuda Umeko on a voluntary basis, refusing monetary compensation except for her housing, obviously having been anointed with a higher purpose.

Based on her experiences in Japan, Alice also published three books and many essays, and eventually came to be known as a specialist of Japanese culture and women. 

Along with Tsuda Umeko, Alice wrote an in depth look into womanhood in the Meji era in a book entitled “Japanese Girls and Women”, which was originally published in 1891.

This important and ground-breaking work by Alice is to be remembered, lauded,  and passed on, to all who seek to understand equality.

Alice Bacon is a symbol of early modern women empowerment, and embodies the meaning of perseverance. 

Thank you Alice Mabel Bacon for your contribution to the advancement of Japanese women. 

Bonus: Read these stories of some women of Japan doing their thing, their way.

Massage My Soul

Japanese Women Power: Mercedes Benz Mechanic

 

Shoes On, Shoes Off

Shoes On, Shoes Off

Shoes On, Shoes Off

Shoes On, Shoes Off

Now, say the title again with the voice of Mr. Miyagi, the karate master to his young disciple, Daniel LaRusso, the downtrodden and bullied boy.

Wax on, wax off.

Recall, where the training started?

The first of many training session consisted of washing and waxing the cars.

Clock-wise, wax-on.

Counterclockwise, wax-off.

If one can not recall this extraordinary cinematic event in the Karate Kid, or is too young to have ever heard about this important film, the refresh is below:

The seemly disconnected start of the karate training was significantly different from the constructed reality of the young grasshopper own mind of what karate training actually is.

Things are not what they seem.

Shoes on, shoes off.

reasons_take_off_shoes_minute_walk_in_house_toxins

One will notice after arriving in the Land Of The Rising Son, that more often than not, one must remove the shoes before entering a house and often in restaurants as well.

This was not the case growing up in the countryside of British Columbia where most of the time people wore their shoes in the house.

Recalling an very unfortunate incident where as a child the outside shoes were worn onto a friend’s mothers beautiful plush white carpet, after having failed to wipe off the doggie poo before entering their house.

I am truly very sorry for this Mrs. Henderson.

ごめなさい I am sorry

Indeed removing shoes before entering a dwelling makes perfect sense, why would one carry the impurities of the outside world to pollute one’s own inner sanctuary?

Here is the shoe secret:

Loosen the laces.

Crush down and flatten the heals of your beloved shoes under the boot-heal of the incessant shoes on, shoes off reality.

Shoes With Crushed Backs

Perhaps the shoes on, shoes off protocol leads to subconscious and ingrained disciplines, like keeping one’s outside world separated from the inner sanctum of one’s private life, thus maintaining one’s sanity.

And now here.

Mask on, mask off.

In the simple reality of going about one’s regular outside life, the mask protocol is just like every other Japanese winter flu season.

Except from now on it will extended throughout the year, to include all and has become the social norm in Japan without much further ado.

Moreover, the Japanese have already been socially conditioned to wear their metaphorical mask from an early age in order to co-exist in this ridged hierarchical society.

Perhaps the mundane tasks of life such as wax on, wax off, shoes on, shoes off, and now mask on, mask off, will lead to being mindfulness of one’s own life form, order and process, as one continues to fortify one’s own constitution and resolve in this new mask on, mask off world.

Bonus 1:
Now circle around to the beginning of this post and watch the masterful outcome of the wax off wax philosophy here:

Bonus 2:
Recommended footwear

New Slip On Shoes

Recommended Footwear 04

 

 

 

Recommended Footwear 05  Recommended Footwear 01 Recommended Footwear 06

 

Bonus 3:

Not recommended footwear

Not Recommended Footwear 06

 

Not Recommended Footwear 08 Not Recommended Footwear 01 Not Recommended Footwear 05 Not Recommended Footwear 03 Not Recommended Footwear 04 Not Recommended Footwear 07 Not Recommended Footwear 02

Is My Wife a (Good) Witch?

Is My Wife a (Good) Witch?

Is My Wife a (Good) Witch?

Is My Wife a (Good) Witch?

There is a specific reason why one thinks perhaps she has some kind of special powers, as she continues to conjure up things from other worlds, and manifest them here into this world.

The first inkling I had my wife was a (good) witch, is she conjured up our beautiful black cat by doing the following:

In the summer of 2014, she drew the two drafts of our new black cat.

BlackCatOriginal-Draft-01

BlackCatOriginal-Draft-02

She then created a large outside painting to include the black cat, and in this painting it also indicate the new cat was; “Welcome”.

BlackCatPainting-Final

Lo and behold, in November of that very year, my friend James was suddenly followed by an abandoned black kitten in serious distress.

I think somehow this starving, scared, and cold black kitty could sense James had a kind heart.

Proving his instincts to be true, and perhaps being drawn closer and closer to us under the (good) witch’s spell, James took him into his home.

After cleaning him up and taking a trip to the vet for a check up, James then posted a video on social media looking for a new home for this extraordinarily beautiful cat (James already had 4 cats).

Of course, my honorourable wife immediately contacted James, and off we went to see the black kitty cat; it was love at first purr for both of us.

We were able to adopt this most beautiful and wonderful cat, and he was named “Pancakes”.

Pancakes-01

Now, I am no expert on witchcraft, but perhaps you are not allowed to keep both the spirit infused painting and the actual conjured subject of the (good) witches desire.

This is where it gets a bit weird.

After we scrapped the old wooden deck in the winter of 2015, the picture of the black cat was also taken down. Of course one wanted to preserve this extraordinary piece of art somewhere as a memory of how Pancakes made his way to his new home.

However, while we were burning the remains of the decayed wooden deck, the White Witch of the Land Of The Rising Son…. I mean honourable wife, suddenly threw this wonderful piece of art in to the pit incinerating the picture into a pile of ash.

Hmmmmmm.

You tell me….

All the more so wonderful, our lives got significantly better in so many ways after Pancakes joined our family.

Indeed, the magic continues to come to us day after day.

Thank you so very much White Witch of the Land Of The Rising Son for conjuring up Pancakes.

Deep gratitude also goes to Pancakes as well, for choosing us to live as a family, while protecting us every day, and when necessary, also taking our sadness away.

The Milk Of Human Kindness

The Milk Of Human Kindness

The Milk Of Human Kindness

The Milk Of Human Kindness

Imagine waking up as an eight-year-old and seeing a stranger sleeping in your living room.

For most, this would be a most unusual occurrence, however, not in my childhood household.

I grew up in a small rural town in central British Columbia, and Trans-Canada Highway #1 runs through our small town ending at the Atlantic Ocean over 7,000 kilometres away.

Trans Canada Highway

Just to give one an idea of the difference between Canada and Japan. The land mass of Canada (9,984,670 km2) is 26 times that of Japan (377,975 km2) and Japan has a population (126,000) of approximately three times that of Canada (38,000,000). 

A lonely hitchhiker standing out on the deserted highway by himself vainly trying to hitch a ride east as dusk fell on summertime Canada.  

If you didn’t get a ride by dusk, you were toast!

Lonely Hitchhiker

He wandered over to my dad’s dealership looking a little lost and in need. 

After chatting with him for a while dad took him to our home, fed him, and gave him a place to sleep for the night.

Or that is how I recalled it. 

Actually, after talking to my mother recently, I found out this stranger wandered into my father dealership looking a little disoriented after getting off a bus. 

After assessing the situation, dear old dad decided to display the Milk of Human Kindness and took this stranger home for a much needed rest and some food. 

My mother, hear the story called the Health and Human Services the very next day.  

Turns out this man had escaped from a mental institute in Vancouver and made his way to our small town by bus. 

The good new is that he was soon repatriated to the asylum after spending the night in my boyhood home. 

Regardless of the way this stranger came to sleep a night in our humble abode that summer day, the salient point here is the expression of good will my father extended to strangers in need, in other words: The Milk of Human Kindness.

Looking back now, I can say for certain those were much simpler times.

When I first came to Japan, one thing I noticed was how kind (most of) the Japanese were to me, as a novelty foreigner and welcomed guest. 

As time marched on, I also noticed how the Japanese strive to create an atmosphere of congeniality and harmony toward those in the group the associate with.

Could the Japanese society be where the Milk of Human Kindness is the default?

I would have to say that kindness is kind of like the default for most of the Japanese.

A recent example of a small act of kindness would be while one was playing badminton the other day.

One of the members brought along his two daughters. 

Both early elementary school children, the older girl who is in grade 3, approached me and suddenly gave me an origami crane as a small gift. 

Lovely Origami Crane

Is this an example of the Japanese societal norm of kindness? 

I would like to believe this to be so.

Having observed my father’s kindness toward strangers, one has chosen to carried on his legacy of good will toward fellow citizens of the world. 

I once saw a struggling foreigner on a cold and rainy night at a gas station filling up two 18 litre kerosene containers. Having finished filling my tank at the same time as him, I saw him start to walk carrying these heavy containers in the icy winter rain. One beckoned him over to give him a ride. He gratefully accepted, and one came to understand he was originally from Sri Lanka, and was in Japan worked in factory. He lived with his Sri Lankan wife an his elementary school child about 1.5 kilometres from the gas station. As we unloaded the kerosine container, I pulled out a brownback (¥10,000 Japanese bank note), and gave it to him, as an unexpected gift.

Now, more than ever, we are all in need of a little more kindness and understanding, and indeed a positive celebration of the rich diversity of our shared earth.

Keeping one’s heart and spirit open to the Milk of Human Kindness makes it all the more likely acts of kindness will come shining one’s way. 

Earth at night was holding in human hands

 

Language is a Concept: Wa-Harmony

Language is a Concept: Wa-Harmony

Language is a Concept: Wa-Harmony

Language is a concept: Wa-Harmony

Understanding concept of “wa”, is to gain an understanding into the Japanese way.

All languages are a reflection of the emotional, spiritual and intellectual characteristics of the people who created them. One could say language is embedded into the speakers DNA.

In essence, all languages are social concepts.

The older, more structured and more exclusive a society and its language, the more expressions and terms it has that are embodied with cultural nuances which fundamentally control the attitudes and behaviour of the people.

The word “wa” (和) or harmony expresses an essential Shinto concept of harmony between humans, nature, and all things within nature.

This is what the Chinese called Japan long before the emergence of Japan as a unified country.

In the seventh century, Japan’s reigning imperial regent issued a series of edicts that can be though of as Japan’s first “constitution”. The first of these proclamations was that “wa” was to be the foundation of Japanese society.

While “wa” has traditionally been translated to English as “harmony”, it had a much deeper and indeed more profound meaning in the Japanese context. 

In short, it means not doing anything that causes friction or upsets people or nature. On the other hand, it encourages actively doing things that ensure and sustain peaceful, cooperative, and harmonious relationships.

In other words, “wa” means “Japanese style” harmony, not harmony in the western English sense of the word.

As is often the case with Japanese specific cultural words, there really is no translation.

One has to understand “wa” by feeling it in the air and in the ether of Japan.

During the 1960s and 70s Japan’s economy “wa”s growing in to the second largest economy in the world, and the Japanese attributed their amazing growth to the existence of “wa” in business, government, the education system, and throughout society.

Furthermore, all of Japan’s traditional arts and crafts, etiquette, formal speech, cultural practices, and so on, are infused with the essence of “wa” or, of Japanese style harmony. 

When one comes to understands “wa”, one can gain a much more meaningful experience, when visiting the Land Of The Rising Son. 

And based upon one’s deeper understanding of “wa”, one can then see different layers in the Japanese society with the all important social construct of “wa”, in so many aspects of the Japanese life.

Ask anyone who has been to Japan what they found intriguing and perhaps a little mysterious about Japan, and they will inevitable answer; the Japanese seem to have a harmonious and peaceful society, with polite and courteous people.

This is “wa”.

Wa-Harmony

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