Category: Uncategorized

Kelley Park-Japanese Friendship Garden

KelleyParkReunion-1-061818We had a small reunion! Some of the delegation members from April 2018 were able to drop by Kelley Park and with the help of several of San Jose’s City Councilmembers, their staff, Vice Consul Ryo Aono (who had help from Kevin O’Donnell from the Consulate of Japan SF) and San Jose-Okayama Sister Cities volunteers (Denise Esparza, City of San Jose Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services, Elanor Sakamoto, translator), sponsors (Catherine M. Tompkison), SJOSC  Board members, Elizabeth Chien-Hale, Tina Urata, Dr. Mototaka Senda, Kathy Sakamoto – We also had students who will be participating in the Homestay in Okayama 2018 (July) program this year!

We must acknowledge our wonderful Sister City International Special Ambassador, Mr. Shin Koyamada and his wonderful wife, Nia Lyte! They always add so much to any event! Shin is a martial artist, having studied and competed in many martial arts disciplines. He is also an actor, gaining fame as “Nobutada” the son of the samurai played by Ken Watanabe. Shin is also a Special Ambassador for karate for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and a Board member to Sister Cities International.

We have great support from San Jose City Councilmembers, D10-Johnny Khamis, D3-Raul Peralez & his wife, Victoria & Chief of Staff Christina Ramos, D4-Lan Diep and staffer Thulien Dang,  D8-Sylvia Arenas (represented by Lauren Urhausen, D2-Sergio Jimenez represented by Vanessa Sandoval and last but not least, D7-Tam Nguyen & staff Louansee Moua.

The Kelley Park Japanese Friendship Garden was modeled after the great Korakuen Garden, one of the three great gardens of Japan which is on the grounds of Okayama Castle. The Castle is known as the “Castle of the dark bird” or “Crow Castle” because of the dark background of the walls of the building.

The garden in San Jose, CA was damaged severely during the flooding in February of 2017 and is still being restored. The descendants of the original koi flown to San Jose, CA as gifts to San Jose from Okayama City, Japan, still inhabit the filtered pools in the Kelley Park Japanese Friendship Garden. A new filtration system is needed to allow the fish back in the larger pond areas. Since this costs in the $100K range, a lot of fundraising is needed. All funds to Parks & Recreation must go through the Parks Foundation.
https://sanjoseparksfoundation.networkforgood.com/projects/30832-japanese-friendship-garden-fund

Ray Furuta, accompanied by Kanako Yamasaki at Okayama Music Festival, Japan

Flutist Ray Furuta is representing San Jose by invitation from Okayama Music Festival held annually in Okayama City, Japan. He is accompanied on piano by Kanako Yamasaki

Their lists of accomplishments is best served by reading their bios. Suffice to say that they have worked internationally to great acclaim while maintaining their connections to local community.

*****

Praised for “Sophisticated” (San Francisco Classical Voice) performances, Ray Furuta has established a reputation as “one of today’s top young concert artists” (Del Mar Times). Officiated as a cultural ambassador to the U.S. in 2014, Furuta has performed and taught world-wide.

He has been a featured artist for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Miami Chamber Music Society, Juilliard School, and United Nations to name only a few.

As a dedicated chamber musician, he is the Artistic Director of Chamber Music Silicon Valley and has performed with renowned artists including Jon Nakamatsu, Peter Frankl, The Weilersteins, and members of the Kronos, Avalon, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, and Emerson String Quartets.

As a powerful teaching artist, Furuta is the Professor of Flute at Santa Clara University. He as also given master classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Stanford University, New York University, University of Victoria, Gettysburg College, and more. As a recipient of the infamous Staller Scholar Award and honored as a distinguished alumni in 2016, Furuta earned is Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Stony Brook University where he was a pupil of Carol Wincenc and the Emerson String Quartet. His other mentors include harpsichordist Arthur Haas and pianist Wu Han.

“THE PROTÉGÉ OF THE GREAT FLUTIST, CAROL WINCENC”

RAY@RAYFURUTA.COM

Furuta Press JP (1)

Shin Koyamada elected to Sister Cities International Board of Directors

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We are very happy that Shin, a native of Okayama, Japan, is the first Japanese national to be a part of the Sister Cities International Board of Directors. In addition to his work as an actor, he has spent a majority of his time doing non-profit work to help other countries in the fields of humanitarian aid, the arts, business and education. For more information about the Koyamada Foundation (Shin & wife Nia) see http://www.koyamada.org

Cheers!

Wonderful concert!

Although we know that these types of events take a lot of time, planning, careful execution and lots of support, they are also some of the wonderful benefits of the sister cities programs and relationships.

Anyone who heard these young, talented musicians know that their teachers, conductors, assistants, families and sponsors have every right to be bursting with pride. They were wonderful.

Thank you to Matsuda-san for ‘modeling’ & Okayama East Rotary for providing the t-shirts to both groups of musicians and for helping make this concert a reality!
SJYS_OYO_Aug2017-Tshirt Matsudaa_san

Joint concert-SJ Youth Symphony & Okayama Youth Orchestra-Aug 6th 2pm in San Jose!

These two youth orchestras are amazingly different and amazingly good. They will each share their repertoire, led by their own conductors, but also will join forces and share the stage for two pieces.

Sixty eight young musicians from Okayama will be in San Jose for this event. And the San Jose Youth Symphony, fresh off their tour of Europe this summer and their summer camp, will delight you with their musicality and expertise.

Making this even more memorable is the tribute to peace between nations that this concert represents during this 60th Anniversary year of the establishment of the Sister City relationship between San Jose, CA and Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, on the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Hiroshima is sister cities with Honolulu, HI. The bombing took place on Aug 6, 1945.

In the current era of unrest in the world, we want to celebrate the good things that the youth of the world can bring towards a peaceful and beautiful future.

Tickets available online (Hammer Theatre Box Office)
$5

SJYS OYO joint concert 8-06-17Tickets

Understanding where Kibigaku came from

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Kibigaku is the composite art with music and dance, which was founded by Yoshihide Kishimoto, a Gagaku musician of former Okayama domain in 1872. Kibigaku was performed when Munetada Shrine in Omoto, Okayama City was built. And since then, Kibigaku has been the official ritual music of Kurozumikyo (a type of Japanese religion).

Gagaku was made up of music and dance of Asian countries and those of ancient Japan. Its base was established in around the 10th century and has been passed on until now in various ways. Gagaku has been performed as the music for the court and religious ceremonies.