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One of the highlights of our group trip to Japan was the privilege of being in a private residence, partaking of a tea ceremony, dressed in antique kimonos. Our gracious hostess held up a Kanji and told us…’This is a moment in time that will never come again…treasure it!’

I had such a moment on Sunday in the art filled home of philanthropist and supporter of the arts, Carol Henry. Adrian Spence, Founder and Artistic Director of Camerata Pacifica had invited me to a Salon to meet Grammy winning composer Libby Larsen.

Listening to Libby telling us of her life’s pathway, her direction for composing was thrilling… truly a treasured moment in time.

Most interesting of all, when she enters any new space, she hears the sounds of the space. I immediately thought of Bonnie Schwartz, art student and violinist who along with hubby Charlie, were part of our group trip to Japan. Bonnie had told me how she interpreted Japan via sounds and I was thrilled to be able to mention this to Libby. Here’s part of Bonnie’s experience:

Impressions of Japan In Sight and Sound

by Bonnie Schwartz

Sunrise, 4:00 AM in Tsukiji Fish Market

The auctioneer begins ringing a bell, very slowly, and then accelerates faster and faster to a frenzied presto, and suddenly, silence!  He places the bell at his feet and begins chanting a pitch-perfect D natural.  10 seconds later, a second auctioneer joins in on F-sharp, creating a bright major third above the first.

Silence, the space between the notes, the “fallen warriors” of camelia blossoms, a shower of cherry blossoms, the void inside the pottery created by Tani Toshitaka in Shigaraki-Yaki village, falling snow at Kongobuji Temple.  

The rhythm of the bullet trains in Kyoto, and the music at each station:  “Spring” by Vivaldi, “Oh, Susannah!” the Pastorale Symphony and Beethoven’s 9th, chiming arpeggios as the train pulls into each stop, and a welcoming 2014 Olympic fanfare at Yudanaka’s arrival platform.

The pearl divers’ sad whistling sound known as “Iso-Bue” considered one of the best 100 sounds of Japan.

Karaoke!  Children’s TV! Surprise birthday song at the teriyaki bar, Shamisen player at the Tokyo National Museum, and koto players, drums and flutes (gagaku – court music) at Yasaka Hall, Buddhists chanting at Sekishi-in Temple

Water:  the rushing spring water at Hashi Bridge where Kobo Daishi greets pilgrims and visitors, Kegon Waterfalls cascading near Lake Chuzenji, the patter of rain on umbrellas in Kyoto, splashing water at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura, the 3 waterfalls at Kiyomizu Temple:  wealth, wisdom, and youth, trickling water through bamboo canes at Meiji Shinto Shrine, the swish of fish at the New Otani Samurai Kiyomasa Kato Garden.

The art of Yosegi Zaiku including wooden music boxes at Hatajuku in Hakone.  I bought one that played a Japanese folk song about going up into the mountains to see the flowers and fish.

Gongs in Nikko at the Buddhist Toshugu Shrine while climbing 273 stairs to the tomb of Tokogawa.

Kurodani Village:  a paper-making mountain town situated next to a winding stream dancing with waterfalls, where Tomonobu Yamamoto, paper maker, pounded and mixed the mulberry strips in a rhythmic  5/8 which is one-two, one-two-three. Yes – swish-swish-rest-rest-rest-swish-swish, rest-rest-rest:  1-2,1-2-3;1-2,1-2-3. (Now say that 10 times fast – ha ha)!  Imagine pushing the slurry forward twice then pulling it back to rest and let it drip.

The only thing missing were the Kodo drummers, but I heard them perform twice in Los Angeles – rapturous!


Libby graciously agreed to my showing a page of her composition ‘Land’ that will debut with Camerata Pacifica in April.

And I immediately ordered this book of poetry that inspires her.

Coming down to earth it was finally time for Laurie Pie to come over for our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange.

When I say dinner I mean Laurie’s classic garlic bread that we always devour and her ‘everything’ salad which is soooo yummy! Kita got a treat of Parmesan cheese. Can you say ‘Thank you Laurie’ Kita?

Whoops…Laurie Pie, how could you forget the garlic for the garlic bread???

Thank you Laurie Pie for the cool fountain and the equally ‘cool’ PJs!

You all know who this is who also got real cool PJs!

Laurie loved the Jo Malone and the blouse I got her so we could go ‘Twinning!’

Have you experienced eating at a ‘Kura Revolving Sushi Bar?’ It’s soooo much fun. The dishes speed past you and you have to be quick to snatch them off the conveyor belt.

Actually it was sooo much fun… we had 12 plates plus a Sake to go!

The robot that brings your drink order to the table is crack up fun!

O.K., enough frivolity. Time for serious attention to trees with master Bonsai expert Yoshida-san and his talented helper Carlos. Of course Kita the Akita is ever ready to supervise!

Remember the scroll that Kita the Akita killed? Jhonny picked it up at Chiang’s frame!

It’s always a joy to see Effervescent Nicole Scipione at Center Theatre Group’s Donor Events!

Thank you CTG, ‘The Secret Garden‘ was marvelously magical and I so hope everyone gets to enjoy it!

Fortunately I had phoned ahead for a reservation at Kendall’s Brasserie!

They had a busy week and were out of quite a few items. I had been wanting to try the Onion Soup for years and finally took the plunge… it didn’t disappoint!

Few choices for the entrée…

Oh well, there’s always desert but first choice on that was gone as well!

Delightful Maxwell, in charge of Beverage Service, stopped by to chat.

Thank you Lovely Valerie for a delightful and inspiring end to February.

Luncheon at the California Club, part of the ‘Women’s Wellness Series’ featuring Dr. Pamela King who spoke on ‘Grow Your Own Joy.’

It’s always a joy to see dear Alyce Williamson.

A world of thanks dear Conchita for sending so many copies of ‘What If…‘ to all your friends!

We say goodbye to February with gratitude for each joyful moment and wishes for a lovely month ahead!

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