Good in Gardena winds down

I took our guest artists from Japan to the airport yesterday, returned the 15-passenger van, and started on the post-concert, where-did-I-put-that-thing?! reorganization efforts. I fell asleep for a few hours but can’t seem to relax quite yet, so here are some wrap-up thoughts on the events.

I have amazing friends and family. So many of our guest artists’ best experiences came from the work of others. My parents organized an amazing home-party featuring nagauta for us in Bear Valley. Hiro, Michiko, Audrey, and Maria teamed up with my parents (on their 45th wedding anniversary!) to prepare a healthy, local, organic lunch and dinner, for a total of more than 100 meals. Maz organized the whole concert setup and teardown with a host of energetic volunteers. Margaret managed the yard sale. Matt managed Burn Your Own. Mikael filled in last minute for audio recording. Jason, David, Aki, and Tomomi helped guide guests and lend support everywhere. Battle participants and concert collaborators pulled me through really challenging music and were loving and supportive the whole way.

I’m really embarrassed that I did such a poor job of introducing our wonderful guest artists during the concert. I used regular names for many of our performers from Japan, worried that I might botch their stage names on so little sleep. I also completely forgot to introduce our dancer, Nakamura Narumi (Hiromi Ashmore). Ug. I’m such a thoughtless dork. I’m so sorry Hiromi!

Katsuyukie Sensei and Katsujyuuro-san did everything in their power to help me survive the shamisen pieces and to cover for me when I made mistakes. My biggest regret is not being able to devote more of my energy to making sure they had everything they need to perform their best. I want to be a collaborator that truly features others, but Sensei and Katsujyuuro had to worry about helping me get through my parts. The incredible strength of their playing despite these distractions is a tribute to their musicianship. I’m inspired to continue practice and inch toward this ideal.

My apologies also to everyone that the concert started a bit late… it seems I’ve been running 20 minutes late for the last week.

These mistakes aside, I’m relieved the events went well and I appreciate all the positive feedback. It was a ridiculously ambitious series of events, and things could have easily fallen apart. Thanks to all those involved for being a part of this. I hope it was a positive experience for everyone.

2 Responses to “Good in Gardena winds down”

  1. Charlie says:


    You forgot to mention one other thing: music makes strangers into family. Therefore, you had a room full of “family” with you sunday. Family forgives, family helps, and family celebrates.

    You had a dream; on Sunday, the dream was realized, and your “family” is proud of what you accomplished! (Planning, playing, battle, fun, community, food, laughter, and the appreciation of music as a universal language, combined with the appreciation of “things Japanese.”) Nothing more needs to be said.

    Congratulations, Kris, on a *SUCCESSFUL* afternoon! The next one (and there better be a “next one”) will be even better!

  2. Carol Ono says:

    Great event! You put together an incredible combination of things. There was something for everyone — food, tastebud trials, solo artists, slant drum contest, and a concert featuring the On Ensemble, Shamisen artists/singers, Japanese dance soloist, and all of the variations and combinations… a rummage sale! Throughout you spoke in Japanese and English. You are truly a “work of art”.

    I especially enjoyed that shamisen solo after the luncheon. I cannot even remember his name. Wow! That was something I had never heard before…the variations on the shamisen. The “jazz” part was totally incredible. He was stunning. He played a “jazz” piece that absolutely captivated my head. I couldn’t believe it! I don’t know much about shamisen or jazz, but that was something special.

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