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Michi Hirata North made her p... Michi Hirata North made her piano debut in 1938 as an eight-year-old prodigy.
Let me share the story of some of why Michi Hirata North, pianist, is performing this “Beiju” (88th birthday celebration) event and honoring Hidemaro Konoye with her Town Hall concert on this 2019 November 10th. There are three main reasons.

The first is that Mr. Tanaka, temporarily in New York, saw Sam Goto’s cartoons of Michi for her last concert at Meany in the North Am Post four-years-ago. Tanaka-san emailed me and said he had been looking for Michi and would I send her contact information to him. Subsequently, he returned to Japan and shared the CD with his friend Mr. Tawara - whose work was diplomatic relationships with Russia, but his hobby is of collecting a vast amount of memorabilia of historical musical professionals in Japan.

Mr Tahara wrote Michi saying, “I saw you perform as a teenager in the late 1940s. I’ve been looking for you for 65 years.” Michi is one of the only ones still living from the WWII era of well known musicians. Mr. Tawara has close relationship with They immediately produced CDs for distribution from Michi’s concert. The studio executives are excited about getting an even better recording for posterity. Tanaka-san called Michi in September to say he is coming for the concert, from Japan.

The second reason for this concert is Michi reconnecting with the granddaughter of Hidemaro Konoye and the Konoye Foundation of Music. Hidemaro was the younger brother of Fumimaro Konoe (don’t know the reason for different spelling of last name). Michi was in their home on December 17, 1945, when Fujimaro committed honorable suicide as the pre-war Prime Minister of Japan who got Japan into the war with the United States.

Hidemaro was Michi’s father’s best friend. They studied in Germany together in the 1920s. Konoye is known for founding the New Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo (the present day NHK Symphony Orchestra). At the end of WWII in Germany, Konoye as one of the guest conductors of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra was isolated by the US government as the US/Japan war was still raging. He was repatriated through New York and chose to return to Michi’s home.

Michi was 13-years-old when Konoye was staying in their home in Tokyo and now she says: “Up to his visit to our home in 1945, I was obediently practicing, but Konoye inspired me to become more excited about music and performing. I traveled all over Japan with him and his orchestra from ages 14 to 18.” Michi is honoring Konoye with his orchestral composition for Chopin Piano Concerto No. 1.

The third and most remarkable part of the event is that Michi is turning 88-years-old this December 2019. Imagine, playing two 40-minute concertos, all on one November 10th Sunday afternoon and we get to be there??

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That's me on the right during... That's me on the right during one of the sessions.
Pleased to follow-up the delightful and well organized History Keeper’s Workshop last Saturday in Kent, WA. As I think about my weekly blog, I am thinking of “incident - point - benefit”.

Watching an NHK TV program this morning about Seattle's international make-up and beauty, it is inspiring me. They are showing the workers throw fish at Pike Market. They are showing the trees in downtown Pioneer Square area as well as the glass blowing shop down there. They interviewed this family from Iran dancing in Westlake Mall. The Recreational Tree Climbing company is showing how kids can enjoy Volunteer Park. It’s a series of short stories and helps me get excited about living here.

It occurs to me the same thing happens when I do research and write stories about my family. I found my father’s aunt was an opera singer in famous Hibiya Hall in Tokyo. I found out my Grandpa was one of the 100 Dairy farmers in Orillia, right there by Ikea, that once supplied half of Seattle’s milk supply around 1915 - 1920. My mother was born around the south end of South Center Mall. Most of us will be buried in the Kent Hillcrest Cemetary. It helps our grandchildren be more excited about being part of the family.

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My ancestors came from Japan for economic and individual freedom. The NHK-WORLD TV documentary, I’m watching, is about this family in Japan. The family is passing on the art of designing and weaving Obi (Japanese kimono sash) to the next generation.

The programming of NHK regularly features artists who keep original and historical ways. For instance with cooking, it includes growing and acquiring ingredients, bringing out best of flavors, making it exciting to the eyes and adding a modern twist.

I find myself appreciating my Japanese heritage values of attention to nature, integrity and responsibility. This beauty, comes from centuries of a homogeneous existence and attention to culture during 1600AD to 1800AD without wars.

There is beauty in BUILDING AND CREATING and DIVERSITY. A definition of diversity that I like is: “the ability to challenge each other’s beliefs while keeping our dignity and respect for each other”.

Living a life of beauty, incorporating diverse beliefs, is a challenge that I love! Beauty can be incorporated into each step of the process of living our daily lives. I have no desire to live in Japan. How can I pass these splendid elements of heritage on to future generations here in Seattle?

The most important way to live a life of beauty is to use the POWER OF STORY TELLING!!

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Dave Dahl spent 15 years in p... Dave Dahl spent 15 years in prison and
realized he wasn't even a successful criminal.
Dave's Killer Bread is built on the belief
that everyone is capable of greatness.
This morning I had a toasted piece of Dave’s Killer Bread with lots of butter. I love bread, but we rarely had any in our house these past 40 years to avoid Diabetes. The packaging and the fact that it was thin-sliced caught my eye at New Season’s Market a couple months ago. The label verified the fact that it was full of healthy ingredients and I loved the taste when I had a piece.

Everyone around me seemed to know the story behind the bread but me. I decided to google the story on YouTube. Wow, was I inspired!

The words I wrote on my notebook are, “GENERATIONAL WEALTH CREATION; wealth of spirit, health, assets and hope!” It fit all the areas that I’m passionate about.

There are three areas on which I plan to focus, now that I need to restart a new life. First, I don’t have to move out of the house in which I’ve hated being in alone for the last 21 months. I love having friends and relatives over for lunch/dinners.

Second, we are writing, publishing and distributing a book of SAMURAI SHIGERU The art & wisdom of Sam Goto. The proceeds will go to the Japanese Cultural and Community Center for it’s contributions to the city of Seattle. The passing on heritage values of INTEGRITY and cultural disciplines relate to all ethnic communities but it was Sam and my obsession.

The Japanese had a period of peace, from 1600 to 1800AD, which gave the people of Japan a place with cultural arts where they could put their energy instead of for wars. Therefore, the Japanese cultural values were developed to almost become a science of responsibility. Those of us with Japanese heritage here in the US are an example of overcoming the hardships of incarceration during WWII and of now being the highest per capita income group with the US census here in Washington State.

My third area is the Counseling and Nutrition business I’ve had for the last 43 years featuring the Shaklee products for good health. Shaklee helped fulfill Sam’s dream to be healthy and he was still climbing stairs until shortly before his death at age 85.

Dave Dahl’s story inspires me to continue to build and create the legacy and stories that I weave and write for those who choose to benefit, but I particularly have my great grandchildren in mind.

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