Chief Noda: what’s in a name

In planning the birthday of Chifuru Noda for this evening, I remember visiting him at the hospital in Boston on December 11, 2018. In the semi-darkness, an attendant was asking what he’d like to eat for lunch. His breakfast sat still on the movable trolley, covered and untouched. After she left, I asked if I could eat some of his breakfast. I had no idea what he was about to tell me in the next two hours I spent alone with him.

Continue reading “Chief Noda: what’s in a name”

Corden & McCartney sing Beatles songs in Liverpool

What a great idea to travel down memory lane singing songs you wrote in the different locations of your home town! That’s exactly what Paul McCartney did in Liverpool recently. The 24-minute Youtube video moved me to tears as “Let It Be” did for James Corden, host of “The Late, Late Show” in London.

Continue reading “Corden & McCartney sing Beatles songs in Liverpool”

Summer Solstice Sunset Singalong at Standish Village

It’s a mouthful, but every single word is significant. Today is the official summer solstice in 2018, otherwise known as the longest day of the year. Yesterday, being the Wednesday that my ukulele group meets each week, we gave our first public performance for the senior residents and staff members of a nearby building. Sunset is that magical time when you know the deadline of darkness is approaching, and everything must get done by then. To make it participative, we called our gig a singalong so the audience would be encouraged to join us in the singing. Standish Village is an award-winning assisted senior living residence, housed in a historic landmark building (no. 24 in this document), in Historic Lower Mills, just a short walk from Walter Baker Artists Lofts where we regularly meet to jam (or rehearse).

What’s noteworthy? One person had just learned how to play the ukulele three weeks ago in my crash course, four others had never performed on the ukulele before, and it was our first performance as a group.

Continue reading “Summer Solstice Sunset Singalong at Standish Village”

Ukulele Melee 2018

The first time I saw the name of the festival “Ukulele Melee” I thought there was a typo or misspelling. I knew that “mele” was the word for music in Hawaiian. What then was “melee”?

“Melee” means a confused fight or mass of people, a word that originated from 1640 French mêlée and Old French meslee meaning “brawl, confused fight; mixture, blend.” It wasn’t until the one-hour drive to the festival in Hamilton, Massachusetts that morning of Friday 27th April that I learned the origins of the festival name.

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The flower of sanshin: san shin no hana 三線の花

A love song played over loud speakers at the 2015 annual Maui Okinawan Festival brought back memories of growing up on Okinawa.

At the annual Maui Okinawan Festival, I heard three youngsters announce the songs they would be dancing to. When one of them added “and this one is my favorite,” I took out my iPhone to record it and began my journey of discovering this famous song about the Okinawan instrument. Continue reading “The flower of sanshin: san shin no hana 三線の花”

Online course about social media for educators

Taking an online course for educators on teaching via social media helps legitimize and make sense of the amount of time spent in it.

I’ve attended webinars. I’ve even organized online conferences and moderated presentations. But I’ve never participated as a student in an online class until yesterday evening. I’ve heard my colleagues talk about the challenges of giving an online class, but as a student, it was dead easy to participate.

…. please visit the new blog about this course at WED628  — as we meet Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm HST !!

Facebook happenings

Record, store, and share what you want to remember on Facebook.

One way to learn what’s happening in other people’s lives nowadays is through Facebook.

Half of my friends on Facebook are musicians. The other are non-musicians. Through Facebook, I learn which conservatory classmates have graduated, have given standing ovation concerts, and have moved to another country. About a third of my “Facebook friends” are people I’ve not actually had a conversation face to face.

Today I spotted a wedding photograph of a young man I’ve known since he was not even born. I’ve not known or been part of his life in the last 10 years or so.  Perhaps that’s why I was not invited to the wedding. After all, I was a friend of his father and late mother. How I miss her! There were times when I really wished she was here to give me advice.

I’ve been trying to get my parents to use Facebook so that they can follow what’s happening. They resist. It’s either too private or too time consuming. Secretly I think that they’d rather do the traditional interaction of face to face.

For me, Facebook is a stage. I populate it with photos, videos, and trains of thought. It’s also storage for memories along the timeline.

I believe there’s a saying that goes something like this: “it hasn’t happened until it’s been recorded.”

What better way to record, store, and share what you want to remember than to post it on Facebook?!? If you change your mind, you can always delete it.

Twitter for musicians

Twitter is more than a broadcasting medium though many musicians may think so. Here is a journey from experimentation to practical implementation to discover just what Twitter does and can do.

When I got alerted to Brian Reinhart’s article “Music and Twitter” via twitter, I just had to tweet back that I intended to write a blog about it.

Not that I’ve become an expert at Twitter after over a year of tweeting — I joined the Twitter community like I did with Facebook and LinkedIn because I was curious and that I thought everyone else was doing it. The “kiasoo” nature in me pushed me to get a free Twitter account. Kiasoo means afraid to lose out in the Chinese Hokkien dialect.

I decided to follow those that I knew had a Twitter account. I tweeted this blog and everything else I thought was interesting. When others started following me, I reciprocated. It was flattering to get followers. After awhile, I couldn’t keep up. I no longer reciprocated.

I did not know the rules of Twitter, only that I wanted to make sure the number of people following me were more than the number I followed. In other words, I was still a performer — I wanted more people in the audience than on stage. I wanted to blast out my latest thoughts, concert reviews, future concerts, video clips, audio clips, and everything else that musicians use to get attention.

I thought of Twitter as a kind of broadcasting medium, the same way I initially thought of Facebook and blogging and websites.

Twitter is more than that.

When I started tweeting for Price Rubin & Partners, I noticed that tweeting was no longer a game or a personal experiment. There had to be a rhyme and reason to spending time online dreaming up messages and truncating them to the 140 character limit.

When tweeting on behalf of an organization, you are communicating the values of the group — not just yourself. You cannot be whimsical and say something as personal as “I had to pay an overdue fine for library books I didn’t get to read.”

I asked myself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of having a Twitter account?
  • What is there to gain from the Twitter community?
  • What information do I want to know that I can’t get elsewhere?
  • What do I want to see when I sign in my Twitter account?
  • What kind of attention do I want to attract?
  • What kind of followers do I want to have?
  • What kind of messages should I send to attract those followers?
  • How often should I tweet — without the risk of being “unfollowed”?

In two weeks, I doubled the number of followers. The number that I’m following now is more than 6 times the number that’s following me. But this is not a numbers game.

It’s about relevance.

I want to deliver relevant content in a timely matter. And when I check my Twitter radar screen, I want to see my own “newspaper” of news, gossip, reviews, interviews, opportunities, etc from orchestras, opera companies, classical radio stations, performance art series, artists with interesting opinions, etc. If I see anything I’d like to share, I’ll retweet it.

I should think other Twitterers are doing the same. Maybe not. Maybe they are like me a year ago, still getting their egos rubbed and tweeting into a void of noise.

Useful advice and tips for musicians on how to use Twitter:

Any other good tips? Please LEAVE A REPLY on the comment section alone. Thanks in advance.

Holiday greetings: the personal e-mail

Holiday greetings in the form of a personal e-mail makes the recipient feel special. How do you do that when you have thousands of friends?

If you’re on a path like I am to declutter what burdens you physically and mentally and simplify your life but at the same time build your network and grow your relationships, you would be grateful to be receiving holiday greetings and gifts that help you along that journey.

The way we send seasons greetings has also evolved from offline to online — fewer cards by post and more e-cards and greetings by e-mail. Some have even skipped the e-mails altogether and gone to Facebook with one photo and tagging people to look at the photo and messages.

There was a time when Christmas meant the madness of shopping and wrapping up presents before the deadline of Santa Claus’ arrival. It depends on your age and stage in life, I guess. For me, the last week of the year has turned into a time of reflection, a time to count your blessings, and acknowledge those you are thankful for.

I’m grateful to be on the mailing list of friends who have many contacts and who send one universal greeting to show they care. Generic e-mails and photos (like the previous blog posts) and cleverly put-together images (such as a collage of photos) and well-written newsletters are some examples of these.

Once in a blue moon, I get a long e-mail that I know is one of a kind. It’s written to me and for me to read. It’s a gift I treasure greatly. I would like to write such an e-mail to my friends — every one of them will feel as special as I did when I got mine.


I was going to ask “how are you?” but you’re living in Hawaii so I’m assuming you’re loving life!  🙂   But really, I hope you’re doing well adjusting to your new surroundings…oh yeah…now there’s a tough adjustment!  Palm trees and ocean views!  Ha!  Anyway…I’m glad you’ve got time to relax and enjoy with all of the traveling and performing that you’ve been doing.

I’m sure you’re enjoying wonderful weather!  We are about to get hit with 16 inches of snow starting Saturday night!  We’ll see… I guess I better enjoy the full moon while it’s still visible, eh?


I enjoy reading your updates on FB and LinkedIn, and of course, seeing that gorgeous smiling face of yours in all of your pictures!