Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Hello everyone. How was your Thanksgiving? WaFoo has been hosting Thanksgiving party every year and we invite our friends and fellow musicians to our party. Nothing connects friends and brings the funs alive like parties. We all forgot about works and all, and really raised the roof at the party. We ate a lot, talked a lot and laughed a lot. It was a good day.

Illustration: Emperor Penguin Empire

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Art exhibition of Noriko Yano's "From the Forest to the Sea"


I went to the opening reception of the exhibition of New York based painter, Noriko Yano, at The New York Public Library in East Village. Her idea was to represent the forest and trees with using Kanji (Japanese characters). That is exactly what our band member, Sanae the calligrapher, is doing. Well, both artists are starting from the same idea but I thought Sanae put emphasis on the beauty of calligraphy itself more than anything, and contrary Noriko the painter would use calligraphy as a building block of larger art work. That was the thought I had with me.



New York Public library - Ottendorfer Branch
135 2nd Avenue (close to the corner of 8th St)
New York, NY


When I saw her works, I could not care less about those involved thoughts. Her style was really abstract, but yet, I could feel the vividness and the pureness of the beauty of the nature. There was no need for explanations.

The works of Noriko Yano will be on exhibit at the library till next May. Her paintings will be on exhibit at the Consulate-General of Japan in New York as well soon. Please check them out.

Nov.25,08 to May 22,09
New York Public library - Ottendorfer Branch
135 2nd Avenue (close to the corner of 8th St)
New York, NY

You can also check out her work on this link.

Monday, November 24, 2008

We won 2009 Art Fund from COAHSI !!



We just had a great news. We were notified from Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) that we were chosen from a highly-competitive group as the 2009 DCA Art Fund grantees! We feel honored and are really happy!

We would like to thank COAHSI for choosing us and we thank all of you guys for your continuous support.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Well, we are already happy alright.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yutaka's souvenir from Japan


A few days ago, our precious band mate, Yutaka, came back to the Big Apple from the three-week-long Japan tour. We organized the welcome-back party for our precious band mate and four of the band members gathered once again. I just want to mention that our sole purpose of calling for this gathering was to welcome our precious band mate Yutaka back home but not for Yutaka's souvenir, which was a great Japanese-style confectionery. Three of us were waiting at home then the confectionery, no, our precious band mate Yutaka came in.
These are the souvenirs which was more warmly welcomed than himself: pickled squid and marinated seaweed. Pickled squid may sound disgusting to many of you but it is very traditional and popular Japanese food. Especially this pickled squid was so deeeelish! Yutaka, good job.

....and the confectionery: "Enshin" the Japanese bean-jam bun. That was great. To us Japanese who live in overseas, the taste of the buns were of real Japanese confectionery. Yutaka, as always, your choice is just impeccable.

I forgot to take the photo of wonderful cream stew Yuuki made. We grilled some meat and ate with the stew. That was also so good.

It is the home-grown siitake mushroom which we suspected that might be a highly poisonous toadstool until the last second. Three men were saying unmanly to each other "you eat it first," "no, you eat it first," then Yuuki grubbed it from the grill and ate it like nothing. She was the man.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We need your support!


Why can WaFoo hold free concerts every year? Because we have a grant. Why has WaFoo been able to perform in everywhere, in and out of Staten Island. Because we have a grant. Our range of activities is heavily depended on the amount of the grant. Gov. Patterson of New York is proposing the radical budget cut on arts, and if it passes, the arts in not only in Staten Island but in whole state will suffer. Counsil on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI) sent us the email to tell us this bad news.



I believe the grass-root activities of arts, like what WaFoo is doing, are indispensable for the development of local communities. I also believe that preserving those activities is one of the duties of societies. Putting the money on the arts may sound like taking the long way around for the development of communities but it worths every penny in the future. I strongly believe the act that the State Government taking the lead in bringing down the local arts activities can not be the administrative reform. I think the State needs to investigate each budget and find out who really is hemorrhaging the tax money meaninglessly before so readily cutting off the budget of arts in the whole state.

There are not too many things we can do but COAHSI asked us to write a letter and vocalize our opinion to the Governor. I attached the email below and it explains in details.

Dear Supporters of the Arts,


Governor Patterson is proposing massive budget cuts for New York State, which includes cutting funding for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

If this budget proposal goes through, it will affect COAHSI's ability to operate and give out grants to the arts community impacting directly on arts organizations and arts-in-education programs that receive regrants.

We need to take steps to ensure that we don't lose our funding!
Take a minute to email Gov. Patterson here or fax: 518-474-1513
Tell him you object to the size of the proposed cut, and point out that it pretty much eliminated the last half of the year's funding for applicants at NYSCA,
and that NYSCA is now taking a 20% cut.

Fax OR email - but make sure you do something!

Contact our State Senators: Andrew Lanza and Diane Savino and our Assembly Members: Matthew Titone; Michael Cusick; Janele Hyer-Spencer; Lou Tobacco -
and let them know how this impacts you!!

NYS Senator Andrew Lanza:
3845 Richmond Ave.
Suite 2A
Staten Island, NY 10312
(718) 984-4073
(718) 984-4455 (Fax)

NYS Senator Diane Savino:
36 Richmond Terrace, Suite 112
Staten Island, New York 10301
Tel: (718) 727-9406
Fax: (718) 727-9426

NYS Assemblyman Matthew Titone:
853 Forest Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10310

NYS Assemblyman Michael Cusick:
1911 Richmond Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10314

NYS Assemblymember Janele Hyer-Spencer:
586 Midland Ave
Suite 1B
Staten Island, NY 10306

NYS Assemblyman Lou Tobacco:
4062 Amboy Road
Staten Island, NY 10308

Again, you should point out the size of this potential cut and impact on the agency. Ask the Assembly and Senate members to decrease the proposed cut significantly. Don't get dragged into a conversation about how much, if you can avoid it. Letters are best, but if you know the person or can talk directly to their Chief of Staff or budget person, a phone call is OK. Email is not a good idea.

It only takes a minute.


Let them know that funding for the Arts is EXTREMELY important.

Thank you,

The COAHSI Staff

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Oden Party


The date was October 31st. To everyone in the States, it was the day of Halloween, but to us, it was the day of oden party. Oden is very traditional Japanese winter dish and the most important point is that you have to eat it with a lot of people. We needed to do a business meeting so we decided to make some oden later because we were going to get together anyway and we had not had a party for such a long time. We all went to Mitsuwa, the Japanese super-market, to get everything we needed for oden.
Looking to New York City from Mitsuwa located right by the Hudson River.

We ate lunch together then did our shopping. After we got what we needed, I really wanted to run back to the house with the light speed and eat oden but we did full length of business meeting at a coffee shop before we headed home. I was so starving.

When we got to the house, it was already dark outside. Kazuo and Yuuki prepared oden quickly, then Takeshi and I joined with them. Unfortunately Yutaka was on tour in Japan and Sanae had to work so they could not make it.

The oden was super excellent. It did hit the right spot. We also made grilled tuna, also delicious. We enjoyed every bit of it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Theater review on New York Times

 先日このブログにも載せた『NY 2022』のレビューが10月31日付けのニューヨーク・タイムズ紙のアート&デザイン欄に掲載されました。グッゲンハイム美術館で公演された前衛劇にWaFooから3名が出演させて頂いたのですが、その模様が書かれています。ちなみにその記事に書かれている『(劇の最後に)オーケストラのメンバーが演奏中に一人ずつ舞台を去り、最後にベース奏者が一人で終わりの数小節を独奏した』と書かれていますが、それは我らがリーダー、一雄さんです。一雄さん、大役お疲れさまでした。記事にはたいへん好評に書かれており、このプロジェクトに参加させていただいた我々も光栄の至りです。


"Museum as Romantic Comedy"(英文、ニューヨーク・タイムズ2008/10/31 アート&デザイン欄)

The review of "NY 2022" was on the fine art section of New York Times on Oct. 31st. "NY 2022" was the Avant-gaurde play we participated in as the members of the orchestra and gave a public performance at Guggenheim Museum in New York. The article says "(On the end of the play,) Beethoven's Sixth was played by an orchestra whose members rose, one by one, and disappeared into the wings as the music progressed, until the last few bars were played by a lone bassist." The lone bassist was our Kazuo-san. Great job Kazuo! They gave us a great review and we are really proud of it.

You can check out the review online on the link below. Sorry for your inconvenience but you need to register and become a member of New York Times before you read the article --- it's free.

"Museum as Romantic Comedy": New York Times - Art & Design Section Oct. 31, 08)

Illustration: Mozneko