It has been the most unbelievably sad and tragic situations ever to strike Japan. I was scheduled to perform the Prokofiev Concerto No.1 with the Osaka Philharmonic. We boarded our flight from San Francisco, and after 12 long hours of sitting with my husband, baby and mother, we circled the Osaka Airport for over an hour. The pilots gave no explanation as to why and everybody was dreaming of a shower (or, in need of one)….After we left customs and got into our taxi, we sat in traffic for over an hour before finally seeing the very crew who were on our flight, check into the same hotel. Things seemed pretty normal and I overheard that there was an earthquake somewhere in Japan. After turning on the TV, I proceeded to watch some spotty coverage about this monster earthquake with total terror.
As I was traveling with my baby, her schedule was way off (when is it ever on?) and she was crying through the night….we woke up to watch and learn about the unbelievable devastation. I went to my rehearsals and couldn’t focus with so much on my mind. My 96- year old grandmother in Tokyo, my cousins, aunt, uncles, the suffering and pain that was going on up north as we were in the same country, the size of California. It seemed just wrong. Imagine this happening in Los Angeles, while you were visiting San Francisco when it struck. There would be total panic but there wasn’t one ounce of it anywhere here. It was surreal. I felt deeply saddened and depressed yet everything was business as usual in Osaka. People were laughing, eating, exercising, living…
There was talk about nuclear meltdowns, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, the Fukushima power plant on fire, reactor one, two, than three…a fire in the fourth, more earthquakes, the baby crying….
Australia, France, Germany and the US asked for all their citizens to go home. The BBC Philharmonic canceled their tour of Japan and my dream of going to Tokyo was quickly fading. My ailing grandmother’s long wait to meet her 8 month old great-granddaughter, was becoming just a long planned dream. I had to make the decision to leave after so much fear about what the radiation would do to the baby, not to mention my immediate family. All flights were sold out for weeks, but we got the last seats available to Hawaii. I sit here now looking at the waves of the ocean, thinking how cruel and ironic that the very same water that took so many lives away, killing entire generations of families and villages, is now a source of hedonistic fun and adventure with sailing, swimming and surfing going on daily. Next week, I have concerts in Seoul, Korea and I will return to the Far East to play Mozart #3 with the KBS Symphony. I will travel alone this time with my family returning home and me most likely, sobbing, and blowing thousands of kisses to my family and everybody in beautiful beautiful Japan.
*Please help with a donation to help earthquake/tsunami relief
1. Japanese Medical Association in America
JMSA has created a disaster relief fund to help the victims rebuild their hospitals and medical system in the areas that were hit the hardest. Your donations will be tax-deductible and will be sent to the appropriate hospitals or organizations which will be determined in the near future. The fund will direct 100% of your donation to disaster relief efforts and does not retain any administrative fee.
Alternatively, you can send a check to JMSA, 100 Park Avenue, Rm 1600, New York, NY 10017. Please indicate ‘Japan Disaster Relief Fund’ in the memo section of the check.
2. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City – Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fund
The fund will direct 100% of your donation to disaster relief efforts. The Mayor’s Fund does not retain an administrative fee.
3. Text-to-Donate for Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Efforts
You can donate through one of the following organizations by simply sending a text message from your mobile phone (billed to your mobile phone bill). mGive, the agency working to collect and process donations on behalf of the following organizations, charges a fee (for RC, $.25 fee) per donation.
The American Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10.
Convoy for Hope: Text TSUNAMI to 50555 to give $10.
GlobalGiving: Text JAPAN to 50555 to give $10.
World Relief Corp of National Association of Evangelicals: Text WAVE to 50555 to give $10.
When prompted, please remember to reply with YES to confirm your one-time, tax-deductible mobile donation. Also may text further STOP to avoid further text receiving and fee. This donation will appear on your next mobile phone bill. Message and Data Rates May Apply.
Up to date information about the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami may be found on the following websites.
Google Crisis Responses: 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami
NHK World (English)