Lots of chances to see Yoko in July!

Les Zygomates

Fourth of July weekend has come and gone. The heat of summer is here, and we’re all wondering how to stay cool. Wonder no more! You can stay cool in terms of both temperature and attitude by coming to one of Yoko’s shows in the Boston/Cambridge area. For more information on any of these events, visit the Shows page.

Coming To America: Yoko Looks Back At Her First Day In The US

Yoko on Beacon St during the 1997 Boston Marathon
Yoko on Beacon St during the 1997 Boston Marathon
I arrived in March of 1997. Makoto Ozone picked me up at Logan Airport in Boston. It was a relief to see someone I knew after making the international flight from Japan all by myself. I had studied with Makoto prior to leaving Japan as well as his father Minoru Ozone. Makoto was already a well known musician and was living between NYC and Japan but he happened to be in Boston the day I was arriving. My initial impression was that Boston was such a pretty city with lots of very colorful houses, much different colors than Japan – they looked like cute doll houses to me. Makoto took me out for sushi on Newbury Street then dropped me off at the Hilton where I spent my first night in Boston, I went to sleep that night with great excitement and anticipation of what would happen in this new place.

The next day I checked out of the hotel and Makoto picked me up again and drove me to where I was going live – with a host family in Brookline in a big house with a lot of other exchange students also living there. I remember when he dropped me off I felt so lonely and sad and I was very nervous. He told me I’d be fine.

I met my host mother, who was very nice and was a big music fan. She was excited to have a Berklee piano student living at the house. We sat down and spoke English together and she asked me what percent I understood of what she was saying. I told her 50 percent but it was probably more like 30 percent!

Overlooking Boston, 1997
Overlooking Boston, 1997
I actually had to attend one semester at an English school before beginning Berklee. Since I was on a top scholarship, Berklee called me in Japan to see how my English was. I just remember answering “yes” and “no.” I thought I did pretty well but they thought it was best to study a little English before starting at Berklee. To be completely honest though, I really couldn’t speak English at all.

Behind the scenes with Yoko Miwa – educator

Yoko and one of her Berklee students.
Yoko and one of her Berklee students.
Yoko Miwa spends a lot of her time playing shows, but that’s not the only thing she does in the world of piano. She’s also an educator, teaching piano at her alma mater, Boston’s Berklee College of Music.

“When I came here from Japan in 1997 to attend Berklee, I never thought I would one day be teaching there,” Yoko said. “My original intention was to attend Berklee straight through and return to Japan as soon as I graduated.”

Yoko never applied for a job at Berklee — the school approached her three years ago and asked her to join their piano faculty. Now Yoko has a full schedule at Berklee, teaching between 25 and 30 private piano students each semester.

Yoko with some of her students after her Regattabar show.
Yoko with some of her students after her Regattabar show.
“My students are mainly focused on either jazz or classical but I’m committed to teaching whatever style someone is interested in,” Yoko said. She was offered the opportunity to take over a class from a well-known Berklee teacher who’s retiring, but she turned down the offer to keep doing more of what she likes, private lessons.

“It’s easier to share knowledge which is more closely connected to performing when I teach private lessons,” she said.

Yoko with students after a show at Scullers.
Yoko with students after a show at Scullers.

The site is 4 years old! Plus: Reserve now for Yoko’s Stellina show!

4th birthday

The website turns 4 years old this month! So much has happened in the past four years — tons of gigs all over, meeting new fans and friends, playing with great musicians. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Be sure to explore the site — there’s so much great stuff here, including photos, videos, audio and more.

REMINDER: Reserve now for our show at Stellina!

yoko

We’re so happy to be playing at Stellina Restaurant in Watertown, MA on June 26. It’s a family owned business and they’ve been supporters of ours for years. Their food is out of this world and they have a great selection of wine. Please note that this is an intimate space and reservations are encouraged.

Yoko will be playing in the main dining room, where guests can order from the complete dinner and beverage menus. In addition, Stellina will be offering special bar appetizers during the show.

There will be two sets, one starting at 6:15 and one at 7:45. The cover charge is $10 per person. Reservations are suggested for the main dining room. Additional seating at the adjacent bar is on a first-come basis. Call 617-924-9475, or go to the reservation page.

June 26: Yoko at Stellina Restaurant in Watertown, MA

yoko

We’re so happy to be playing at Stellina Restaurant in Watertown, MA on June 26. It’s a family owned business and they’ve been supporters of ours for years. Their food is out of this world and they have a great selection of wine. Please note that this is an intimate space and reservations are encouraged.

Yoko will be playing in the main dining room, where guests can order from the complete dinner and beverage menus. In addition, Stellina will be offering special bar appetizers during the show.

There will be two sets, one starting at 6:15 and one at 7:45. The cover charge is $10 per person. Reservations are suggested for the main dining room. Additional seating at the adjacent bar is on a first-come basis. Call 617-924-9475, or go to the reservation page.

At least 5 more chances to see Yoko in May!

7852889576_d8d52e677d Hi folks! If you’ve been thinking, “My May won’t be complete unless I see Yoko Miwa,” then we’ve got great news for you. Yoko is playing at least five more shows this month in the Boston area.

Hope to see you at one of these shows!

You CAN get there from here: Yoko heads to New Hampshire!

This Sunday, May 11, Yoko plays at The Press Room, 77 Daniel St. in Portsmouth, NH. The show starts at 4:30. Yoko is featured on the Foster’s Daily Democrat website. Hope to see you there!

kentMeanwhile, our blogger, Jason Crane, shares this story about his one and only visit to Portsmouth:

“My some-number-of-greats grandfather, Stephen Flanders, arrived in Portsmouth in 1638. Three hundred and sixty-two years later, his some-number-of-greats grandson visited the city on my birthday for a whale watch. I’d been on boats my whole life, but on this day, I suddenly developed a case of seasickness. No problem, I figured, we’ll be out on the water for an hour or so and I’ll tough it out.

“But no, the whale watch lasted six hours. And for the whole of that time, we chased the same minke whale around the Atlantic. Every time this little whale popped his or her head above the water, the captain would shout ‘Whale!’ and off we’d go in hot pursuit. I was green from head to toe.

“After we got off the boat, my friends and I headed to dinner. And although I was a little wobbly after hours of whale chasing, we had some amazing food in the lovely downtown.”

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Image credit: “Moby Dick or the Whale by Herman Melville.” Rockwell Kent, American, 1882 1971. Book. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Gordon A. Block, Jr., 1943.