Hello Japan!


The last time I played music with the Amana band was in 2002 in Hawaii. They’ve been inviting me to visit them in Okinawa ever since.

Whoopee. I am going to Japan for a month—to play music, talk about sustainable living, and lead a weekend workshop October 20-22 at a campground where we make magical objects from recycled materials per instructions in Living on the Earth, walk in the forest, do yoga, massage each other’s feet, cook outdoors and sing for each other at our campfire. All this as the guest of the Artist Power Bank, an environmental arts group, at whose Tokyo cafe and educational center Kurkku I will do my environmental awareness concert and talk at 7 PM on October 18th.

When I first get to Tokyo, I’ll perform jazz and blues from What Living’s All About at the deadhead nightclub Yukotopia, founded by my friend Yuko Tsukamoto. That will be at 8:30 PM on October 8 and at 7:15 PM on October 9.

Toward the end of my stay, I’ll visit the band Amana in Okinawa, where I will play a mixed set (folk, Hawaiian, jazz, blues) on October 28 at the two-day Happy Flower Beach Party Festival. On October 29, I’ll attend Soul of Donto, a tribute festival that Sachiho Kudomi, the leader of Amana, is putting on to honor her late husband, the rock star Donto, at which his songs are performed and the devoted fans in the audience sing along. 

All of this was made possible by Koki Aso, the journalist who created a six-page photo and interview article about me that ran in the June 2005 issue of Be Pal, Japan’s premier environmental and outdoor living magazine. He wanted to see me have a Japan tour, so he contacted Artist Power Bank, which is buying my plane ticket.

In between the Artist Power Bank activities and the Okinawa trip, I get to visit him and his wife at their historic traditional Japanese farmhouse outside Kamakura, too, where he has a vegetable garden and makes his own miso. Goes fishing on weekends. He’s a real back-to-the-land kinda guy.

I am returning for the first time since 1974, when I toured as a guest of Soshisha, Ltd., my publisher, in support of the Japanese editions of Living on the Earth, Being of the Sun, and my three children’s books. I was astonished to discover large political demonstrations and honored to meet artists, writers and environmental activists. 

I delighted in the beauty of even the most mundane things, drew lots of pictures, and ate everything served to me with pleasure. As a California native, I’d rarely seen buildings over 100 years old. In Japan I saw temples and statues over 1000 years old. Mercy! The gardens. The architecture. The crafts. The graphics and design. And what sweet people.

I can hardly wait.