The Payback Cigar is making a comeback! The creator of this fantastic stick is also a USMC Veteran that served in Japan in the Nineties. My review is a bit esoteric, like me, and includes some of my experiences over four decades of performing in Japan. When I was studying with the greats, one of the pleasures after grueling lessons with Balter, Marcellus, Mack, and Bernstein, was to enjoy a good cigar with them or on my own.
He takes a puff and looks at the large Fu mask hanging on his wall. “There’s only so much I can do on my own.” Matt Booth, creator of the Payback Series of Cigars
Miyajima Island, between Iwakuni Cho and Hiroshima is an example of a completely isolated island, not overly developed with the freshest seafood in Japan. The First MAW Band performed at the recognition day of the first atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima. I needed a break after that experience and took a liberty to spend the weekend on the island. It was an experience, in 1978, that I have returned many times to this idyllic place to find rest for a troubled soul
My existential experience in lighting up a Payback is so comforting to my inner soul and reminds me of the Sakura festivals in Honshu Prefecture of Japan.
Shinto is the underlying spiritual belief system of Japan and has developed over eons. The life, traditions and respect come from the core values of Shinto. Purity, Makoto – Sincerity, Harmony with Nature, Matsuri – Festivals, Focus on Now. Shinto is involved in every aspect of Japanese culture: it touches ethics, politics, family life and social structures, artistic life (particularly drama and poetry) and sporting life (Sumo wrestling), as well as spiritual life.
It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan and DC. Actually around the world! If you have never been to Japan, I feel for you. It’s a beautiful country full of life, vitality and culture.
The yearly excitement awaiting the announcement of Spring begins when the Cherry Blossoms begin their path to blooming and when they do, life stops for a space of time. The festivals are amazing, full of friendship and kinship.
I had the great joy, from the seventies as a young Marine to present day, of experiencing this rebirth of nature. It’s absolutely amazing!
To begin, here is a traditional performance of the Japanese Folk Song, “Sakura Sakura”. Relax, have a cup of green tea and perhaps some Umeboshi or a full plate of Oshinko, Japanese pickles along with a light addition of Poke or Ika Yaki!
By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nippon Japanese Restaurant in Houston, Texas is my go to place here for the authentic experience! It’s now in the second generation of a traditional Japanese family owned restaurant here and it’s wonderful. If you are in Houston, be sure and stop by. Tell them Jere sent you. The Uni is fantastic as is the shashimi.
From many of the masterpieces of the koto house, Michio Miyagi is a musician that represents Japan, promotional video we produced this time “Sakura Variations” As the first step. This work is composed in Michio Miyagi is 1923, very as timeless classics even now about 90 years have passed since a popular work. To represent the Michio Miyagi of the music world, please watch a performance by the Miyagi Orchestra volunteers. In winter, the “Spring of the sea” as the 4th we plan to up the promotional video. Please stay tuned. Miyagi Soke Facebook: Facebook.Com/miyagimichio Twitter: Twitter.Com/miyagimichio Web: Www.Miyagikai.Gr.Jp
Ah, the inspiring music of the Koto! The Geisha Houses are still active and quite relaxing. Taking a stroll down the Ginza or in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a nice place to be also during this time.
Cherry trees of the Imperial Palace “dry street (dry as)” pass-through in the spring of introduction to the general public. Was for the first time published, about 75 connecting from Sakashita Gate Kitanomaru Park to near the dry Gate 0m. Inui street bloom 76 cherry trees, such as Yoshino cherry tree in the spring. Until now, New Year and the Emperor Reborn except for the general Sangha production date, generally was not able to pass through it is. Open to match the full bloom of the cherry blossoms will be the first time. Cherry Blossom In Imperial Palace (Tokyo) The Imperial Palace, Where Their Majesties The Emperor And Empress Reside, Is Situated In The Center Of Tokyo. The Palace Is Surrounded By A Water-Filled Moat And Tree-Covered Grounds Of Nature Within The Bustling Metropolitan City. In Commemoration Of Umbrella Kotobuki Of His Majesty The Emperor, Opening To The Public Is Performed According To Imperial Palace Inui Street In Spring. Inui Street Has 76 Cherry Trees And Is The Perfect Place For People To Experience The Beauty Of Nature.
In Japan, time progresses and for an updated version of this very traditional folk song, enjoy!
Rin ‘- Sakura Sakura ((Sakura Sakura)) Instrumental
I apologize for my absence as of late but I have been dealing with some health issues. Coming up is my take on Japanese Cuisine, Culture and my life there and here in the States. It’s wonderful being an artist and having the opportunity to travel the world as a performer and teacher.
An Excerpt from my forthcoming autobiography, “The Man in the Penguin Suit”, about my time as a US Marine stationed in Japan during the seventies.
Act 1, Scene 4
I graduated from the Naval School of Music and went to my first duty station in Iwakuni, Japan. After sleeping for a day due to the jet lag and crossing the International Date Line for the first time, I was met by a friend from the School of Music who came to the receiving barracks and said, “Douglas, get up, time to show you Iwakuni and get you settled in the Barracks!” LOL. I think I lost a couple of days there with the Moose River Hummers, the Bar Hostess’s, checking into base and playing a Christmas Concert that to this day I do not have any recollections of doing, but I did it well, obviously.
Life in Japan was wonderful and what a great adventure! Outside the front gate was Four Corner and Three Corner and that was my first area to become aquainted with. There was Wimpys for late night burgers and such with a Japanese twist, the New Manhattan Bar which is where the First Marine Aircraft Wing Band hung out, Jimmy Son, Mike Son, Michi Cho, Tomi Cho and Sachici Cho. Hiroshima was not that far away and Tokyo on the Bullet train was only a couple of fun hours away.
I could talk about the people we performed for both in the band and otherwise, but I prefer to talk about us, the ones in the Uniform or as the title of this book says, the Man In The Penguin Suit.
Being a part of a wonderful unit is always fantastic and when the finished product comes together in a performance it is very fulfilling! However, in my journeys around the globe there is one thing that stands out to me. People may know the organization and the sound of the individual people, but does the audience actually know the people in the orchestra, band or group? It’s interesting as listening to people talk, they can wax poetic over the last performance of Cher but do not really know the back up people, the stage hands, the light techs or the ones that make everything come together for that one stellar moment in time, the performance.
I guess I was lucky at times as I did a lot of solo work in Japan and the Far
east along with Australia during this time frame and thought I was making a name for myself. What I learned was that as a Marine, I was representing not only the Marine Corps but also the United States as pwhat we did in the world of Public Relations was what a lot of people saw as a product of the United States. Being in the Marines also was not limited to combat situations as we were also involved in Special Olympics around the world, working with orphanages, some of us volunteering our time to help build schools, homes, teaching, sharing with others in the civilian world. But the thing that stood out was being a United State Marine and in the Full Dress blues, that appeared to be all that was needed as part of the unit. By the way, just to clarify, I am very proud and honored to have earned the title of United States Marine, but what do I do after my time in the Corps?
While I was in Japan, I took the time when we had liberty, to travel to the home of the Suzuki Institute as the Suzuki method was new and it was unique to me! I met the creator of the method and had some wonderful enlightening conversations over tea and sushi with him about adaptability and other things, including working on my Japanese. I also traveled a lot to Tokyo on the Bullet Train and hung out in the Yamaha store trying out the horns and just having a grand old time when I met some of the designers and instrument repair people there. It was quite interesting as a Buffet man, that they actually wanted my input on a new line of clarinets they were developing and the new line of saxophones. Imagine that, a young Marine possibly affecting the next generation of musicians. I felt a bit overwhelmed later at the Clarinet Convention where I tried out those lines of instruments. Humm, maybe I’m more respected than I thought. Oh well, moving right along.
(Stay Tuned! It gets better!)
Empowering, Creative, Interaction, Living Life As An Art Form