Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Shimizu Voice Studio Spring Recital 2014: Frozen in Spring

Aloha Everyone,

This past Sunday was the Shimizu Voice Studio Student Spring Recital at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. My voice has been acting up recently so unfortunately I was unable to perform my normal half time spot by myself due to the condition of my voice. To help me with the hard notes Amy Katsumoto the 2012 Kzoo Grand Champion  helped me sing all duets.

Before I start ranting about my half time, let me talk about how great the show turned out. So I've been attending the Shimizu Voice Studio for about 6 years now and I can say most defiantly that the show has grown and become more elegant every
year. I mean after all Craig Shimizu Sensei doesn't just teach voice, but a variety of stage presence as well, I think that's what sets him apart from the other Music teachers here on Oahu.

I was very impressed by the Young and New students on how well their vocals and stage presence was. I enjoyed the theme this year, especially because the song selection from the movie Frozen had such a wide variety.

My half time with Amy Katsumoto was awesome as usual. Amy has such a Low Voice and so strong, we sang three duets which included: Bungo Suido by Kawanaka Miyuki, Toki no Nagare ni Mi wo Makase by Teresa Teng, and Naniwa Koi Shigure by Oka Chiaki and Miyako Harumi.  My voice was more like a 75% there than it usually is. Luckily Amy was there to help me along.Amy and I closed the entire show with a Duet called: Futari de Kampai. I was pleased that my voice wasn't too shot to sing.

I would like to specially thank the Shimizu Voice studio for allowing me to sell my CDs at the performance,
the Shimizu Family for always supporting me from when I was you, Catherine Apina for stage costumes and support through out the years, and Amy Katsumoto for support and helping with my half time show.

Hikariyama Torao

Maui Matsuri 2014

Good Evening Everyone,

Sorry for such a long response time it took me to post about Maui Matsuri! Work, Recitals, and being Sick got in the way! So let me start off this post on a good note and mention how awesome the Maui Matsuri was! I believe this was my fifth time returning to Maui and every time I go there I have to mention how more beautifully green it is compared to Oahu!

grandma and I waiting at the airport on Oahu
Clarence, Cheryl, Me, and Grandma
Wait, before I jump around - maybe I should start off from the begging! Okay. So the day of the Maui Matsuri I had my "hassei," which are basically vocal warm ups; and my voice just wasn't coming out. I was singing for about 30 minutes and by that point the notes should be coming out by then! I was so frustrated. So Uncle Adam drove my grandmother and I to the airport, and I had brought my Whitney Houston's Greatest Hits CD to calm me down.  So one of my favorite songs, 'Run To You,' came on - so during the falsetto parts I would sing at the same key as Whitney. Surprisingly that brought my voice out and my voice became clear again.

You know when I was younger; I would get so excited to jump on an airplane but I guess being on so many airplanes it turns into the same feeling as catching a bus already! (Haha) The view in the afternoon was beautiful though. I got to see the Ocean and the beautiful reef as we were leaving Oahu. Once we were over Maui I got to see the awesome mountain range and the acres of farm land. It's so beautiful there! Kyah!

signing autographs
At the Airport we were greeted with Kukui Nut Leis by Clarence and Cheryl Okuma who happened to be my grandmother and I's assistance's and guides for the day. They were so friendly and nice they just made the entire trip feel just like home. They made sure they took extra care of grandma and I. Clarence even escorted me to the stage when the time schedules were a bit off. Thank you so much Mr.Clarence and Ms.Cheryl !

Grandma with Hello Kitty
My time on stage was awesome too! I was so happy that my voice wasn't raspy like it was the entire time at home during practice! The audience really participates there in Maui. When I asked the audience to yell "Yoisho Yoisho Wasshoi Wasshoi," they yelled as loud as they could! The feeling was
Yumi  Takedatsu from Maui Radio
so warm and just made me fall so much in Love with the People of Maui! In the audience I was able to see Yamada Yaeko sensei from the Matsudai Ryu Odori kai. Yamada-san also invited me to Maui for her Dance recital. It was so classy and fancy I enjoyed it! Also in the Audience was Takedatsu Yumi from Maui Radio there as well! She yelled and cheered to all of my songs as well, she even plays my new songs from my CD on her Radio Station all the time! Even Lynn Araki was there - she's just one of the sweetest woman you'd ever meet!

Alan M. Arakawa the Mayor of Maui
I sang a total of 8 songs which included three of my songs from my new CD. I opened the first part with an
older Kawanaka Miyuki song called Bungo Suido to show the versatile
tones in my voice from really low to really high. Next I sang my favorite song from my CD called Hitori Aruku, then Utamaro by Ishikawa Sayuri to show that not only can I sing but I also do some Shin Nihon Buyo Odori to, then closed the first section with Shinno Mika's Otoko Bushi. I though Otoko Bushi would fit perfectly since it was a Matsuri (Festival).

Thank you Maui for Allowing me to sell my CDs there!
The second and final half of my performance was scheduled for a later time but I was pushed up. So there I sang my Kawaii Kon winning song Ippon Zuri by Shimazu Aya. The next two songs are both from my new CD Hoshi no Hashi aka Bridge of Stars written by my grandmother Catherine Apina and Akai Tsuki which
is the main song from the CD. I closed the last stage with Arakawa Batten's Kyushu Matsuri Uta and  the audience's participation was just beautiful!

I had a little time - so I tried the Poi Mochi, and did a little Bon Dancing. I wish we would've stayed a little longer. I enjoyed every moment of it.

I would like to give a Great Special Thanks to Kay Fukumoto for inviting me to perform n Maui, Yaeko Yamada Sensei, Yumi Takedatsu Clarence and Cheryl Okuma, Maui Japanese Cultural Society, and everyone who helped me with my big day! Forever in my heart I will never forget that beautiful day.

Hikariyama Torao

p.s. - some photos were taken from Yumi Takedatsu's Maui Japanese Radio Blog.

Maui Matsuri Official Website

Maui Japanese Radio Website ran by Yumi Takedatsu

Hikariyama Torao Official Website

Hikariyama Torao Official Twitter

Hikariyama Torao iTunes

Saturday, May 3, 2014


The other day I got to see all of my best friends. Growing up I've found myself loosing so many friends along the way due to other interest. Such as going to college, work, or moving away. When it comes down to it, I have only a handful of friends that I see or even talk to on the phone with.

Sometimes I wish I could just seclude my friends (including myself) into a select area where it could just be us and our families, but then I realize how inconsiderate that would be of me. I guess it's just a part of growing up. Getting old really sucks. You know till this day I still long for my childhood. I still wish that things sometimes would be different, but then I think of how those reasons effected who I am today. So I feel thankful for all the good and the bad times. Without those times I would not have learned how to be myself.

I'm only 18 so I'm still looking for myself. I found it interesting that a lot of people my age have trust issues and start to build walls against the world. Sometimes I just want to shut the world out and sometimes I want to be open to everyone and just be a fun and crazy person.

That is why I was so happy to see my friends the other day, I am truly grateful for everyone who is in my life. Everyone, my friends, my family, my supporters and even the people who try to bring me down.

Thank you to everyone who has always supported me through the good and bad, the thick and thin, from the bottom of my heart thank you so much.