Tunes of Japan Networking Event

By Webmaster

JETAA Portland is pleased to invite you to ‘”Tunes of Japan,” a networking and music event.

When: Friday, December 10, 6pm – 7pm
Where: Bush Garden, 900 SW Morrison Street
Cost: Free!

There will be music performances by JETAA member Sarah Coomber (koto) and Kohei Kimura (Tsugaru shamisen) accompanied by Yumi Torimaru (taiko drum).

JETAA Portland is inviting all Japan affiliated groups to attend this event (such as JASO, Oregon Nikkei Legacy center, Portland Sapporo Sister City Association, Consulate General of Japan, etc.) It is a great chance to network with the many organizations dedicated to promoting Japan and Japanese culture in the Portland community.

Admission to Tunes of Japan is free, but Bush Garden is providing a special happy hour food and drink menu available during the performances. All transactions for food and drink are *CASH ONLY*.

Feel free to invite friends and family. We hope you will join us!

Questions? Contact Beth Schnyder

We look forward to seeing you there!

Musician bios below.

Sara Coomber Bio

Sarah Coomber began studying koto in 1994 as a JET in Shuho-cho, Yamaguchi-ken. Having studied piano from the age of 7, she initially regarded the koto as a short-term hobby that would enable her to get to know some of her new neighbors.

However, in 1996 as she prepared to return home to Minnesota, her koto teacher, Shuntomi Kuniyoshi, gave Sarah one of her old kotos, insisting that she share the koto with people in the United States. Sarah performed at a few events in the Midwest before moving to the Portland, Oregon, area in 2005, when she began studying with Saeko Saheki, founder of Seiha Miyabi Kai. Sarah has performed with that group at a number of cultural festivals and events in the area.

Sarah has a bachelor’s degree in biology from St. Olaf College, and master’s degrees in mass communication from University of Minnesota and creative writing from Eastern Washington University. She works as a public relations consultant and currently is working on a book about her experiences with Japanese culture that began when she was a high school exchange student in Yamaguchi-ken.

Kohei Kimura Bio

Kohei Kimura graduated college with Bachelor Music Performance & Education at University of Alaska Anchorage. He studied flute and classical music from 5th grade and started playing percussion from 7th grade.

Kohei started playing the Japanese taiko drum in 2002 at his former taiko group in Anchorage, AK. At year 2005, he moved to Portland and joined a taiko group called “Takohachi” with Ms. Yumi Torimaru, who is the co-founder of the group.

Starting last winter, Kohei studies tsugaru shamisen (Three-Stringed Japanese Instrument) under his teacher Mr. Mitch Iimori. One of the reasons Kohei started playing the taiko and tsugaru shamisen is to get to know his Japanese native heritage, culture, and music. Being born and raised in the U.S., Kohei never had influences from his own ethnicity, so this was a big change for Kohei.

Kohei also started performing live tsugaru shamisen performance at his family owned restaurant, Bush Garden, every Saturday.

He has now started playing the sanshin (an Okinawan three-stringed instrument) and eventually would like to also perform the sanshin at Bush Garden.

Yumi Torimaru Bio

Yumi Torimaru graduated from Portland State Universtiy with Bachelor in Biology. Yumi started playing taiko in the year 2002 with the local taiko group “Portland Taiko”.

A couple of years later, she decided to make her own taiko group and she founded the group “Takohachi”.

Just like Kohei Kimura, one of the reasons Yumi started playing the taiko and tsugaru shamisen is to get to know her Japanese native heritage, culture, and music.

Yumi is also learning tsugaru shamisen and the sanshin.

Besides taiko drumming, Yumi is also joined with the local Brazilian Samba Group “The Lions of Batucada”.

Filed in: Past Events • Monday, November 15th, 2010

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The Portland Chapter of JETAA (The JET Program Alumni Association) was created to serve the bonds of friendship developed by the program participants. JETAA’s purpose is to achieve, through its activities, a broader and deeper understanding between Japan and the other countries participating in the program.