As I mentioned in earlier articles, Yukari Miyake, a vocalist of JMSDF and has been assigned to the Tokyo Band for a decade, reassigned to Yokosuka Band in March this year and was ordered in May to join the Band attached to the Overseas Training Force 2019.
Though the fleet is still on its mission tour in the Pacific Ocean, I'd like to provide you an interim report over the activities and performances by the Fleet Band up to now, especially focusing on Yukari Miyake.
On 21st May 2019, Japan Training Squadron, for the first time in the "Reiwa" era which started very the month, departed the Yokosuka Base toward the Pacific Ocean. With weather condition too severe, the departing ceremony was forced to be held inside the gymnasium in the base. Nevertheless, after the ceremony, many families and friends of the crews of the fleet saw them off on the pier in the stormy rain.
Itinerary of Overseas training Force's mission tour this time is as the chart below. This report will cover Hawaii, San Diego, Guatemala, Peru, Mexico and Tahiti out of 13 ports of 11 countries the fleet visits.
On their first leg toward port call in Pearl Harbor, 28 May, there held the wreathlaying ceremony at sea to pay tribute for bravery of many officers and sailors of both Japanese and U.S. navies who had paid ultimate price in the Battle of Midway.
The photo below probably was taken before the ceremony, judging from the sky brighter than that in photos above. Yukari Miyake is half-sitting and holds cymbals. She joined the Fleet Band not only as a vocalist, but also as a percussionist. She must have been practicing various instruments of percussion part for years while awaiting the order to be given to join this band.
The Friday lunch menu is the same for all units of the JMSDF, curry and rice. In life on board, crews tend to forget the day of the week. So curry takes a role to let them remember the day is friday as if it were a milestone. By the way, russian sentence above is pronounced "priyatnava apecheeta" and means "I wish you a pleasant appetite". It's a cliche when you find someone is eating. And it came to my mind the moment I found this photo. Yukari Miyake is serving curry and rice onto her own plate and seems to be enjoying meals on board.
In an interview video recorded a few years ago, she is asked "You seem to be always fine, how are you keeping it?". She answers smiling "I eat well and sleep well". That's exactly the truth for everyone!
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
June 3, the Squadron arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hi, U.S.A and as the training vessel "Kashima" approaching the assigned pier, trainee officers dressed in summer white long uniform make lines along the side of the upper deck, and the Fleet Band also in summer white long performs probably marches of both nations.
After mooring to the pier, "Kashima" got a courtesy call by two star admiral. I'm not sure of myself but he probably is the Chief of Staff, Pacific Fleet. Our Squadron Band colaborating with Honor Guards conducted the welcome ceremony for him.
The squadron crews were invited to JUMP (Japan - US Military Program) hosted by Japan - America Society of Hawaii the day next they arrived. In this program, Training Squadron Band held the Joint concert together with the US Pacific Fleet Band. The video below is very short one but clearly shows you how wonderful the two Bands' performance had been. Yukari Miyake was on cymbals again as a percussionist. Though some photos tell us that she performed vocal as well as instruments, there is unfortunately no video of her singing provided.
This photo probably was taken on the occasion of the joint concert. Yukari Miyake is talking something with a female member of the US navy band in serious looking face and it tells us she speaks english very well.
San Diego, California
13−16 June 2019, TS made the second port call in San Diego, Ca, U.S.A and on 15 afternoon, TS Band held the joint concert again with the US Navy Band at the Civita Park in the city.
Only one video of this concert is found up to now. Yukari Miyake sings "Gabriel's Oboe" or "Nella Fantasia" in english. It's my first to hear her singing this song. Do enjoy her beautiful voice!
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
25-28 June 2019, TS visited Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala and in the evening probably on the day of arrival, there held a reception hosted by Rear-admiral Kajimoto on the training vessel "Kashima". A Guatemalan guest invited to the reception on the ship uploaded a video he recorded in the venue, and it shows us Yukari Miyake singing National Anthems of both Guatemala and Japan at the reception. And that made me notice that she may sing each national anthem of every country the fleet visits in the original language. What a challenge! But that's her way!
The next day of their arrival at Puerto Quetzal, there held the joint concert with Guatemalan Military Band at "Guatemala national theatre" in the capital city. Yukari Miyake sang in the concert several songs and performed some instruments as a percussionist as well.
"Sakura sakura" is an old fashioned Japanese song well known and loved in Japan. It expresses joyful mind of people in the season of cherry blossoms (Sakura) blume out. You might feel strange my explanation, because the melody of this song sounds somehow sorrowful. But that's Japanese way to enjoy the beautiful blossoms and at the same time to presage them to fall.
"Soran-Funk" is a funky arrange to a Japanese folk song ever sung among fishermen who were fishing herring on boats in Hokkaido, the northern part of Japan.
She also sang "Time To Say Good-Bye" in Italian, and utterly fascinated the audience in the National Theater. This song really makes her a Diva, I suppose.
At the ending part of the joint concert there performed "Man of War" by joint military band of Japan and Guatemala. You know, this is the official march of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the precious heritage of the Imperial Navy of Japan. We are so proud of that this treasure march was co-performed with our fleet band by good friends in Guatemala!
Yukari Miyake is enjoying a conversation with Mr. President of the republic of Guatemala at a reception hosted by him after the concert. While I have no idea in which language they are talking, she may speak spanish as well as english. Her sociability backed by own heartfelt hospitality, in a sense, may be a powerful weapon even in diplomatic field. Everyone in this photo is staring at them talking.
On departure of the Training Squadron, the band performed onboard "Luna Xelaju" to Guatemalan friends who were seeing them off on the pier. This beautiful song is the soul music for Guatemalan people. In Guatemala many videos and photos of the squadron band and Yukari Miyake fortunately were found on the net.
Training Squadron (TS) next visited Callao, Peru 5-9 July 2019, and on their arrived at Callao, TS welcomed the district commander of the Peruvian navy who got aboard the flag ship "Kashima" just after they moored the ship. The salute of the guard of honor of the Training Squadron was presented to the admiral. Squadron band performs National Anthem of Japan and ceremonial music for salute of guard of honor. You can see Yukari Miyake playing cymbals in the band.
During the port visit, on 8th, there held a concert by the squadron band and Japanese traditional drum team at the Peruvian-Japanese theatre in Lima. Though there is no video provided covering the concert on the whole, local TV program uploaded a short video of it.
And as Peru is known as pro-Japan country, and there live many Peruvians of Japanese descent, the visit of Japanese fleet got great attention. The concert venue was filled with those who wanted to see the performance by Japanese fleet band.
According to the local paper there, Yukari Miyake sang ”Sakura sakura” and "Time To Say Good-Bye" as she did in Guatemala.
The video below, edited from uploaded TV program up there, shows you Yukari Miyake singing "Sakura sakura"
The audience praised them by standing ovation. I wish only if I could see the concert video on the whole!
14-17 July 2019, TS made the fifth port call at Guayaquil, Ecuaor and in the evening on the day of arrival, there carried out a outfirld concert by the fleet band at the event square "malecon 2000" along a bank of Guayas river. Many people gathered there including Navy Admirals and their families in spite of hot weather.
"Sugi（すぎ）" , one of readers of this blog discovered a video uploaded by "de todo un poco" who had enjoyed this concert at the venue. The squadron band performs "Can't Take My Eyes Off You". Cool!
I wondered if the uploader holds more video such as Yukari Miyake's singing, so I visited the YouTube channel of "de todo un poco" and asked him to upload another video if he had. He (maybe) responded me so quickly and kindly uploaded one more video in which Yukari Miyake sings a Japanese popular song "Nada so so (dialect in Okinawa, meaning "Full of tears out of my eyes"). Appreciate you, "de todo un poco"!
Early in the morning on 17 July, TS departed Guayaquill and Squadron band performed farewell music to Ecuador people seeing them off on the ground.
After departing Guayaquil, TS conducted PASSEX (Passing Exercise) with Ecuador Navy. During the exercise, the squadron band performed music to cheer trainees up. This photo was probably shot while they were taking break. Good smiles!
When it comes to Ecuador, you might recall Galapagos Islands. Yes, after the exercise with Ecuador navy, the fleet headed to Galapagos Island and passed near by. In this photo, band master and his members are taking pose, and Galapagos Island can be seen behind them.They look relax and seem to be enjoying the Islands' landscape.
Training Squadron (TS) visited Mazatlan, Mexico, from July 25 to 28, 2019. As is usual with other port call, there held onboard reception hosted by Commander, Training Squadron on training vessel "Kashima". And one of invitees to the reception fortunately uploaded a video recording national anthems of Mexico and Japan of course by Yukari Miyake. Being recorded with smart phone, quality of image is not so good, but what is important is the video was uploaded. Thank God it's precious piece! The uploaded video lacks first half of Mexican anthem, so I added lacking part from another video.
During this visit, on 26th July, a concert by the squadron band was held at the Angela Peralta Theater. Group Photo in front of the "Teatro Angela Peralta" might have been taken after rehearsal, while waiting for the concert to start. Everyone in the band looks vivid and good!
The first half of the concert this time was performed mainly with Japanese marches and songs, Yukari Miyake sang “Furusato (Hometown)” and “Sakura Sakura” . The second half was utterly different from the first one. The band performed latin melodies far more familiar to the audience there than Japanese songs. As expected, the audience got excited more than they did in the first half.
Yukari Miyake sang "Besame Mucho" in response to the audience's enthusiastic calls "Otra! Otra!". Though calm during the intro of the song, the moment she started to sing with "Besame♪", the audience screamed and showed their greatest excitement. And after she ended singing the audience showed her how they were moved by giving her standing ovation.
By the way, "sgt" one of readers of this blog happened to be staying up there in Mazatlan very the same time and got a chance to enjoy the concert. Envy him. He sent a message over the concert as the first reader who reported from overseas. And besides he afterwards uploaded 2 videos of first and second half of the concert.
①1st half of the concert
②2nd half (Containing "Besame Mucho" in it)
Papeete, French Polynesia
10-14 August 2019, TS made the 7th port call at Papeete, French Polynesia or Tahiti island. On arrival, as is usual with other visits on "Kashima" was carried out salute ceremony. I have no idea who the person being saluted is, and even can't guess for he is in civilian cloths.
More than a month, and no video nor photo of the Squadron band activity in Papeete was found yet. Never give up, search shall go on!
On 14 August, the Training Squadron departed Papeete. This photo perhaps was taken on the occasion of departure. Band master, 3 band members and a ships crew are smiling at camera. Behind them are trainee officers and a Tahitian Island can be seen over there.
How was the review on the overseas training 1st half? Enjoyed?
As for 2nd half, I'm planning to write after TS returns.