After months of practicing, the day finally came. The Chigasaki city Culture Festival, 2021.


Miho and I are members of “Witch,” a story-telling group, lead by my lovely illustrator friend, Junko (in the green beret!) Joined with Yoshiyuki Sato, a super humble and talented man (who happens to be blind and loves making crafts and playing bongos and singing,)
“Witch” strives to present stories that reflect our very unique talents in very creative ways


This year we decided to present a picture book that Junko recently published. Written in Japanese, the book describes how “boku,” (a child-like way of referring to the self, often male) a mystery character always seems to “be there” to save “kimi” (informal “you”) in times of trouble and confusion and heartbreak. We find out in the end that “boku” is ALSO the “kimi” who is being “saved;” together since birth, together till death. It is a personification of the very strong, loving “SELF” who always knows that we are “innately fine” and that we have the “stuff” to make it through whatever comes our way.


“Boku wa Kimi, Kimi wa Boku” is based on a real-life experience, which makes it all the more special. As we brainstormed how to present Junko’s story, our ideas expanded to how we could make the book go beyond pen and paper. Miho would do the narrating, I would do the animation and Junko and Yoshiyuki Sato would take care of the sound effects!


「ぼくはきみ きみはぼく」は実話の元で描かれただけに、深い意味も持ちます。本の「見せ方」のアイディアも出し合い、だんだんと通常の紙芝居を超える形で本を表現出来ないかと言う話になった。Mihoさんはナレーション、Mitzは動画、Junkoさんと佐藤さんは効果音担当。

Of course, we could not NOT sing (as we are Sunny Smiles! ha, ha! ). Junko had asked me to write a song for the book some months before…and she didn’t mind if it was in English.
So I composed … “I am Me.” 

We later found out that Sato-san, our 4th member (and who I thought only played percussion), was a member of a choir and loved to sing, too!
We definitely needed him to join this part of the act. The only problem was that he didn’t know any English. We first toyed with the idea of his only doing back-up parts, but that didn’t feel right.

So, I decided to attempt a JAPANESE version of the song. For a first timer, I was shocked at how smoothly the lyrics and music came together. Yay. In planning our 10 – 15-minute presentation, we found ourselves asking things like, “What is the sound of a heart breaking?” or “What does being prickly mad like a puffer fish sound like?” or “How can we make a “real” heart come out from a TV screen?” Fun!



と言うことで、英語で作曲した”I am Me”の日本語バージョンを書くと決めた。驚くほどすんなりと日本語バージョンが出来た。「ハートがバラバラになる音ってどんな音?」「プクプク、チクチクとフグみたいに怒っている音はなんだ?」「ハートはテレビから出せるかな?」などいろんな面白い発想を一つ一つ実現化し、完成させてた15分位の読み聞かせプラス演奏が出来上がった。


“Boku wa Kimi…” Rehearsal

It’s amazing the things we can do when we DECIDE that we WANT to!


Cameras were not allowed at the festival, so here is a clip of one of our rehearsals.


We were nervous during our presentation and made quite a few mistakes! But I think the audience enjoyed it and understood our story.

One friend called to say that she was in tears with our presentation and wanted to show it to the many children that she knew felt very alone in the world.

For me, that comment alone made the MANY months of meeting and practicing and planning totally WORTH it!





Yesterday, Junko, Miho and I visited a cafe and told the owner about the event that we had just finished the day before. I was so pleased with the idea. We did a mini presentation with the instruments that Miho still had packed in her car. He loved it! And so now we are booked for another performance at the end of November. Wow. Who knows how far we can go to spread this message of inner strength.

昨日、Miho、 JunkoとMitz、3人で近くのカフェへ行って、カフェのマスターに前の日に終わったばかりのイベントの話をしました。たまたままだ車に積んでいた道具などあったので、彼のためにミニプレゼンをしてみました。彼は感激してくた。そして11月の末にイベントとしてもう一度プレゼンするチャンスが出来た。びっくり。「ぼくはきみ、きみはぼく」の「自分の力」を信じるメッセージをどこまで広められるかは、とても楽しみです。