I am very grateful to be here with you. Thank you for the warm reception and your gracious hospitality. It is an honor to be here with you today.
There are many differences between Beaverton and Ogaki, and between Japan and America: language, culture, food and so much more. But in our differences we find the truth: We are the same. We speak different languages but have the same humanity. We have differenct customs but have the same connection to our past. We eat different foods, but share the same nourishment. Our differences are very shallow, but our similarities go deep. Every culture, every people, through all of history speaks the same language of music, and through music we can move past our shallow differences to the great depth of our shared language, culture and food that is song.
Thank you for sharing your differences with us so we can see how much we are all truly the same!
Domo Arigato Gozaimasu
Later that evening Ogaki gave iSing an incredible welcome party. This one was not as formal as the one in Gotemba. The singers wore their blue iSing shirts. We were seated at tables that combined choir members with our Ogaki friends. With a little help with our favorite translation apps we succeeded in making friends with our Japanese counter parts. A beautiful spread of delicious food was once again presented. The major difference with this party is iSing was not the entertainment. They brought in an incredible 16 member music group called the Ogaki Guitar Mandolin club. They played about 4 pieces.
Susan Sauter and Yvonne Yang provided the rest of the entertainment. Yvonne played two amazing Scott Joplin serenades and she accompanied Susan on "Oblivion" and one other piece.
It was a wonderful and warm exchange. We were so grateful for the love and care the amazing people of Ogaki gave us. They treated us like royalty.