“Martin’s Birthday” by Tomoe Miura

Feb. 16, 2019

Happy Birthday, Martin!

Hello from Los Angeles in chilly North America!

We’ve been enjoying ourselves here, eating our first Japanese food in a while in Little Tokyo, going shopping, and so on.

Photo: Koji Miyagi

Free time for practice and warm ups at Walt Disney Concert Hall 

In L.A., we performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall on the birthday of our indispensable technical director Martin. His birthday has become a regular pre-Valentine’s Day event on our foreign tours!

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Martin has been touring outside Japan with Kodo since 2007. As our technical director, Martin gives directions to the staff at each theater and operates our lightning. He is an essential member of our team.

This year, my fellow cast member Issei was in charge of organizing Martin’s birthday surprise. He started planning the surprise from about a week before and liaised with our tour managers in preparation for the big day.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Issei, the surprise organizer, studying hard to memorize his lines in English.

At the end of the rehearsal at Walt Disney Concert Hall, he arranged for there to be a request to rehearse one piece, Yuyami, again. Backstage, there would be a cake covered with strawberries, Martin’s favorite, and the staff would light all the candles quickly when they heard the cue. (We got special permission from the venue to use candles inside the venue.)

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

When the rehearsal ended, Martin looked like he was heading backstage so one of the managers frantically stopped him, saying they needed to run through a certain piece one more time. The performers quickly did the necessary set change on stage. Martin changed the lighting to the setting for Yuyami, and it was time for the surprise to begin!

▼ If you’d like to listen to Yuyami, click play below.

Usually performers with flutes would enter for stage left and right, but this time the flutes came in from stage left and a cake with flickering candles appeared from stage right. Issei recited a birthday message for Martin to the music of Yuyami. At the end of his speech, he gave a cue and all the cast members sang “Happy Birthday” together.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

We gave Martin a card signed by all of us. The surprise was a big success! I could tell by the lovely smile on Martin’s face.

Photo: Yui Kawamoto

Happy Birthday, Martin! Thank you for everything.
We look forward to the rest of the tour with you!

Yuyami is featured on Kodo album “Kaden”
Available from Kodo Online Store

“Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution” North America Tour