We Japanese learn English starting in junior high, but we mostly concentrate on reading and writing. In my case, I studied English for eight years. However, "our" problem is that speaking English is a totally different subject. When I had opportunities to meet the BG bands from America, all I could say to them was "Nice to meet you" and "See you again". None of us could speak English. My daughters said, "This is the only chance we have to see the band. We want to communicate with them."
We started learning how to speak English. We asked Judean to teach us English. She was from Seattle and stayed in Fukuoka at the time. It was such an exciting class; however, she had to go back to America. Because of that, it couldn't last long.
Peter Rowan visited Fukuoka. We asked Mr. Hashimoto to come over to our house to interpret for us. Peter was going to stay at our house for one night. We had quite a good time while Mr. Hashimoto was with us. After Mr. Hashimoto was gone, there was a silence. None of us could communicated with Peter in English. Next morning, we needed to drive him to another city. In the car, we didn't do anything but listen to his songs from his cassette tape for two hours.
Meeting Alison Brown was a dramatic event for my first daughter, Mika. In September 1991, we went to "the 3rd Country Gold Festival" to see Alison Brown. She was a member of "Alison Krauss & Union Station". The performance of the band had a tremendous impact on our daughters.
We asked Mr. Sabu Watanabe from B.O.M Service to tell Alison to come down to the back stage. My daughters played songs of " Too Late to Cry" by Alison Krauss and "Leaving Cotton Dale" by Alison Brown.
There were about 40 people gathered around us with Alison Brown. She looked carefully at Mika's moving fingers. Alison brought her banjo and taught Mika how she played "Leaving Cotton Dale".
We had such a great time. Later on, Mika tried to learn more English to write letters to Alison.