“Everyone should try a train,” asserts Tomoko. She wishes everyone would have a bon voyage, be it on a boat, car, or plane. Tomoko has certainly experienced many forms of travel, which reflect different way stations on her life journey.
When Tomoko when to high school, she used the train, sitting in the back while the Americans sat in the front. This experience occurred during the American occupation of Japan after World War II.
Tomoko flew for the first time in 1962 when she left her homeland Japan for the United States, when she started to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Tomoko would take the local bus to teach piano at the homes of her students, and to go to auditions, including one that resulted in her being awarded by the San Francisco Symphony Foundation.
While at the Conservatory, Tomoko traveled with her friends to Arizona in order to meet the famous cellist Pablo Casals.
In the late 1960s Tomoko wanted to go to Europe, and well-to-do supporters helped her with contacts and networking. She competed in several competitions: in Paris and Brussels among other European cities. Later that decade she visited a friend in Florence , and had a chance to see the Medici house and played an antique harpsichord. In 1970 Tomoko married a Hungarian, and they visited his home country from time to time.
Fast forwarding over twenty years later, Tomoko took her daughter Beata to Europe for Beata’s own competition: in ice skating. In 2002 Tomoko and her husband traveled to Salt Lake City to watch their daughter compete in the Olympics.
Even though Tomko doesn’t travel as much these days, she still enjoys driving her car.
What has all that traveling taught Tomoko? In response, she says, "Open the door. Visit the country. A passport is your teacher."