When Tomoko was growing up, she would look over the Yokohama harbor, and see all the ships coming and going. At her high school every four years new teachers would come to instruct. Before she graduated, Tomoko already knew, “I want to go to another country.”When Tomoko considered where to go, she saw that Europeans were migrating to the United States. Even through Europe was considered the musical heartland, wars drove creative people to the states: Hindemith, Weill, Schoenberg, Korngold.
Starting in a new country was often hard. Tomoko started by teaching piano to children of Japanese families. She competed for scholarships. But she also realized: “When you have hardships, you understand more.”
Tomoko encourages her piano students to have dreams, and keep up their hopes. And she knows that making those dreams come true requires hard work. Tomoko tells her students: “When you want to climb up to the top, start with a small mountain. Make sure your foot is on the ground. One step is far enough. Then I tell my students that everything is possible.” Tomoko should know.