“Life is a ship you drop into the middle of the ocean,” muses Tomoko. “It is a step-by-step experience, and you have to stand up for yourself.” And each stage of life has its characteristics.
“When you are young, you don’t know,” says Tomoko. “You can’t calculate to the same degree.” That may be why Tomoko contends that “the young are courageous. They have no fear.”
Tomoko states: “The family establishes a philosophy that guides you in solving problems. They help you know what is right and what is wrong.” As a teacher, Tomoko also helps her young students build up power. “Sometimes students choose a complex piece because of its status, to show off, but it isn’t appropriate at their state, and they become miserable.” Tomoko wisely then tells them: “Try it. Then they recognize the difficulty themselves.” Tomoko prepares pieces for her students, and goes through the piece explaining its challenges and how to address them. “Some challenge is good, but 90% challenge is not. You want to keep students’ confidence.”
As one grows up, one experiences how the unexpected happens. “One moment can bring disappointment. You suffer. You have pressure. You have to sacrifice,” Tomoko knows. So she advises: “If you don’t love what you do, then don’t do it.”
With age comes wisdom. “You know not to miscalculate. Experience helps. You know how to push.”
And Tomoko knows that learning is possible at any age. “I planned two years ago that I wanted to go back to performing publicly,” Tomoko remarks. “I have to concentrate and practice to memorize the composition so that at the performance the music comes out spontaneously.”