What would a U.S.A. Day look like in Japan? There would need to be American food, like hamburgers, and some kind of technological wonder, like monster trucks! Now imagine Kate Bush shows up.
OK, that's where things fall apart — Bush is English. But she's the closest Western musician that I can liken Akiko Yano to. On May 8, I ventured down to Central Park for the 10th annual Japan Day — which featured ramen and Pepper the robot — to see Yano perform. The 61-year-old pianist was there to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her music industry debut. Her album "Japanese Girl" was released on July 25, 1976.
Her 30-minute set, jazzy and joyous, included signature songs "Ramen Tabetai," "Gohan ga Dekita Yo" and "Harusaki Kobeni," and had the crowd of around 400 on their feet dancing. Yano herself, however, is elegantly humble when it comes to assessing her talent.