BY MARIVIR MONTEBON
Her answers are quick, like staccato. Yoko Matsushita Cano was also looking after her infant child, Arturo (who is just beginning to walk), while doing this OSM! interview. She remains sweet and composed, convincingly typical of Japanese women. Yoko came to the US in 2000 as a student of music. Away from her family in Nagano, Japan, she ventured into the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut to finish her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree of Science of Music.
She loved her student life, the crowning glory of which was winning second in the university’s international festival. Yoko performed an original composition, a fusion of English and Japanese pop song, and wore the Japanese culture.
Life after leaving the portals of the university was a whole lot more challenging, but Yoko sang and played her music the way she wanted it. She teaches piano and voice lessons in Long Island while learning the ropes of motherhood.
Why did you choose to come to America to study Music?
Yoko: My parents decided on it. They think America was the best place to study music. I love music, I love to sing ever since I was a kid. So I came here for that.
What is your genre?
Yoko: I have been trained on classical music. But really I love pop music most. I love watching Glee and singing the songs of Whitney Houston. She has the most challenging voice for a singer.
Did you like being in the US? Was it enjoyable or tough?
Yoko: I like being in the US. I had many friends, different nationalities. It was tough when you have problems with relationships, boyfriend, or when you are confused with yourself because you are young. (Grins).
Yoko: I went to Upstate New York and joined the choir and helped organize it from 2006-2008. I was a church volunteer.
What does it take for a singer and pianist like you to truly express yourself in music?
Yoko: In singing songs that are not originally mine, the struggle is to hear my own voice, my own self in order to express the song. It takes a lot of effort to look inside yourself, understand the singer and the song as well.
What does singing do you to you personally?
Yoko: Singing is like finding myself. When I am sad and confused, I sing and it makes me clear who I am.
Any plans for career move?
Yoko: I will go back to singing in the choir soon, when the baby is bigger.
How is motherhood and married life?
It is difficult to take care of the baby. When Toribio’s paternal leave was over, I asked him to extend it. It was so hard to take care of the baby by myself and I just gave birth. Very tired and confused what to do.
Won’t your parents come over to visit you and their new grandson?
No. We will fly to Japan and visit them soon.
What makes up for a good marriage, specially yours, you are Japanese and Toribio is Mexican?
Yoko: Just love each other and try to understand each other. I think Toribio doesn’t love me. I think he just pities me because it seems I am always alone. (Laughs so hard, then the mobile phone rings)
…Toribio was on the other side of the line, and they exchange sweet nothings. Not in love, hey? I smiled.