The difference between East and West was demonstrated on the stage of the Kennedy Center's Concert Hall last night and was highlighted even more afterward at a reception for the artists of the Classical Performing Arts Friendship Mission of Japan.
Sen. Samuel I. Hayakawa (R-Calif.), who lived for years in Canada and the Midwest, said he knows very little about Japanese classical music, but more about ceramics and Japanese prints. Last night's presentation of classical music and dance left Hayakawa, himself Japanese-American, pleased but a bit confused. "I didn't understand a damn thing," he chuckled. "I never lived in a Japanese community."
His daughter-in-law, Cynthea, however, studied Japanese dance in Portland, Ore. "I kept noticing how good a classical dancer Chiyo Hanayagi was with her feet. It's hard to turn in your feet that way. Her facial expressions were masterful."
Former senator William Fulbright said, "It's difficult to understand because it's so different, but it's very appealing, very restful and soothing. It's such a contrast to the jazz festival that was at the White House."
Hanayagi, who understands very little English, signed posters and programs for many of the 150 patrons who attended the reception sponsored by the Japanese Embassy. She signed a program for Peter Gilfey, president of Potomac Asset Management. Gilfey said, "I found the musical instruments to be difficult to understand. I need to do some homework. But there's not too much time to study in Washington where you go from one crisis to another."