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Events - 12.03.2022 - 12.18.2022

LIFE CYCLES Soundscapes Series

Left: Photo by Nikki Takei Photography | Center: Photo & kimono by Toshiko Okawa


12.03.2022 (Sat.) – 12.18.2022 (Sun.)


Saturdays & Sundays


1:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM (20 min. sessions each)


JAPAN HOUSE Gallery, Level 2



*Walk-ins are welcome

Join us at our gallery, which currently features the exhibition LIFE CYCLES: A Bamboo Exploration with Tanabe Chikuunsai IV, for a series of live performances by Los Angeles-based musicians. The musical performances will be held the first three weekends of December and are designed to complement the spectacular woven bamboo exhibition and to help you unwind from the stresses and strains of daily life.

Mike Penny and Shawn Schroeder, are American musicians who studied traditional Japanese instruments with Japanese master performers and have achieved a level of excellence in the form. Mike Penny is an award-winning tsugaru shamisen player (a vigorous style of playing the three stringed instrument, originally from Aomori prefecture in Norther Japan) who blends in jazz, Balkan folk music and Western classical music into his performances and composes his own music. His lively, rhythmic stringed music will resonate dynamically throughout the galleries. Shawn Schroeder is an accomplished player of the shakuhachi, an upright bamboo flute, and has also become skilled at crafting these bamboo instruments. His melodies played on the bamboo flute will echo through the space, in an imaginary conversation with the bamboo of the artwork.

Additionally featured is Yuki Uwasawa, who will conduct a meditative sound bathing performance using “singing bowls” from Japan and Tibet. The ringing sounds of the bowls as they are struck send out harmonious sound waves that transmit vibrations into our organs and nerves, healing areas that other healing practices cannot reach. Sitting on goza mats (woven from rushes), visitors will be able to gaze out over the bamboo installation while absorbing the vibrations of the sound bath.

Take some time out from your busy week to slow down, immerse yourself in a sublime work of art by one of Japan’s most exciting bamboo artists while also soaking in some healing sounds.

Mike Penny in a kimono, performing the tsugaru shamisen.
Mike Penny performing the tsugaru shamisen.
Singing bowls for the meditative sound bathing performance


Sat. December 3 | Shamisen (Japanese three stringed instrument)
Sun. December 4 | Shakuhachi (Upright bamboo flute)
Sat. December 10 | Sound bathing
Sun. December 11 | Shakuhachi (Upright bamboo flute)
Sat. December 17 | Sound bathing
Sun. December 18 | Shamisen (Japanese three stringed instrument)

For all the dates above, the session times are at 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm (Approximately 20 minutes for each session).


Photo & kimono by Toshiko Okawa

Mike Penny
Mike Penny is an award-winning tsugaru shamisen performer and composer from Los Angeles, CA. He first studied shamisen from 2004-2005 in Santa Cruz, CA with Kevin Kmetz, and later received the Japan Foundation’s Uchida Fellowship which allowed him to study in Tokyo with the highly respected tsugaru shamisen master Toyoaki Fukushi in 2007-2008. Penny has given hundreds of public performances and workshops throughout Japan and the US, both as a solo artist as well as a member of various ensembles.

Read more.

Through his many performances and viral video performances on YouTube, he has gained a following for his unprecedented style of shamisen playing which combines traditional and extended techniques in a variety of musical contexts including jazz, Balkan folk, Western classical, and popular music in a fusion of both east and west, past and future. Recently, Mike has been active as a studio musician, contributing his shamisen stylings to projects such as Sony PlayStation’s Ghost of Tsushima OST, Netflix’s Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles, and more.

Watch Mike Penny on YouTube!

Shawn Schroeder
Shawn began to study shakuhachi in 2003, learning primarily in Los Angeles from renowned players, and his main teacher in Tokyo, Kaoru Kakizakai, a lecturer at the Tokyo College of Music and a shakuhachi player who has taught and performed internationally. Schroeder has collaborated and performed with many musicians such as Toyomi Takahashi, John Kaizan Neptune, Monty Levenson, Tom Deaver, and Shingo Kimura.

Read more.

As well as a love for playing, Schroeder also developed a passionate interest in crafting these bamboo flutes and has traveled to Japan multiple times throughout the years to study shakuhachi-making techniques and skills. Traditionally, Japanese shakuhachi-making has been a well-kept secret within the makers’ family lineage, but Schroeder has been very fortunate to be able to learn from some of the masters, who have shared their techniques and styles with him. When he crafts shakuhachi, he aims to follow these techniques and styles faithfully, and this has enabled him to make high-quality, professional level jiari shakuhachi, a standard traditional shakuhachi that has a lacquer-base applied to the bore hole of the flute to improve sound quality).


By Nikki Takei Photography

Yuki Uwasawa
Originally from Japan, Yuki Uwasawa is a Los Angeles-based therapist specializing in massage, shiatsu, yoga and healing with hot stones. She also gives meditation classes at senior homes in Los Angeles and for special needs friends at Easterseals in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. Currently, much of her healing work is focused on the deep healing properties of sound.

Read more.

She uses both Tibetan and Japanese “singing bowls” that are part of the meditation practices in the Buddhist traditions of both cultures and creates sound baths that use the ringing vibrations of the metal bowls when struck to access and soothe organs and nerves and help create realignment.


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