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Story of Mutsu: The rescued dog

12 Jul

snowMeet my dog, Mutsu.

He was abandoned when he was about 1 year old. While running through a forest road near Mutsu City of Aomori, he happened to find me. Curious and adventurous, he enjoys exploring!

I just started a new blog called “Story of Mutsu” to share his story and encourage people to adopt pets. I’ll write it in both English and Japanese.

Please visit “Story of Mutsu” to read about his adventures in Japan!


【Announcing My New Book】 “LAST SONG”

7 Nov

“LAST SONG – Melodies of Love and Hope at the End of Life”

(POPLAR Publishing Co., Ltd.)

By Yumiko Sato

12/2/2014 (Release Date)


Book Designer: Masato Takayanagi

Illustrator: Shuku Nishi

I’m finally ready  to tell you what I’ve been working on since this spring: I’ve been writing my first book called “LAST SONG – Melodies of Love and Hope at the End of Life.”

It’ll be published in Japanese on December 2, 2014.

This is the reason I haven’t been able to write for this blog for a while.

In the past 10 years I worked at hospice in Ohio as a board certified music therapist. Upon returning home to Japan last year, I began wiring about my work in the blog, “Yumiko Sato Music Therapy” in both English and Japanese.  Since then, I’ve received many comments and questions, especially from the Japanese people.

“What is music therapy, anyway?”

“What is it like to work at hospice?”

“What’s grief?”

“What do you do exactly as a hospice music therapist?”

As it turns out, music therapy and end of life care are not as recognized in Japan as they are in the U.S.  So I’ve written several articles to answer these questions, but I felt it was difficult to explore them as blog posts.

The reason is that music therapy takes place within the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client.  The rapport is the most important aspect of any therapy, including music therapy.  In order to help people understand that, I felt it was necessary to tell true stories of patients and their families and how I was affected by them.

“LAST SONG” tells stories that couldn’t be fully explored as blog posts and those I could not write for many years because it was too personal. I wrote about a few patients and families who had a close tie to Japan; a Japanese American patient and a Japanese lady who moved to the U.S after the war. In these cases my nationality affected my interactions with them, which I explored in the book.

Dying people can tell you the most interesting things, if you really listen to them: Some live a fulfilled life, while others die with regret.  Some die, surrounded by love, while others die with anger.

No matter what their stories are, I’ve learned a lot from them.

My hope is to share the power of music and give people the opportunity to think about life and death through their stories.

The book is available only in Japanese right now, but I hope to be able to translate it into English so that I can share it with you all.

Please check out  “Last Song Official Facebook Page” where I will write both in English and Japanese about the book including how this project started, the difficulty I faced through the process, and the abstract of the stories.  My editor will also share his messages.

Thank you so much for following this blog and supporting my work.



Discover Japan Goes to UK

31 Mar
photo by Bobby under a creative commons license

photo by Bobby under a creative commons license

Last month I received the news that The Huffington Post UK was going to host Discover Japan blog.  I was pleasantly surprised by the opportunity to share this blog with the people of England and beyond.  My first post about Fukushima appeared on the site earlier this month.

Some of you may know that I also write about music therapy, end-of-life care, and grief at “Yumiko Sato Music Therapy.”  The Japanese version of this blog is now hosted on The Huffington Post Japan.

The content of my two blogs are different, but my goal is the same – Give readers the opportunity to look at the topics from a different perspective, whether is’t about Japan or music therapy.  I’m excited about sharing my writings with wider audiences by blogging for The Huffington Post.

The frequency of the update will probably change due to the new commitments, but I’ll continue to write my posts here.

What do you want to know about Japan?  Send me a question via contact or facebook page, and I’ll try to answer your questions.

Thank you for following this blog!


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