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Irish Spirit From Tokyo

On Saint Patrick's Day, everyone is Irish, and this year is no exception. A newcomer to New York's Saint Patrick's Parade is the Tokyo Bagpipe Band, the first Japanese band to take part in this annual tradition.

One of the members of the Tokyo Bagpipe Band is Japan's counsel general in New York, Ambassador Seiichiro Otsuka, and his nine-year-old son Seisuke. How did the ambassador come to play the pipes so well? He explains it all began in Scotland in 1991:

"I first heard a lone piper playing at Edinburgh Castle," he recalls. "He played Amazing Grace. It brought tears to my eyes, and I resolved to learn how to play this instrument."

The sound is not too strange to his own culture, the ambassador adds. "I liken the sound to the samurai spirit. It's uplifting and invigorating. The pipers and drummer would march in front of the soldiers to intimidate the enemy and boost morale among their own."

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