Saturday, April 17, 2021



(O Lamb of God, Most Holy)
Composed by Nicolaus Decius
Chorale prelude arranged by Johann Pachelbel
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I have often played this chorale prelude at the beginning of the Sunday worship service. We seldom sing the hymn of the same title, but some of us seem to be familiar with this melody. (I live in Japan.)

Friday, April 16, 2021



(Savior of the Nations, Come)
from Geystliches Gesangk Buchleyn
Chorale prelude arranged by Johann Heinrich Buttstedt
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

This is my favorite hymn for the Advent season. The piece recorded in the video above is one of the chorale preludes of the same title, which I have often played at church on the first Sunday in the Advent season. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021



from Genevan Psalter
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

For the letter ‘M’, I have chosen the tune named MIT FREUDEN ZART

MIT (with)
ZART (tender)

I don’t remember singing any hymns to this tune myself, but the melody sounds vaguely familiar. If I were not taking part in this A to Z challenge, I would not have had a chance to play it on the keyboard. I practiced it only a few times and recorded it. I’m thankful that I have discovered this beautiful tune.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021



(Dearest Jesus, We are Here)
Composed by Johann R. Ahle
Chorale prelude arranged by Christian Heinrich Rinck
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

At the local church I attend, the organists are to select the prelude performed at the beginning of a Sunday worship service. Usually, I search for a piece related to the theme of the sermon or the church calendar, but it is not always possible to find something suitable. When I am at a loss, I often decide on LIEBSTER JESU WIR SIND HIER.

My repertoire includes several versions arranged by different composers, and the one in the recording above is a lovely piece in 105 Organ Preludes by Ch. H. Rinck.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021



HYMN: Kirken den er gammelt Hus 
(Built on the Rock)
Composed by Lutvig M. Lindeman
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

For the letter ‘K’, I have selected the tune named KIRKEN. I have heard this song several times before, but I have never sung it myself. I kind of like the pensive melody. I practiced playing it on the keyboard in my room several times and recorded it. 

Since I am not familiar with the German language, I thought this hymn was written in Germany at first. Today, however, I found that the title is in Norwegian. According to Google Translation, it seems to mean ‘The church it is old house.’  I have checked out and now I know the composer was also Norwegian.

Kirken (Norwegian)
Kirche (German)
Church (English)

教会 (kyo-kai) (Japanese)

Monday, April 12, 2021



(Jesus, Priceless Treasure)
Composed by Johann Crüger
Chorale prelude arranged by Johann Gottfried Walther
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I practiced this chorale prelude hundreds of times, until I finally learned to play it (almost) accurately. When I finished playing it without making any (disastrous) mistakes for the very first time in my life, in my apartment in the small town surrounded by the mountains, on a cold evening more than two decades ago, I found it difficult to believe it. 

My rendition in the video above is just a progress report. I hope to be a much better player in the future. 

Saturday, April 10, 2021



(Beside Thy Manger Here I Stand)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I first listened to this beautiful Christmas hymn sung more than two decades ago, when I lived in a small town surrounded by the mountains. Kaori and her sister, both of whom were high school students then, sang it for us at the local church on Christmas Eve. Their voices and the song were exquisite.

Some time later, I started practicing playing the tune on the electronic keyboard in my apartment. It took me a long time to learn to play the version found in our hymnal. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but I remember practicing it again and again for weeks. I was delighted when I finally managed to play the complicated harmony. 

I sometimes practice this hymn, not only before Christmas, but also in other seasons, so that I will not forget how to play this wonderful tune.

Friday, April 9, 2021



HYMN: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Composed by Hans L. Hassler
Arranged by Johann Pachelbel
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I sometimes play one of the chorale preludes based on this pensive tune at the opening of the Sunday worship service at our local church. I remember singing this song translated in Japanese when I attended church for the very first time in my life at the age of 20. I had never heard this hymn before, so I sang, listening to the others singing. I was deeply moved by the beautiful melody and the lyrics. On that day, I never dreamed that I would be an amateur church organist in the future.

Thursday, April 8, 2021



HYMN: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ 
(O Jesu Christ, All Praise to Thee)
from Eyn Enchiridion oder Handbüchlein
Chorale prelude arranged by Christian Heinrich Rinck
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

My repertoire includes several chorale preludes based on this tune arranged by different musicians, and I usually play one of them at the start of the worship service during the Christmas season. 

A few years ago, I found and downloaded 105 Organ Preludes by Christian Heinrich Rinck, and I have been fascinated with the beautiful short pieces in it. I haven’t played this version at our local church yet, and I hope to play it in December this year.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021



(Oh, Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly)
Composed by Andreas Hammerschmidt
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

In fact, I had never heard of this song before I began to prepare for this project. I searched for hymn tunes beginning with the letter F in public domain and found this beautiful song for the New Year. I immediately fell in love with its melody. I practiced playing it several times before recording it. – Though my rendition is far from perfect, I would like to share with you the joy of learning a new piece of music.

I will practice this tune more, hoping to play it at the beginning of the worship service at our local church in January next year. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021



HYMN: Ein feste Burg ist der unser Gott 
(A Mighty Fortress is our God)
Composed by Martin Luther
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

When I was the only organist at the local church in a small town surrounded by mountains, I usually played one of the chorale preludes based on this powerful tune at the beginning of the worship service on the last Sunday of October. I had heard someone say in a radio program that this tune is associated with the Reformation Day (October 31). 

Again, let me remind you that my rendition is NOT intended to be exemplary. I know how imperfect it is. Experts would frown at me. -- I am praying, however, that my Father will smile at me, just as a loving father smiles at his children doing their best. 😊

Monday, April 5, 2021



(When on the Cross the Savoir Hung / Our Blessed Savior Sev'n Times Spoke)
from Babst Gesangbuch 
Chorale prelude arranged by Samuel Scheidt
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I learned to play this beautiful chorale prelude soon after I started playing the electronic organ at church. I sometimes play this piece at the beginning of the worship service on the Sunday before Easter, or on the first Sunday of the month, when communion is held.

Saturday, April 3, 2021



(Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands)
from Geistliche Gesangbuchlein
Arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach 
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

Since tomorrow is Easter Sunday, I think it is apt to share the recording of this tune. 

--Let me remind you that I am NOT pursuing perfection here. I am practicing playing the electronic keyboard as a hobby. I know there is AMPLE room for improvement.

Camellia rusticana in front of our house

Friday, April 2, 2021



HYMN: (Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed)
Composed by François Barthélémon
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I find it interesting that there are a lot of hymn tunes named after cities. Today’s tune, BALLERMA, comes from Palermo, Italy. (source)
In Japan, where I live, the hymn usually associated with this tune is a Japanese translation of “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”, so I was surprised to know that this is not always the case in other countries. Different hymns are sung to the same tune, and different tunes are used for the same hymn, depending on hymnals and countries. 

In fact, I had never paid attention to the tune name before I started to prepare for the A to Z Challenge this year. I searched for an easy-to-play tune beginning with the letter B in public domain and decided to record this. 

When you hear this melody, what is the hymn that you first think of?  

Bergenia (elephant ear saxifrage)
in our backyard

Thursday, April 1, 2021



HYMN: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr 
(All Glory Be to God on High)
Composed by Nicolaus Decius
Chorale prelude arranged by Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

This is the first chorale prelude I learned to play after I became an amateur church organist more than three decades ago. Since then, it has been one of the go-to pieces to play at the beginning of the worship service. 

I don’t speak German at all, so at first, I didn’t know the meaning of the title. I am trying to learn German words from the titles of chorales I practice playing. Now I know that ‘allein’ means alone. 

Anemone hepatica in our backyard

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Week 6



This is the final week in the current  Bible Memory Challenge hosted by, and we are working with Isaiah 12:6.  

Saturday, March 27, 2021

#Ten Things of Thankful: March 27, 2021


  1. the anemone hepatica in our backyard 

  2. the long walk on the riverbank last Tuesday 

  3. a new light bulb for my desk lamp
  4. the winter jasmine in our backyard 

  5. warmer afternoons
  6. our neighbor's winter daphne 

  7. strawberries for breakfast 🍓🍓🍓🍓🍓
  8. the toaster oven 
  9. peace and quiet at night

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Week 5



In  The Bible Memory Challenge hosted by, we are learning Isaiah 12:5 by heart this week. I'm memorizing it in NIV and in Hebrew.

Pondering on this verse, I also think of the glorious things that the LORD has done for us. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

#Ten Things of Thankful: March 20, 2021


  1. I played the organ at church last Sunday.
  2. I lost my folding umbrella on Monday, and found it at the Lost and Found at the supermarket on Tuesday. 
  3. more camellias in front of our house 

  4. I took a long walk along the riverbank on Tuesday, for the first time this spring. 

  5. the ohagi, sweet cake made of rice, adzuki bean paste and sugar, which we had last Wednesday 

  6.  the buds of the anemone hepatica in our backyard 

  7.  a cup of Chinese blackberry leaf tea after lunch
  8.  pain that warns me to slow down 
  9.  sufficient sleep 
  10.  the newspaper 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021

#Six-Sentence Story: At A No-Frills Beauty Salon

I usually have a haircut at the no-frills beauty salon in my neighborhood, where it takes less than half an hour to have my hair cut.

About three weeks ago, I went there for the first time in six months, wearing a disposable non-woven mask. They were taking every measure to prevent virus infection, using a touchless thermometer, hand sanitizer sprays, and transparent partitions between the chairs. 

When I sat on the chair, the hairdresser asked me to take off my mask lest it should get damaged. Then, she put a paper coffee filter over my mouth and fixed it with surgical tape in its place. Looking in the mirror, I tried not to laugh. 

via Wikimedia Commons

this week's prompt: filter

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Week 4


We are working on Isaiah 12:4 in The Bible Memory Challenge hosted by I am learning it in New International Version, and the first phrase of verse 4 is exactly the same as that of verse 1: In that day you will say: 

In Hebrew, however, the first words, which mean "you will say", are different:

   verb (second person masculine singular)

    verb (second person masculine plural)

King James Version shows this difference clearly.

And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (Isa 12:1 KJV)


And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. (Isa 12:4 KJV)

In Japanese, you (singular) and you (plural) are distinguished clearly. The former is anata, and the latter, anata-gata. 

Last week I memorized Isaiah 12:3 without paying any attention to whether 'you' is in singular or plural. Reviewing it, I have found that the pronoun is in plural. 

According to a Bible commentary in Japanese, Isaiah 12 consists of two poems, the first one (verses 1-2) and the second (verses 3-6). I wonder if that is why the first part has you (singular), and the second one you (plural). 

I am thankful that this memory challenge is helping me to read the Bible more carefully and learn more about the languages. 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

#Ten Things of Thankful: March 13, 2021

  1. taking part in the monthly Bible Study meeting last Friday, where we studied Esther 7
  2. the Rev. F* 
  3. Mr. W*
  4. having just solved a serious computer problem thanks to the information found at a website 
  5. most of the snow on the riverbanks has melted and we can take a walk there now
  6. camellias I saw in my neighborhood 

  7. gentle rain this morning 
  8. flowers, whose name we don't know, in the corner of our backyard  

  9. having recorded a short organ prelude composed by C. H. Rinck
  10. Linking up with Ten Things of Thankful, which reminds me to be thankful all the time 😊

Friday, March 12, 2021

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Six-Sentence Story: Journey


Vera believes that the best thing about going on a journey is anticipating it and she loves to make a detailed plan carefully far in advance. She spends hours reading about the places she is going to visit, looking at the maps, writing an itinerary, and daydreaming about the trip. When the journey actually begins, she does everything she can do to make everything go as planned. 

Jessie, on the other hand, doesn't think it very important to stick to the plan, which sometimes irritates Vera. Even if something goes wrong, he doesn't seem to fret, for he likes to experience something unexpected, enjoying every moment of the process. 

I hope they will live happily ever after.

this week's prompt: journey

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: March 10, 2021

 1. March 9th is National Get Over It Day...what's something you need to 'just get over already'? 

National Get Over It Day? -- Well, right now, I cannot think of anything in particular. On second thought, probably, myself?

2. Something you're currently 'over the moon' about? 

'Over the moon' would be an overstatement, but I am glad that the winter seems to be over earlier than usual and most of the snow on the riverbanks has melted. I will start taking a walk on the riverbanks soon.

3. What's something you're 'chewing over' these days? (meaning-thinking over carefully)

I'm pondering how to age gracefully. 😊 The first step will be to learn to be more thankful so that I am not tempted to complain or feel depressed.  

4. The last thing you cooked or ate that was overdone? 

Pork sauté. I tend to overdo pork. 

5. In celebration of hitting volume 411 in the weekly Hodgepodge, give us the 411 on something happening in your life in the next 30 days. 

  I am going to take part in Blogging from A to Z April Challenge!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

the photo is from

I saw some yellow crocuses blooming for the first time this year in the flowerbed in front of a store when I was taking a walk yesterday. I am glad that spring is coming. 


From this Side of the Pond

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Week 3


I'm taking part in The Bible Memory Challenge hosted by, and this week, we are learning Isaiah 12:3 by heart. I am also trying to memorize it in Hebrew, and I have realized that part of the verse sounds familiar. 

When I was a junior high school student, we learned how to dance Mayim Mayim in P. E. classes. The teacher told us that 'mayim b'sason' means 'water! with joy!', but we didn't know this phrase is taken from the Bible. In fact, the entire lyrics of the dance song come from Isaiah 12:3. So, I am singing it in Hebrew to help me commit it to memory. 

It is easier for me to memorize this verse in English translation. "Water" is a beautiful imagery of salvation. Water quenches our thirst and sustains our life. If it weren't for water, we couldn't live.