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Celebrity Travel: Go away with Hiromi

Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Born in Hamamatsu, Japan, and educated at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, renowned jazz pianist and composer Hiromi Uehara – known professionally as Hiromi – splits her time between homes in New York and Tokyo. Her musical skills were recognized from an early age. At 14, Hiromi performed with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Three years later, Chick Corea invited her to share the stage at his Tokyo concert. Recognized for her artistry by DownBeat’s annual critics and readers polls, Hiromi is currently touring to promote her album “Sonicwonderland.” Fans may follow her music and travel updates on Instagram ( This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: How much of your year is spent on tour?

A: About a bit more than half of the year.

Q: You recently performed two nights at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), which is a unique venue in Phoenix. How was that experience?

A: I have played there three times in the past. MIM is a great, intimate venue with beautiful acoustics. It is this amazing musical instrument museum. You can visit the museum before shows [and be] surrounded by these amazing collections of instruments from all over the world. I visited the museum right before my [concert] and was just fascinated by all the video footage from all over the world for the amazing number of different instruments that I have never seen before. Such an inspiration!

Q: What was your experience like when you moved to Boston to attend the Berklee College of Music?

A: I loved living in Boston. I still love it. It brings me such nostalgic memories from my school days. What is great about Boston is it is a walkable city, just like New York. I love cities where you can just walk and explore. Boston has such a historic feeling in each part. All the brownstones are so pretty and the Charles River is beautiful [with] many people running along the river. The town just offers a bit of everything.

Q: When you have time off, would you rather travel somewhere or hunker down at home?

A: It might sound funny, but [I would prefer to stay at] home since I am always on the road.

Q: What untapped destination should people know about?

A: Azores islands, which are in the middle of the [Atlantic] Ocean. Beautiful.

Q: What was a trip you took as a child that stands out? Did you love it or not so much?

A: I went to Taiwan to perform when I was 12 years old. I loved it so much. It was fascinating to experience different cultures, food and people.

Q: What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?

A: If you have jet lag and you can’t sleep, don’t get stressed out or get up. Just keep your eyes closed in the dark for the same hours that you want to sleep. You can still get rejuvenated with your eyes being closed and rested. It is almost like meditation.

Q: Have your travels served as inspiration for any of your music?

A: Definitely. To experience different landscapes, cultures, food, people, is always such an inspiration.


Q: Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A: In the United States, Boston, because I get a very special feeling from the town because I went to school there – very nostalgic. In Japan, Hamamatsu, where I grew up. It has mountains, the ocean, a nice sized city center… I just feel very [much at] home there.

Q: If you've ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A: It wasn’t for my holidays, but Orvieto, Italy. I went to play at the Umbria Jazz Festival and the vibe of the town was just amazing. I would love to go back there again.

Q: What languages do you speak? And in the same train of thought, do you pick up new languages easily?

A: Japanese and English. I wish I could speak Spanish and French, too, but it is not that easy.

Q: What are your five favorite cities?

A: Hamamatsu (Japan), Boston, New York, London, Bern (Switzerland).

Q: Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A: New Zealand.

Q: When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A: Bath salts.


(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at You may also follow “Go Away With…” on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)

©2024 Jae-Ha Kim. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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