Kazu’s story begins in Kyoto, Japan, where she was born to a young unwed couple, neither of whom can recall the hospital, date, or any other circumstances surrounding her birth.
As a youngster, Kazu had an acute sense of focus which required monitoring at all times. One day, while babysitting her infant cousin, she became so engrossed in a copy of Homer’s Odyssey that she failed to notice the child scald herself with a pot of boiling water. An adult rushed in and shoved Kazu back into coherence — only then did she hear the agonizing shrieks of her little cousin. Desperate to find an object for her focus, Kazu’s parents turned her to musical instruments. Kazu flourished in music — it opened a new and mysterious world to her. At her first piano recital, she made a wrong turn during her performance and couldn’t recall the end of the piece. Instead of stopping, she began to repeat it over and over again, dozens of times, increasing the tempo as she played. She continued at this shredding speed until her teacher, drenched in nervous sweat, sat next to her and brought the music to its conclusion.
Kazu received her first of many standing ovations that evening.