Charley & Yoko
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Charley & Yoko

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"International Marriage"

Country Couple bringing Taste of Nashville to Tokyo

Country music originated in America’s South and has been brought to the world stage thanks to famous country singers such as Hank WILLIAMS, Vince GILL, Garth BROOKS, and Shania TWAIN. One of the most active proponents of the genre in Tokyo is Charley SCHUTZ, who along with his Japanese wife Yoko, is working hard to bring some ‘country’ to the city.Hailing from Arkansas, U.S.A., Charley first set foot in Japan in 1955. An avid country music fan with an ambition to imprint the style in the Tokyo music scene, Charley opened a country coffee shop called ‘Charley’s’ in Tokyo’s Kokubunji city in 2002. Now, the couple serve up a platter of live country music along with an appetizing menu of homemade American food — including pecan pie — straight from the oven.The couple first met at her dinner show in 1999. Yoko at the time was a professional jazz singer who had performed all over Japan. “She was having a dinner show at a hotel in Shinjuku and a mutual friend had told us about each other,” Charley recounts. She introduced herself and they got chatting at a country live house later that same evening. The couple began their relationship only a few days later and married in 2000.The talented couple has performed at hotel and wedding hall dinner shows, festivals and other special events. At their live house, they don their cowboy hats and sing whenever they have customers who want to listen. Charley and his hand-made meat potpies have also appeared on “Meringue no Kimochi” on Nihon TV with well known program host ISHIZUKA Hidehiko.Most international couples face similar key issues, however this couple are from a different mold than most. “I feel the difference between a man and a woman is greater than the difference between a Japanese and an American,” Charley says. Having lived in Japan for 42 years, he is quite used to the country’s intricacies so he doesn’t really feel that he and his wife are very different as far as culture is concerned. Yoko says the highlights of their relationship have been that she can come in touch with his history, culture, music, friends, and food. “Also, living with an American is a different world; it’s like I’m living in a dream or a drama.” Whenever problems occur, she pictures her future goal, “so even if there is a problem, I don’t let small things get big. Even when our opinions differ, I first think about making our dream come true.”Charley has noticed a key change in peoples’ attitude towards international couples. “Japanese have become more accepting of more international marriages in general. Years ago I would walk down the street with a Japanese woman and Japanese would look at me and then just glare at her, but I don’t see that anymore. Now, the young girls look at me and sometimes even take my picture especially when I’m wearing my cowboy hat,’ he says with a laugh.

http://www.hiraganatimes.com/hp/marriage/kiji-020e.html
- Hiragana Times, Tokyo, Japan


Discography

We have one self-made CD with five songs. The following five songs have been played on Live 365 internet radio.
Flying Home To Mama - Charley Schutz
Old Age - Charley Schutz
Amazing Grace - Yoko Schutz
Born To Win - Charley Schutz
Waitin' - Charly Schutz

Photos

Bio

I lived in Japan for almost 50 years, where I operated two businesses, an English school and a Country Music bar. I sang at various venues, and in 2000 met and married Yoko, a professional jazz singer. We performed together at festivals, hotel/wedding hall dinner shows,other special events and at our own bar. We were also written up in magazine and newspaper articles.

In 1988, while flying to my mother's funeral, I wrote the song, "Flying Home To Mama", one of the songs on our CD. I wrote the title song, "Old Age", one night when I began to wonder if I was yet old enough to sit in the special seats reserved for the elderly on Japanese trains. I wondered at just what age did old age begin.

My main influences have been singing in church as a child, and listening to Hank Williams, George Jones and other great country singers. I was also influenced by listening to the Grand Ole Opry in the late 40's and 50's.

Yoko's influences have been Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, and, in country music, Vince Gill.

Following is a short profile for each of us.

Profile – Charley Schutz

1969 Graduated University of California,
Berkeley, CA

1969 – 2006 Lived in Japan. operated an English
School and a Country live house.
2000 Married Yoko and performed on TV, and
at dinner shows, festivals, concerts and live
houses.
2000 Performed at the 100th anniversary
celebration of Tokyo Economics University.
2002 Opened Charley’s Country live house and
mainly performed there for next four years.
2003 I appeared on Nihon TV's ''Merenge No
Kimochi'' with well-known program host
Ishizuka Hidehiko, where I sang with him
and introduced our shop and my home-
made meat potpies.
2005 An article about my wife and me as an
international couple was published in the
monthly magazine, Hiragana Times.
2006 Our bar was featured in an article in the
Yomiuri Newspaper. The article also gave a
summary of my background and relation
with Japan.
2006 My wife and I appeared on Fuji
TV's ''Waratte Ii Tomo'', hosted by the
famous TV personality, Tamori, in a egment
called ''Darling is A Foreigner'' , where we
were interviewed about the ups and owns
of international marriage.
2006 Our shop was featured in an article in the
Tokyo Newspaper.
2006 Moved to U.S. Since then have sung at
retirement homes, church, Music Theater,
a festival and the Fort Worth Cancer center
Christmas party.

Profile – Yoko Schutz

1971 Graduated Sagami Woman’s College,
Tokyo, Japan

1965 – 1967 Studied at Masao Koga Academy of
Popular Music, Tokyo, Japan
1968 – 1970 Studied under composer Shinichi
Nozaki, Tokyo, Japan
1970 – 1985 Studied under jazz pianist/arranger
Yasushi Shibata, Tokyo, Japan
1987 Passed NHK TV popular music audition,
Tokyo, Japan

From 1971 performed jazz & popular music
at hotel/wedding hall dinner shows, concerts,
parties, festivals,clubs throughout Japan.

2000 Married Charley Schutz and performed on
TV, and at dinner shows, festivals
and live houses.
2000 Performed at the 100th anniversary
celebration of Tokyo Economics University.
2002 Opened Charley’s Country live house with
husband and mainly performed
there for next four years.
2003 I appeared on Nihon TV's ''Merenge No
Kimochi'' with well-known program host
Ishizuka Hidehiko, and introduced our
shop.
2005 An article about my husband and me as an
international couple was published in the
monthly magazine, Hiragana Times.
2006 Our bar was featured in an article in the
Yomiuri Newspaper.
2006 My husband and I appeared on Fuji
TV's ''Waratte Ii Tomo'', hosted by the
famous TV personality, Tamori, in a egment
called ''Darling is A Foreigner'' , where we
were interviewed about the ups and owns
of international marriage.
2006 Our shop was featured in an article in the
Tokyo Newspaper.
2006 Moved to U.S. Since then have sung at
retirement homes, church, Music Theater,
a festival and the Fort Worth Cancer center
Christmas party.