We currently have seventeen Kodo apprentices after welcoming a group of new entrants to Kodo Apprentice Centre at the beginning of April. The first day of training for the new first years was making and shaping bachi (taiko drumsticks).
Under Tomohiro Mitome’s instruction, they learn why they make their own bachi, and the step-by-step process of bachi making, from how to choose the wood to whittling the wood into shape. The things they learn are packed with the wisdom that Mitome has gained from his own experience of trial and error making bachi to date with his own two hands.
“When you make bachi, you are crafting your sound”
The local carpenter who joined the lesson to teach them how to sharpen their planes said,
“If your equipment works well, you can do your job well.”
Those words are painfully true, I thought.
Bachi making is not a skill we can master in one day, no matter how clearly we are taught.
Life gets busier as the days go by at Kodo Apprentice Centre. I wonder how much time they can make for themselves to practice what they are being told and embody those lessons.
The roots. The fundamentals. The essence of things.
That is what we all learn at the Apprentice Centre.
It reminded me that I mustn’t forget these foundations, regardless of the experience I gain traveling the world and appearing on stage.