“The Year 33 (2014-2015) Apprentices Commence Their 2nd Year” by Michiko Chida
Feb. 21, 2015
Year 33 class of Kodo Apprentices finished their 1st year of our programme in January and started their 2nd year in February. They used to rely on the apprentices in the year above for all kinds of things, but those senior apprentices have left the nest, so now there are just eight of them living here: 7 males and 1 female. The number of apprentices has halved, so they have to cooperate more than ever and figure out how to live together comfortably, as a new team. Otherwise, they will not be able to concentrate on their studies nor improve as a class.
On top of those changes, a powerful, relentless cold wave hit Sado during their transition period. It was the first winter on Sado for the new 2nd year apprentices, so they looked nervous to find out just how cold it would get. One night, when it was forecast to reach a low of -4℃ , one of the apprentices anxiously asked me:
“Is is going to get even colder?”
I said, “No, no, this is the coldest it gets on Sado. It won’t get any colder than this, so you can wear your warmest clothes now. You’ll be all right, you will survive!”
They had a dance practice day on one of those freezing cold days in February.
While teaching them Ohara-bushi, a Tsugaru dance from Aomori Prefecture in Northern Honshuu, Chieko Kojima looked outside and happily exclaimed, “Perfect! It really looks like Aomori!”
Yasuhiko Ishihara, the head of the Apprentice Centre, teaches them demon sword dance Onikenbai, which is a traditional performing art from Iwate Prefecture, also located in northern Japan. He told them, “The locals practice this dance outside at this time of year…”
The Year 33 apprentices must have become both physically and mentally stronger since last year…
I hope they will have grown even more by the time the new 1st year apprentices join them in April.