Tag ‘Community Development Course’
Jan. 15 Dondoyaki (New Year Bonfire) at Kodo Village
There was a Dondoyaki* event at Kodo Village on January 15.
Before dark it was raining, but when Kenta Nakagome cheerfully shouted out “Seh-no!,” the rain stopped and we all started singing a Dondo-yaki song as the bonfire was set alight.
I had never heard this song before.
Dondoyaki is a traditional Japanese event. The Kodo members burn their broken bachi (drumsticks), worn-out fans and bamboo dance props… so the essence of performing arts infuses the flames, taking that lifeforce up into the night sky in the smoke.
After the event, we, the Community Development Course trainees, were on duty watching the fire go out. As I watched the ashes in the dark, and weakened, gentle flames, I could hear many sounds as it crackled and burned.
By Misaki Nakamura, 2014-2015 Community Development Course trainee
*Translator’s Note: Dondoyaki Explanation from Kodo eNews Issue 3
Every year on January 15th, Kodo Village holds its own Dondoyaki, a traditional Japanese fire ceremony to farewell the New Year gods back to the heavens. New Year decorations and good luck charms and amulets from the past year are burned in the fire, a tepee-like structure made of bamboo, thatching hay, and straw. At Kodo, players burn the drumsticks they can no longer use in this fire. It is said that the deity of the New Year goes back home with the smoke of Dondoyaki,, so we like to send the heart and soul forged in the drumsticks along with it. Mochi (pounded rice cakes) from the week before is also toasted over the fire and eaten to bring good health in the year ahead.
Fukaura Gakusha (Fukaura Schoolhouse)/ Trial First Year of the “Community Development Course”
This April, we launched our new “Community Development Course.” It offers the opportunity to learn from Sado’s nature and culture firsthand and uses those experiences to cultivate human resources who will activate local communities. For this first trial year, we have welcomed two trainees: Misaki Nakamura from Kiso, Nagano, and Misato Akazawa from Niigata City. The trainees are based at the former Fukaura Elementary School, which was renovated for a fresh start under the name “Fukaura Gakusha” (Fukaura Schoolhouse). The duo have begun their studies, which center on learning from locals about the area’s agricultural & fishing industries, festivals & traditional performing arts, preservation of historic architectural areas, culture and more.
The trainees produced a special Fukaura Gakusha unveiling event, held on April 20. They gained practical experience by planning and running the event, making fliers, and digging out memorabilia and photo albums that were left in the former school to display as a nostalgic exhibition on the day. The locals who joined us for the unveiling smiled as they reminisced about the school and relived various episodes from the past. It was a valuable experience for me to see firsthand the role this school had played in the region.
On May 4, the trainees took part in the “Kodo Special Performances on Sado Island” special event “Traditional Rice Planting,” under the guidance of master farmer Mr. Kenichiro Aoki. They experienced planting rice by hand in a traditional way using seedings from a semi-irrigated rice nursery. The trainees wore traditional work pants and bamboo hats and they worked very hard with other participants.
During the course of the year ahead, I would like to join the two trainees as they recognize and tackle local issues and problems. Through the trial and error, I hope that we can discover the real identity of “community development.”
The trainees’ reports are being shared on the Kodo Cultural Foundation Facebook page in Japanese. We hope you’ll take a look at their updates.
Kodo Cultural Foundation Facebook Page (in Japanese) https://www.facebook.com/KodoCulturalFoundation?fref=ts