February 1st, Moscow, Russia. The European tour is offically underway. In addition, I have reached a personal milestone. Allow me to elaborate (but not too much).
For the last European tour I was a junior member. I was inexperienced and I discovered that there are some aspects of life on the road, away from the performances, where I was completely clueless. So then, experience became my teacher and it was a very harsh one.
In a nutshell: I made mistakes. Small mistakes, big mistakes? (I hear you asking.) How do we judge these things? In this case, the actions were indeed small, yet, in terms of the level of humiliation I felt – it was huge. Therefore, I became determined to redeem myself, my reputation and self image.
I decided that I would focus and work really hard, so that when I next returned to Europe, my ‘errors’ would be behind me, firmly in the context of ‘an understandably naive action’. (It is actually quite funny on reflection, apologies that no details are being offered, at least not by me.)
It is strange and interesting how the low points in our lives can become turning points. Today I can look back on my younger self with forgiveness and gratitude.
It is the same voice of experience that can confidently say ‘this tour is going to be a completely joyous experience’.
“May I come and watch your practice tomorrow, the one just for young members?”
Plucking up the courage one year ago to ask that question to Ryotaro, who was directing a new program, turned into the beginning of my own “Kodo Next Generation” journey.
When I was a Kodo apprentice, Ryotaro talked to me more than anyone else. So while I didn’t say it out loud, I was thinking all along that I really wanted to appear in the first work that he directed.
When everyone gathered up after that rehearsal that I went to watch, Ryotaro said, “I’m going to add Kimu* to the Next Generation team.” (*Kimu is my nickname at Kodo)
I was so happy to hear that!
Most of the rehearsals for Kodo Next Generation were squeezed in between other rehearsals. Time was really tight, but when we got together and worked on songs, it was really exciting. Kind of like when being a kid again and making a secret base with friends.
Then, the time came for the last rehearsal before our first performance. And it was all over the place.
I was flustered. I really wondered if we could pull it off. I don’t remember the exact words that were said at the meeting after that final practice, but I remember that we all knew that there was no turning back. We just had to be strong and get ready to perform with all our might.
Last year, we gave our all in that first-ever “Kodo Next Generation” performance. The audience really enjoyed it. While I’d like to say this year’s performance is going to have a new flavor, I don’t really have any flavors up my sleeve other than young. All I can do is just go for it.
Hello, everyone. Nice to meet you!
I am Yuta Kimura, a Kodo junior member.
Today was the premiere of “Yugen.”
As of today, I can now announce that all five Kodo junior members have made their debut on stage with Kodo.
We spent the past two years, until January 2017, living and training together at the Kodo Apprentice Centre. Now, the five of us are taking part in different performances and we are doing our very best as we continue to develop as performers.
I think it is great to have colleagues who graduated from the same class. Even now, we inspire one another and get along well.
With our lack of experience, it is a frantic time as we try to keep up with all the Kodo members. We will continue to do our very best. Please cheer us on!