Chapter 3: Spring: Among Showers of Blossoms
Waiting for spring 2
Kanalu, Yukio and Tetsu promised to return to pick Takashi up at 8 p.m.
when the practice would be over. When they were about to leave the community
center, they saw Ryoko pushing an old woman in a wheelchair.
"Hello, Ryoko-san, you look beautiful, as usual." Tetsu said teasingly. She did not bother responding to this, but simply smiled in greeting. She said "Hello, everyone. Did you all came to see the practice? Where is Takashi-kun?" "There he is." Yukio pointed to Takashi, who was then attentively watching the drumming master.
"Oharu-san, how are you?" Tetsu asked the woman in the wheelchair, who appeared to be about 80 years old. Tetsu introduced the old woman to Kanalu and Yukio. She nodded but her attention was on the dancing.
"She used to be a beautiful dancer. She comes to see the practice every evening," Ryoko said.
"Is that a Takafu-dance?" Tetsu asked.
"Yes, it is, but there was once another dance. Oharu used to dance it. She can remember a little of it. And she is the only one who can," Ryoko said. Even Tetsu did not know that dance, which had been danced continuously for hundreds of years. People had stopped performing the dance before the Pacific War. Traditionally, the dancers had worn a tight-fitting top with big sleeves and a long ceremonial skirt with a long train. The dance was considered too sexy and was criticized for corrupting public morals. Because of the war, the festivals were suspended for about 10 years and the dancers dispersed. The dance was almost eliminated from people's memory.
"Oharu-san longs to dance the old style dance again." Ryoko said. Kanalu watched Oharu. She reminded him of an old woman who had provided him with an opportunity to live in the town. Oharu could not move her arms and legs as she wanted, but she danced freely in spirit. Seeing the girls dancing, she might have remembered when she was a girl about 70 years ago. If she died, her memory of the dance would disappear forever.
"Oharu-san" Kanalu got down to a squatting position next to her. "Would you like someone to inherit your dance?" Slowly, she turned her focus from the girls to Kanalu, a young man of her grandchildren's age.
"Do you want to recreate your favorite dance and have someone dance it again?" Kanalu asked. Oharu gazed at Kanalu with a puzzled expression. Then she smiled but said no.
"It is too late. If I were younger..." Her low voice was difficult to hear, but her mind was clear. Her dreams and her enthusiasm to realize the revival of the old dance could be seen in her eyes. Kanalu gazed intensely at her narrow shoulders. Seeing the look in Kanalu's eyes, Tetsu and Ryoko sensed that Kanalu was about to undertake a nearly impossible project.