Chapter 3: Spring: Among Showers of Blossoms

A walk down memory lane 4

Within the hour, information that might relate to the dance arrived from Dalian and Shanghai. Kanalu also sent the various information he had collected so far, including music, videos, and the three-dimensional dancing movements to Nakata in Dalian.

Consulting the Chinese traditional dance site, Yukio narrowed the possibilities for the dance he had seen before. He was sure that he had seen the dance somewhere in China, but so long ago that he was not sure whether he had seen it on TV, in a movie, or in the theater. He searched several databases of Beijing opera, court dance, and circus but could not match anything with his memory. He wondered if perhaps the reason he could not find it was because the reconstruction of the dance and music of Jodo-mai was incomplete. "It's not any of the dances that I saw in Shanghai or Beijing. It may be a dance from the western part of China, or Korea. Maybe the costume and movements were adapted in Japan. Maybe it is such an old dance that China does not have any record of it. If the dance was done by one of the ethnic minorities, it might also have been left out of the database."

Nakata superimposed the data of Jodo-mai on the dance videos sent from Shanghai. Any possible matching results were sent to Kanalu's PC continuously. "Perhaps the dance didn't originate in an urban area like Beijing or Shanghai," Nakata said. "Let's check data from the autonomous regions, like Tibet Autonomous Region, or the Uighur Autonomous Region." A shadow passed over Kanalu's face.
"Kanalu, I think I found it. I think it is fromTurpan, or Dun Huang. Why don't you ask your wife? She would probably recognize it right away."

The screen showed a beautiful scene of Turpan, an oasis town on the Silk Road. It was an image of young girls, their hair bound in pigtails, dancing under a grapevine trellis.
Not only Ryoko but all the people in Kanalu's office realized that Kanalu was bitterly upset. Somehow he managed to answer Nakata."Thank you. Finally we have something. Please send us data on the dance movements and music along with images. It would be very helpful if you could convert the data into the same format as the Jodo-mai data I sent to you." "O.K. I'll do it. Please say hello to Ruica-san."
"She passed away three years ago," Kanalu answered tersely.

Nakata choked up. "I am very sorry. You both were so passionately in love. Did you go to Turpan?"
"No, I didn't. Her parents came to Japan and sent her remains back home." "I've heard that her father was a Chinese scholar and her mother was from an aristocratic family. I know that she eloped with you to avoid the marriage her parents had planned for her. I'm very sorry. I'll send the data to you." Their communication ended there.

There was silence in the air. The sealed-in sorrow filled Kanalu's heart. If someone had talked to him, his sorrow would have broken loose. Everyone left quickly, with a few parting words. Ryoko's hands were shaking as she pushed Oharu's wheelchair. In silence, Oharu watched both Ryoko and Kanalu.

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