Chapter 3: Spring: Among Showers of Blossoms

Connecting three towns 1

Four days later, the data on Turpan was sent from Dalian to Takafu-cho. Director Nakata searched for information about the dance by contacting the Folklore Museum in Shanghai and the Museum of Chinese Central Asia in Dunhuang. The dance, music and artistic nature of the dance he found were very similar to the one Kanalu was looking for; however, the costume differed. Kanalu sent a kit which enabled a wearable PC developed in China to be embedded in a costume.
"It is strange. Why are Turpan's dance and Takafu-cho's Jodo-mai so similar?" Ryoko asked. "It appears the dance traveled from Dunhuang to Changan via the Silk Road route, and then crossed over to Japan where it has become a part of Japanese court dance and music," Kanalu answered. "For some reason, the dance came to Takafu-cho, where it had been preserved."

Kanalu and Ryoko checked the dancer's movements by downloading the data to the costume with IC tags via RUICA and pieced all the data together. In only three weeks, it would be time for the spring festival. In that time, they intended to complete the work of reproducing the Jodo-mai, and Ryoko had to master the dance.

She wore the Jodo-mai costume, which functioned as a wearable PC, and danced. Oharu watched. The costume was designed to give the dancer positive feedback if she danced in accordance with the data downloaded from Turpan. The program did not just restrict the dancer to the data but allowed the dancer to move freely and to learn the traditional dance movements over time. In developing technologies, Kanalu always followed the principle that people came first, and then the tools should be designed to serve them. Oharu said that Ryoko's dance was different from the original Jodo-mai. Ryoko also felt that the dance was not satisfactory.

"Kanalu-san" she asked, "please show me in more detail how people dance in Turpan. Is there any way that I can see more of the movements?"
Kanalu contacted Nakata in Dalian and asked him to send converted dance data in real-time to Takafu-cho. This request presented difficulties, because the data types between the costumes worn in Turpan and Ryoko's costume were different. Nonetheless, Nakata accepted the request. "I'll do my best, because this project is so important to you. When I come back to Japan, I will count on you for a nice hot spring and great sake."
"We will give you a big welcome," Ryoko replied cheerfully.

However, when young women in Turpan were displayed on the screen, she felt sad. Kanalu watched the image with a mournful look. She realized that he was thinking of Ruica. It was impossible for him to forget her. Ryoko had seen Ruica's picture once. She had a well-defined face. Such girls with well-defined features were picked as dancers. Ryoko was upset by Kanalu's sad face but she tried to hide her emotion. She concentrated on looking at the girls' movements, which she also felt through the costume. Dance is an art of all five senses. When people hear music, see the dancer's appearance and movements, and smell the surrounding scent and perspiration, they are moved by the dance. People sensed the art with their eyes, ears and tactile perception. Images on the Internet could give only a portion of the dance. Learning dancing directly from teachers would have been quite different.

Ryoko danced absorbedly. She wanted to reproduce the airy movements of the girls in Turpan. She wanted to dance the same way Oharu did when she was 13 year old. Passions from the three towns of Dalian, Turpan and Takafu-cho harmonized. Nakata analyzed both sets of data simultaneously. "There is something wrong. There are some discrepancies in the movements. It is incomprehensible, even considering the different weights of the costumes."

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