Chapter 3: Spring: Among Showers of Blossoms
on a Spring Festival day 1
The Spring festival came. During the three days festival, the whole Takafu-cho was filled with festivities. The energy under the snow emerged from there at a burst. Some men beat drums and others carried the town's miniature shrines. Women were busy welcoming a number of visitors. Old men talked about the festival and children devoted their time practicing music, drumming and kagura dancing. All the residents had some roles to play in the festival. The festival was usually held when plum peach trees bloomed but lately due to the warmer climate, cherry threes blossomed together with the plum peach trees, which added more beauty to the festival.
Ryoko danced Jodo-mai in dedication to the god of the shrine. The dance was incomplete, however, by showing the dance to people they expected that someone might have information about it. Ryoko wore Ruica's silk costume to perform the Jodo-mai dance in the festival. It was painful for her to wear Ruica's costume but without it she could not perform the dance well. Like Kanalu, she felt that with the costume Ruica's sprit which was reborn in the wind helped her to dance.
Ryoko put on the costume and went to the shrine in the early morning. It was said that Jodo-mai dance was performed by young beautiful women selected among unmarried women as a dedication to the god. In the main shrine, she prayed quietly. The word "sacred" came across her mind. She realized that she has missed the opportunities to offer prayers before gods over the years. Her sprit felt the lives in the tall cedars trees surrounding the shrine and in the spring at the back of the forest. She thought that her dance should be dedicated to not only the god of the shrine but also to many sacred sprits that protected the town.
Residents hung paper lanterns with inscriptions "Gods are here." Written on them were hung at the entrances of their houses. Japanese ancestors had believed in the existence of gods which dwelled in all things of nature, such as mountains, rivers, plants and even pots and pans in kitchen and believed that gods protected people and they had never forgotten to appreciate that. Ryoko believed that gods were always around, in every corner of towns, and villages, not only in Japan but also in the whole world. She believed that those gods were not only for protection of nations but also for people. People in cities gradually forgot to offer prayers to the divine, however, in Takafu-cho people did not forget to offer prayers to eight million gods. Ryoko prayed for a good dance that would bring pride and happiness to the town, make people happy, enhance children's dreams for good relationship with the people in Turpan and take away the sufferings for the man she loved.
Ryoko appeared composed on the stage. She did not think of Ruica and Kanalu anymore. Both Araki and Uemura families watched her as if she was a divine being. The dance, which came to Japan a thousand years ago, was again reproduced in 201X in Takafu-cho by miracles. Takashi said to Yukio, "I would like to live here forever." Yukio had the same thought. "I know. There are a lot you can learn here. English, mathematics and any advanced courses are available on the Internet. And you can think of how the knowledge you would acquire could be used here." "Yes," Takashi said, "I would like to work for on something that connects people in the world through technology. Something that preserves history, culture and art and that pass down to generations from the viewpoint of local residents." Tsubasa and Keigo listened to their conversation quietly. Their conversation became quite different from what they did in Tokyo as if their relationship was restored in the snow and revived in spring.