Close: Winter to Spring
It must have been early in March during my last year living in Shirakawa Village. I was in the Hirase Cultural Centre rehearsing with Shiramizu (White Water) Taiko for some performance, perhaps for Vietnam’s Ambassador to Japan (from time to time the group let me do a little wind-up monkey toy drumming behind the precision of their rhythmic explosions).
I’m not sure how the conversation started, but I’m fairly certain it had something to do with how my shoulders are a repository for stress and how this was throwing off my cadence. This bad habit plagues me until today. At any rate, in the course of correcting me Sayuri-sensei asked me something that I will never forget: “What does snow become when it melts?”
“It becomes water,” I answered.
“No, it becomes spring.”
To this day I am reminded of that evening. In fact, in our most recent correspondence Sayuri-sensei randomly posed the question written in Japanese above, which is roughly translated as follows: “Jordan, have you survived the harsh winter of your heart to reach the warm spring?”
I immediately thought about how I would answer. The conclusion I came to is that more than knowing what words should frame the feeling of my response, it is better to be able to recognize the scent of sakura on the breeze and pull the warmth of the afternoon sun atop my skin as I stroll.
(photo: Shirakawa Village, Ogimachi, Japan, Spring 2008)