Thank you very much for inviting me. It was a pleasure listening to your performance and it was my second time as a participant.
Currently, I am studying Japanese Classical Waka Poetry. I always read the poems, sometimes out loud, but it was much different experience hearing students sing their poems. In my research, I'm focusing on kakekotoba (pivot-word, wordplay). I am sure many people know about kakekotoba already, so I will not explain in detail. I was thinking while listening to the performance, that listening to poems being presented like this will help me when I think about kakekotoba in the future. I hope you will also try to think about it, and discover some deeper meanings in poetry.
When I opened 「鳥羽歌集」and saw the first page containing a black and white picture, the words 「懐紙」on a blackboard I was surprised. I had always thought that this content merely belonged in the world of tea ceremony.
If I could speak honestly, I clumsily mistook the further line to the right about coming on stage. I can get confused regardless of how far my major in Engineering takes me away from Humanities, because I am still convinced that the pronunciation of characters I have come across should not have been an issue.
The students performed loudly and clearly. One can easily observe that they went through several rehearsals to harvest applause and embrace success. The Vice Principal told us that in Kyoto Prefecture, senior schools that hold similar activities with the help of 「冷泉家」are rare. Actually, I was not provided with these opportunities in Tsukuba when I was in middle school many years ago. The Thousand-Year Capital does furnish something precious, while other places that attempt to cultivate these activities.
Tradition is crucial! It represents a critical piece of all cultures. It contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It celebrates the things that really matter in life, in the case of 「和歌」. I superficially guess that there is emotional leeway in one's life and consciously trying to not only feel, but also appreciate the marvels of nature is important.
If it wasn't for your kind invitation, I wouldn't have realized that I have been occupying my time away from nature. Last fall, I was not able to spare one day to witness the beautiful red autumn leaves, which have been a symbol of life cycle in Chinese poems.
I am overwhelmed with this realization and with gratitude I would like to thank you.