What an incredibly special bond Mio and Yamamoto share! Mio is an incredibly gifted musician, he can “see” sounds and has a great sense of understanding how they are supposed to be expressed or played. However no matter how talented he is, it means nothing to him when he dislikes his own sound. For ten years, Mio has been searching for the sound that goes beyond the right answer, one that would touch his heart and feel alive. The journey to helping Mio forge a path of his own rather than the one he follows begins when his club advisor Yamamoto was touched by his interest in his compositions, and vows to create a piece that would fulfill his desires.
And boy, did Mio had it rough. I simply can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for Mio to continuously practice all this time while hating his own sound. What made it even more depressing is how since he first started off playing the koto, he felt whenever he plays, the sound dies, never leading him to the place he wants to go. He aspired to create a sound that felt free, and breathed life into the piece. He witnessed what that sound is like when Tokise performed Kuo, how it was as if they themselves became the sound. And bearing that in mind, this makes Mio’s love and commitment to the koto all the more admirable. That is why Yamamoto titled this piece: Katakago, a flower that only blooms almost after 10 long years. It beautifully embodies the time and effort it has taken Mio to reach this point of appreciating his own sound. (Don’t even get my started on how beautiful his smile is!!!!)
I think it would also be fair to say the Katakago has become something that is more than just fulfilling Mio’s dream. It serves as farewell gift of a sorts. Unfortunately Yamamoto’s father had collapsed, and so he has decided to quit teaching so he can take over his family’s inn. It makes me sad that this is the last time Yamamoto will be their club advisor, but at the same time, it makes me happy that he was able to carry out his promise.
Speaking of which, it is quite funny how Yamamoto got into the world of music. When he first was assigned to be the Koto Club’s advisor, he was only a math teacher who didn’t know anything about music, much less the koto. What makes Yamamato so particular is how he sees the way the koto’s music sheets correlates to math. It blew his mind how the koto possessed an infinite potential in just thirteen strings— heck even likened it to listening to math! At that point there was no turning back, Yamamato was hooked and that’s how he began composing various pieces. Although they weren’t particularly popular with his students (with the exception of Mio, who was more or less the first one to play any of his pieces), clearly this guy is really good at it to have received acknowledgement from Takinami of all people– though to be fair, he must have drastically improved considering both he and Mio were introduced to the koto roughtly 10 years ago.
Talk about destiny.
That is why really need to appreciate Yamamoto’s character. He is such a passionate guy, the type of advisor who was committed to learning more about the koto even though he knew nothing about it. He also was incredibly motivated and determined to help Mio find the sound that he would truely enjoy, and to to mention an easy-going guy who just accepts his students how they are. Seeking Photosynthesis? ‘let me join you’ he says! Seriously, he is such a great guy. APPRECIATE HIM!
In the end, Katakago’s performance was really something else. It wasn’t showy like Himesaka’s performance but goodness, not only did it have a powerful sound, but an unique one. Mio was the core of the piece with three supports, his solo was haunting and the decision in the composition to have a point of playing the same sound over and over again was quite something. It is certainly a type of performance that isn’t necessarily going to appeal to everyone, which is why I ended up feeling more strongly about the second half than the first’s. It also makes me even more curious about what their performance from the last competition sounded like. It is a darn shame we never got the chance to hear it.
Next week, it is finally Tokise’s turn to perform Tenkyuu! It was great to see them do the group huddle and it was so cute how at first they (or rather Takezou) didn’t really know what to say. It was heartwarming to see them all shout out their goal, and I am so ready to hear it!