Peter A Goldsbury
I have never heard the word deshi used either, probably because I doubt whether any of them would think of themselves as deshi. I was once asked by telephone of I accepted deshi; I said No.
I have always hesitated to use the word deshi because I have rarely heard it used by those I know who come from a Japanese background (from my experience in martial arts and Japanese crafts). Uchi-deshi is a more specific term although I've heard it used to describe what I'd call an apprentice who didn't live with the teacher. In that case it seemed more about his "status" with the teacher rather than the details about his living conditions. I've heard "soto-deshi" used in a sense that seemed to imply all the students. So I guess what I'm admitting is that I've simply never been clear as to what deshi means in the first place.