Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Shopping at year-end

KOBORI Sojitsu (the 13th Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School )

I’m just wondering if I am the only one who has reassured myself by the fact that a wide variety of new-year tea events, including its courtesy calls, had been successfully completed.

For those who are dedicated to Chanoyu, a few months around the turn of the year are extremely busy so that I have never considered that period as a relaxing and laid-back mood, since I was a child. The motto of my family during for is there are duties appropriate for adults and of course ones appropriate for kids, too.

At the year-end, I have spent times to cut a bamboo for receptacle to be made or go for shopping the New-Year decorations. I try to bring my son with me for these occasions because my son and I usually cannot have time enough to be associated together. Through his accompany, I let him to see or hear what I do and think in a natural fashion.

This is exactly what my father would show me at the year-end in my childhood. I would go to a flower shop with my father and listen to conversation between its shop owner and my father. It is only once in a year when my father went to the flower shop all the way. I remember very well that shop staffs to welcome us were so nervous along with courteous attention, much more the owner who had to directly conversation with him.

In terms of shopping for the first-three days of the New Year, there is one unforgettable thing about my father: He has never misspent money. It seems to be easy to execute but actually it’s not. For one thing, when he looked at flowers, he observed and assessed what these flowers could be in upcoming 3 or 4 days and finally bought them. Since they were always right, his predictions impressed me a lot back in those days.

At present, it is my turn to play the role. However, when I went around flower shop, I don’t think that staffs are so nervous just like my father’s era. I guess maybe because the time has changed or I don’t look dignified. No, on the contrary, I can say that I have intended to foster an atmosphere where staff are not stiffen nor nervous. Because I can say that it is much convenient to talk with the owner about various issues with ease. In selecting flowers, I often picture what flowers would be put in vase, as an image. It is true that another image might be sometimes come up with, when arranging flowers, but for most of the cases, the arranged flowers happen to be almost same of my first impression. Maybe because a shape of branch, its foliage, or flower’s direction cannot be changed anyway.

As my father used not to do to me, I don’t ask my son about everything, neither. Instead, I consider it important to show what I do to my son without any word. Because it is up to a sensibility or sense of a person about how he or she feels and thinks.

In my view, it is better that those who instruct Chanoyu to disciples would take even some elements of the above-mentioned approach. Because I believe that being an excellent master is leading the others by being sensitive awareness of what they expect and their individual characters.