Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Get ready for the New Year

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

Happy New Year! The zodiac sign of 2010 is Kanoe-Tora, the 27th of the Chinese astrological calendar.

As you are well aware that, here in Japan, we have eye-witnessed the serious situations in various sectors such as political and economical ones since those 2 years. As I addressed my belief at the beginning of last year, nothing could not be done by just lamenting this tough situation. Under these circumstances, the guts or determination to go it through or even carve out a new future would be highly expected.

In terms of the practice, although we are supposed to repeat the same procedures for Chanoyu many times, we are to improve ourselves even for the repeated procedures. The procedures are same, but its techniques and attitude for the trained should not look like the same that beginners maneuver. From this perspective, we would like to make a steady progress in order to gradually take a higher level of advice and coaching.

When it comes back to this year’s sign, the Chinese character “Kanoe” signifies a “change” and also a “path”. And “Tora” means “abstention” as well as “tiger”. I assume it good idea to think about how we go ahead this year, based upon the connotation of those two Chinese characters.

Speaking of the Chinese character “tiger”, we have a lot of proverbs and old saying with this animal, indeed. For example, with hanging scrolls in a tea ceremony room, we often see the words such as “When a tiger roars, the wind blows up”, which is often said as a pair with “When a dragon roars, the watery clouds begin to gather over”. We see other phrases, like “Tora-ni-Tsuno” (tiger with horns) and “Tora-ni-Tsubasa” (tiger with wings), meaning those who are powerful have enhanced a further strength. And even we have the saying “A tiger can go and come back a thousand miles in a day”, which is interpreted how vigorous and robust this animal is considered.

If we are what another proverb related to tigers says, “Tora-no-i-o-Karu” (a smart aleck in a tiger’s skin / under the shelter of another’s influence), this is no good at all. For the year of 2010, we must have a strong determination to take a strong step forward so as to strengthen our ability and skills.