Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Sharing a stage together.

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

When we direct our attention to the reality around us, it remains difficult all the time to find something good in this world where we see global financial depression, political unrest including North Korea, N1H1 flu and others. Such a feeling would be refreshed, once I take a step onto stepping stones of the adjacent garden and listen to the sounds of Dosuimon or winds.

Nature is a blessing, indeed. And a tea garden represents nature on a very small and miniature scale. Therefore, people’s mind could be purified when touching the blessing, albeit just a small one. You must not forget that it is essential for us to keep them well-tended with a daily care, if you want to embrace the blessing. We must devote ourselves for improvement.

Back in March and May of this year, the Tea Master of Enshu Sado organized its tea ceremonies. I hosted for March’s one and my father did for May’s. In hosting a tea ceremony, first thing I have always made is to ask my father of his schedule. When the Grand master intends to be a host, I make it a rule to have his tea ceremony first and then mine for most of the cases. But for this time, the order to host tea ceremonies was reversed because my father said to me, “Please go ahead for the host, after you”.

Needless to say, it is my father who had taught me how entertaining and intriguing the tea ceremony was. When my father turned 60 years old (called “Kanreki” in Japanese) 26 years ago, back in 1982, I became vice Grand Tea Master. In order to deliver the quintessence of tea, every month, he would organize the tea ceremonies four times, even five times a month, in spite of his hectic schedule. At every tea ceremony, I would attentively look at him and listen to him as a host at a preparation area. It is no doubt that the experience I’ve had at this time effectively enables me to serve a host in my own way at tea ceremony.

For this time, I welcomed my father as a guest. Of course, the primary purpose is to entertain him; nevertheless, it is a significant meaning for me to invite him as Grand Tea Master to my own ceremony.

And in May, I attended to the ceremony as a father’s assistant. Unlike what it used to be, since he ages, it requires us, at its preparation area, to have a set of tension and determination, which is different sort from the past. My father has always carried out tea ceremonies of “Suki”, which even goes beyond the position of Grand Master of Enshu School. From preparation area, I observe that he has been enjoying the moment of time - “Ichigo-Ichie”, which signifies “treasure by encounter, for it will never recur”. That drives home the exact moment to me, while I assist my father during ceremony. I assume that it is uniquely in the domain of chanoyu that this could be happened between parent-child.

By the way, around the end of May, a Kabuki stage was held at the Kabuki-za Theater in order to celebrate the 80th birthday (called “Sanju ”in Japanese) of Tomijuro Nakamura, Kabuki actor of a designated Living National Treasure. Its hottest topic related to his stage was the joint performance with his son, Takanosuke Nakamura, who was just only 10 years old. From what I heard, Tomijuro-san had been longing for a stage of Renjishi together with his son. Finally, the moment has come to materialize his dream

As for myself, I have known his son from his childhood. On the day of stage, I actually rushed to the theater from a business trip in order to definitely want to be a part of historical moment. In Kabuki play, unlike chanoyu, they must perform their own parts in front of guest or audiences. It was indeed a phenomenal joint performance and I saw that 80-year-old father and only 10-year-old son were really shining on stage by surrounding the applauding audience.

I strongly felt it same, in terms of a relation between parent and child, even though I am on different domain of Kabuki. Since I shied away from moving explicitly, I only had to grip my pocket chief quietly among a lot of smiling audiences.