The end of the year[December 2014]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

The end of the year[December 2014]

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

The end of the year is finally approaching. The month of December has been called by many names but it always refer to a moment for us all to bring things to a close and to evaluate the year in terms of whether it was satisfactory or full of regret. It is also the time to reflect on this and to go into the new year mentally prepared.

For me this year has been about the release of the film about my father “Chichiha Iemoto”, or Iemoto, My Father. Although the film was released in January 2014, the fact that the movie is still being played at some theaters now in November fills me with great joy.
While I may be biased, I believe this film has helped raise awareness about the tradition of Tea Ceremony in Japan and has helped create a sense of affinity for Tea Ceremony amongst many people. I also think the film presents an opportunity for us all to think about the importance of passing down Japanese culture to the next generation and the importance of relationships within families. I would like us all to recognize that our daily lives are the way they are because we are blessed with the natural world and the four seasons.

I mention this frequently but mankind must always be modest when face to face with nature. There were many natural disasters this year and many lost their lives. It is tragic and I pray these tragic events do not happen again. We should also reflect seriously on the extravagances of last year. I believe that as citizens of this country we must seriously debate the issues of nuclear power and energy and future of the continuity of mankind.

Other than the usual tea ceremony related events and the release of the film, this year we have been involved in a number of other areas such as the design of a Tea Ceremony Teddy bear and collaborating with a Scandinavian furniture manufacturer. In fields where I am just a layman, I always end up having to learn from scratch. This is a necessary process and presents many opportunities to be frank and realize just how little I know about so many things.

This will be my last journal entry of the year about films. My favorite film director is Alfred Hitchcock. I have seen all of his films, everything from the time he started his career in Britain to after he became a big success in Hollywood. I like ‘Rebecca’, ‘Suspicion’, ‘Strangers on a Train’, ‘Shadow of a Doubt’, and ‘Vertigo’ and have seen these films several times. Some of the films of his which I like are considered by many fans of Hitchcock to be poorly made. There are reasons for this on which I will elaborate in detail on a separate occasion but I believe this can explained by the fact that I enjoy these films from the perspective of someone who practices Tea ceremony, not a film critic. As such, there are always opportunities to learn something new.