Cultural exchanges in Europe[November 2015]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Cultural exchanges in Europe[November 2015]

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

Now that the time of year when one begins to use the fireplace for the first time in the year, people having begun conducting tea ceremonies across the country. I personally conducted light and thick tea ceremonies Soten-an tea house and gave a tea presentation ceremony during the Sunpu Tenka Taihei fesitval and many more ceremonies are planned .

Following the trip I made to Singapore last August, I made a tour of Germany and France between the 21st and 29th of September. In Germany, I conducted a tea ceremony for children at the Max Planck Gymnasium, a secondary school located in Trier, the oldest city in the country. The event which was organized by Mr. Aubert, Honorary Advisor of the international division of the Enshu School, brought together high school students and city residents. I used the "Tenrai" which I had donated to the school last year. Afterwards, our delegation borrowed the Tenrai for our next trip which was to France.

In France, we held four events in three days. We arrived in Paris in the evening having left from Luxemberg. In the morning of the 24th we went to the residence of the Japanese Ambassador in Paris to prepare a tea ceremony scheduled at noon. Mr. Yoichi Suzuki, the Japanese Ambassador in France, and I have known one another since he represented Japan in Singapore and with his full support we were able to conduct the tea ceremony.

We left the Ambassador's residence at 3pm and arrived at the Clemenceau Museum in Paris at 4pm and we began preparations for the tea ceremony scheduled to start from 6pm. The Clemenceau Museum is just as impressive as the great politician after whom it was named. The ceremony ended at 8pm and we were invited to a dinner that was held until 11:30 p.m.

The next day we paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of UNESCO. From 2pm to 2:50pm I gave a lecture on the spirit of Chanoyu for around fifty representatives of various countries and, as is to be expected from people in their position, I had the impression they listening solemnly.

After the conference ended, in a separate room I served tea to Mr Falt, UNESCO Secretariat, and three who accompanied him. Unfortunately Director-General Bokova was absent since she was attending a UN convention. I was very happy when Mr. Falt told me that he felt that the tea had 'purified his spirit'.

On the 26th, the film "My father is the Great Master" was shown in the Maison de la culture du Japon in Paris. The performance was sold out. The Q&A session that followed was lively and lasted half an hour. I am always pleased by the many questions that I receive after giving a lecture overseas. We served tea to guests in the lobby of the Maison de la culture before the performance of the film and since it was so successful we had to postpone the start of film by over 30 minutes. Large numbers of people came by to try the tea and enjoyed the "Tenrai".

Our schedule was very tight and events held in Trier and Paris were extremely rewarding. I felt that more and more foreigners are interested in Japanese culture and tea ceremony the role Enshu has to play in supporting this interest is really important .