Tea ceremonies in the snow[March 2016]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Tea ceremonies in the snow[March 2016]

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

The first tea ceremonies of the year were completed successfully and before the dust settles, February was passed and we will soon welcome March. Meanwhile, I had the honor of performing tea ceremonies such as the one in Meiji Jingu as the first memorial event of my sixtieth anniversary, annual tea ceremonies at the Association of Tokyo Tea schools and a ceremony to honor the god Tenjin, to which our family is traditionally attached.

The first tea ceremonies of the year which I just mentioned are currently held in Tokyo and Fukuoka. When I was little, ceremonies held in Tokyo would last four days, but today as they grow more popular, they last for six.

The ceremonies in Fukuoka began thirteen years ago when the House of Culture of Enshu Sado School, representing our school in the west, was opened. Therefore, it was the twelfth New Year tea ceremony since then.

The tea ceremonies in Fukuoka lasted two days in the snow and left me with unforgettable memories.

Several days before my departure from Tokyo, the weather forecast said that the largest ever cold snap would hit the western part of the country. If this were indeed to happen, I knew that I should be well prepared for the cold this year. But I am one of "those who brings good weather" and have on several occasions during tea events experienced pleasant weather despite the forecast of bad weather. So I went to Fukuoka, hoping a little that the weather would turn out fine.

On the day before the first day of the tea ceremony, it certainly was cold but I did not see signs of snow. It did not snow in the morning of the first day I had thought that this would be the case for the rest of the day, but in the afternoon it began to snow. As I focused on making tea, I did not pay much attention to the situation outside. When the last session of tea over, I looked outside and saw that it was snowing intensely. I began to worry.

When I awoke at the hotel in the morning of the second day, the view from my room was completely white with snow. I struggled at first to hire a taxi but finally managed to make my way to the House of Culture. As for the guests, they apparently made it without any major difficulty. I congratulated them for the care they have taken to arrive on time and welcomed them to the ceremony.

The monk Kato from Yakushiji temple was among the guests and made a very interesting comment: "Today will be unforgettable. Until I arrived at the venue for today’s tea ceremony, everything everywhere was white and there was no trace of anything. When I looked back, I saw only my footprints in the snow. There has never been nor will there ever be a beautiful day such as this. "

As soon as I heard this, I thought of the kakemono "one" by Koun Zen monk, which I put on display in a tea room at this year's tea ceremonies. It only has the character for "one" written in a big character with an annotation in small letters. The rest is white. This is the same as the landscape described by the monk Kato.