Looking back this year[December 2017]

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Looking back this year[December 2017]

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

Every time the year comes to an end, in the art of tea ceremony, we prepare celebrations for the end of the year, a final New Year's tea ceremony and a house cleaning of the year. At the same time, we work to prepare for the first activities of the coming year: cleaning the storehouse of major historical utensils, sorting training equipment, changing tatami mattresses and paper for “shoji”, and repairing damaged objects. We also pick up dead leaves in the garden, replace the bamboo hedge with green bamboo and spread pine leaves in the garden. Considering all of this again, there really is so much to do. Those who saw the documentary broadcast last March and the movie "My father is a tea master" may have an idea of what this is like but ensuring that these traditions continue unchanged every year is not an easy task.

There was one thing I wanted to write about in this last article of the year and it is the national meeting of tea ceremony held last October in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture. As you know, this prefecture is the birthplace of Kobori Enshu and it has special links with the Kobori district, formerly known as Asai district. It was the first time the national gathering took place there. The four branches of Shiga Prefecture, Nagahama, Asai, Shigakofu and Tankai joined to co-host this meeting.

In fact, despite being the birthplace of Enshu, Shiga prefecture had no Enshu branch until a little over twenty years ago, so there were almost no Enshu students in that prefecture.

But in 1996, during the commemoration of the 350th anniversary memorial of Kobori Enshu, a number of Enshu school officials, including my father and I, visited there. This later motivated us to create a branch in this prefecture. The fact that the meeting there this year took place twenty years after my first official visit there is quite moving. As a result, the national gathering ended up having a record turnout. This can be explained by the strong desire of the majority of students of the school to go to the birthplace of the founding father. This shared desire of the guest students and the hosts made the meeting a success. Each tea ceremony were full of new ideas and unique level of hospitality. Of course, there was a lack of experience and points of improvement here and there, but these will provide great opportunity for future learning and progress.

As I wrote at the beginning of this article, the path of the art of tea ceremony is nothing less than continuity and repetition. Doing the same thing requires daily effort. Looking back at this event, I realized how important this is and wanted to share that with you in this statement at the end of the year.

A tea ceremony for the 200th anniversary memorial of Matsudaira Fumai was held on October 29th. The details will be published in the next periodical report. I would like to thank Gokokuji temple and especially Mushanokouji senke, Sensooku Soshou for holding this big event together.