My father, Mr. Hayashiya and myself

Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

My father, Mr. Hayashiya and myself[October 2017]

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

The weather this summer was particularly volatile - torrential rainfall was highly localized and last for short periods at a time, causing the loss of many lives and much wealth. I pay tribute to the victims of these disasters and hope that the affected areas recover quickly.

In the last two months, I have written in this column about the relationship that existed between Mr. Hayashi and my father, albeit as someone behind the scenes. This month, I will write about an episode involving all three of us.

The last time I observed the sharpness of Mr. Hayashiya's insight was when, as I wrote in July, I visited him two weeks before his passing. When I took out a tea cup from my basket, all it took him was a distant glance to recognize the type of utensil. The first time was indeed the occasion of the ashes of the first ‘furo’, about which I have already written, since which there have been many occasions of admiration.

There was one time when Mr. Hayashiya and I had the opportunity to give a lecture in Takamatsu. In fact, it was originally my father who was to give this lecture in the form of an interview with Mr. Hayashiya about his "flower arrangements for tea ceremony". As you know, my father's floral art was very popular. It was indeed an area that was particularly important to him. The plan was for the two men to talk about my father's accomplishments while looking at a slideshow. But having suddenly fallen ill, my father was unable to attend. As I wondered how to deal with the situation, my father asked me to go in his stead. Mr. Hayashiya said that since I had been close to my father during his activities that I was suited to the task and agreed with the proposal. He also suggested that we use the occasion to display some slides of my own floral arrangements.

So it was suddenly decided that I would accompany Mr. Hayashiya. Even though I was to eventually succeed my father, this task seemed to me to be a huge responsibility. That said, having just had my abilities in floral arrangement recognized by my father and Mr. Hayashiya to some extent, I felt reassured.

The lecture entailed our going through the slideshow with Mr. Hayashiya asking me questions about the floral arrangements, the types of flowers used, the vases, the circumstances and spirit in which these arrangements were made and so on. With regard to my father's achievements, it was inevitable that my answers would be somewhat subjective. Mr. Hayashiya was his usual self and would not only praise but occasionally say things such as "this is so so".

What really struck me was that Mr Hayashiya was able to distinguish, without exception, between my floral arrangements and those of my father. The slides were arranged in order of season and none were labeled as mine or my fathers. About 80% were my fathers and 20% were mine. I had of course intended to point out which were my own but Mr. Hayashiya was able to recognize them before I could speak.

Once I returned to Tokyo and told my father what had happened, he said to me smiling “I should think so”.

On August 10th, Mr. Hattori of Jikinyukai Association passed away. Mr. Kimura from the Hirosaki Federation and Mr. Nakamura from the Hachinohe Federation also passed away. Allow me to take this opportunity to pay tribute to these three personalities.