Fuden-An: Leaves from a Tea-Journal

Advent of autumn

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

When I happen to feel the first touch of autumn in September after summer vacation, various events related to the tea ceremonies will be organized one after another.

In August, I visited the National University of Singapore to give the annual lecture on the tea ceremony. Except for this trip abroad, I did not have any other business trip in Japan so I spent most of my time carrying out my duties in Tokyo.

For the upcoming autumn, I’m supposed to go on a business trip abroad for various tea ceremonies, first of all, starting in September at the Ambassador’s residence in Vienna and then in October to others in New York and Washington D. C. In addition, there will be a big event, organized for the first time in a long time by the Kyoto branch. For this national-level tea event I am looking forward to attend, that will be held at the Daitokuji-Temple’s Tacchu – Kohoan, Soukenin and Houshunin. From what I have heard, there may be more than 1,000 participants. The organizers have been crying for joy on how to carry out this event as well as welcome and entertain guests. I was asked for advice on the best way to proceed, but I think that the success of this tea ceremony will greatly depend not only on the care and consideration provided by the hosts, but also on the empathy and sensitivity of the guests. And I believe that is what is important about the spirit of tea ceremony.

Prior to the event in Vienna, another tea ceremony is also planned at the Embassy in Slovakia. When it comes to practical elements, such as transporting the utensils along with actual travel of staff from one location to another, I know that these details will require a very close attention.

In addition, while in New York, I will be on a tight schedule every day including a symposium held by the Japan Society so I must also be mindful of my own health. Actually, back in April of 1987, when my father conducted the tea ceremony at the opening event for a newly-opened Japan Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I assisted my father during the ceremony. Since the upcoming program will be the largest event attended to date by the Enshu School, I may feel nostalgic and very emotional for this previous event, which happened two decades ago.

Furthermore, among my plans in New York, I am so excited to meet with Eido Shimano Roshi for the first time in some 20 years. This Roshi has dedicated himself to open the Dai Bosatsu Zen-do (monastery) in the Catskills of New York and widely disseminates the Buddhist philosophy there. Due to the hectic schedule, he has asked me to hold a tea ceremony at the Shoboji-Temple, located in New York City. I can say that I am very excited and looking forward to this. After events in New York, I will move to Washington D. C. to hold a tea event at the Japanese Ambassador’s Residence which has the tea room, named “Ippaku-tei”. This room was designed by Mr. Kagaitei Emori, who was a critic of the tea ceremony who used to give me a wide range of advice related to his area of expertise, when I was young. On the day of the tea ceremony at Ippaku-tei, I intend to spend the day with considerable feeling of Emori-Sensei.

After the month of October, my schedule seems to be busy with a lot of tea ceremonies so that I am afraid I will not be able to get much rest. No matter how busy I might be, I’ve decided to keep calm and carry out my duties one by one.