URASENKE TANKOKAI FEDERATION
682 Teranouchi Tate-cho
Horikawa Teranouchi agaru
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0073
June 12, 2019
UMAA Members and Friends
The month of June, "Minazuki," has so far brought relatively little rain here in Kyoto, with moderately cool and comfortable weather. It is an opportune time to enjoy a bowl of tea outdoors.
Oiemoto and Daisosho were very happy to receive the letter from the UMAA, sent via email and dated June 6, about your donation campaign to contribute to the funding for the Konnichian restoration work. They are certainly pleased to accept the donation which you offer, JPY1,000,000, and deeply appreciate that the UMAA got together to make this contribution.
I am writing to you today, on their behalf as they have asked me and my Kokusaibu department to do, to convey this to all of you members and friends of the UMAA. Oiemoto and Daisosho, together with all of us others at Urasenke Headquarters, are overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for your much welcome show of continuing support.
The exhausting restoration work on the historical Konnichian tea room complex is still ongoing, but the completion of this immense project which has taken many years already is not far away. Thank you, UMAA members and friends who have contributed towards its funding.
Kayoko Hirota, Manager
International Affairs Department
Midorikai alumni in Asia organized an intensive seminar in Yogyakarta, Indonesia April, 27 ~ 28, 2019. Eleven Midorikai alumni and 19 Tankokai Association members participated. Eileen Sung (’97, Singapore), organizer and coordinator, was assisted by Hanna Danudirgo (‘14, Indonesia), local coordinator; and Teti Indriati (Midorikai,Technical University of Indonesia), and Lia Japani (‘91, Bandung University). All of the utensils and material for the intensive, including tatami for two eight-mat spaces, were provided by the Indonesia tea practitioners.
The two-day intensive focused on shichijishiki, particularly kagetsu and shaza and its variations. Instructing the intensive were Bruce Sosei Hamana ( ’83, former Midorikai director) and Kitamura Yumiko (Midorikai instructor). Also attending were teachers from the Tankokai Indonesia Association, including Pohan Kuniko Soho, Suwarni Widjaja Sojun, and Tinny Sudrajat.
On 27 April, the program began with warigeiko (review of temae basics), and then a demonstration of hirakagetsu. After the demonstration, the students were divided into two groups and participated in the following temae: mugon nagekomi, sumitsuki kagetsu, kininkiyotsugu usucha and koicha, gyakugatte kagetsu, and yojohan kagetsu according to their level.
On 28 April, the first temae was basic shaza, and then the following temae: kinin shaza, sanyu, senyu, and continuation of kagetsu practice Although some participants were doing shichijishiki for the first time, accommodations were made so that everyone participated in at least three temae each day, and many were able to do hana, oko, and various other activities not regularly done in regular keiko. All of the participants are greatly indebted to the organizers and the organizations which lent their cooperation to hold this first event in Asia.
Besides the jitsugi practice in the tearoom, Eileen Sung organized a tour for the Midorikai students attending from outside Indonesia. On 24 April, the day of arrival, the group went to the Amanjiwo Resort where they sampled Indonesia culture and cuisine. The next day, they viewed the sunrise at the 9th C. Borobudur Temple, the largest Buddhist monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the afternoon, they visited the 9th C. Prambanan Hindu Temple at sunset; this temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Participants brought their chabako and chadogu and enjoyed tea at the sites, on the bus, and in many locations.
After the intensive seminar was concluded, eight participants remaining in Yogyakarta participated in a chanoyu presentation at the Universitas Teknologi Yogyakarta on April 29. Over 100 students from Japanese language and cultural classes at three universities in the city attended the presentation comprising a slide show, temae demonstration, and question and answer session. Dr. Eko Setyo, dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Education & Tourism, introduced the group, participated in the demonstration as a guest, and later presented all of the participants with certificates of appreciation and commemorative gifts. The university also kindly hosted a luncheon with the teaching staff and Midorikai alumni and friends.
Hideyoshi and Rikyu
"Hideyoshi made a strangled noise, words stifled by his rage. . . . [He] flew down from the dais, the toes of his gold brocade socks flashing over ten green grass mats in a second. Soji's body was kicked from the corridor like a ball, hitting the stepping stone and rolling into the garden. . . . At the time, Rikyu was still in the tearoom, and knew nothing about it. On his way to see Hideyoshi, to inform him that the tea gathering had concluded successfully, Omura Yuki intercepted him and whispered urgently in his ear. But by that time, Soji's head was already separated from his torso, lying in the corner of the stone wall." -from Chapter 12
Nogami Yaeko's compelling novel of political intrigue in sixteenth-century Japan depicts the intertwined lives of two iconic historical figures. Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose through the ranks from a common foot soldier to become the military ruler of Japan but struggled to win respect among the cultured nobility. He found both a friend and an invaluable political advisor in Sen no Rikyu, Japan's most respected tea master. A wealthy merchant in his own right, Rikyu's talent for tea ceremony propelled him into the ruler's court. Deftly balancing Hideyoshi's love of ostentatious display with the ideals of simplicity and rusticity embodied in the way of tea, Rikyu commands respect from loyal students and court nobles alike.
As the story opens, the two men are several years into their friendship, and tensions have begun to build. Hideyoshi pursues his quest to unify Japan, and his ego grows with every victory. Rikyu watches his friends exiled and pardoned according to Hideyoshi's whims and longs for freedom from the excess and intrigue of court life. Nogami explores the dynamic politics of conquest, the delicate connections of the human soul, and the power of speech and silence in her elegant psychological portrait of two powerful men.
Mariko Nishi LaFleur is a Japanese native who has been teaching tea ceremony in Japan and the United states for more than thirty-five years. She has a degree in Anthropology from Bryn Mawr College. Her articles and translations has been published in the Japanese Society for the Study of Chanoyu journal and the Chanoyu Quarterly and she has participated in educational films on tea ceremony for the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Aiya Tea Company in Japan. She was trained at Urasenke tea school headquarters in Kyoto, where she has taught for many years. She has also taught classes in tea ceremony, Japanese culture, and Japanese language at the University of Pennsylvania and other institutions.
Morgan Beard has been a professional writer and editor for more than twenty years. She has a degree in religion and communication from LaSalle University and an advanced teaching certification (jun-kyojyu) from the Urasenke Tea School. She has been active in teaching and promoting tea culture throughout the Philadelphia area for more than twenty years and currently serves as the chief of administration for the Philadelphia chapter of the Urasenke Tankokai Association.
Opening Remarks and Introductions
Brief History of UMAA
It is with regret that I have not been able to join this first Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association intensive study and international meeting. I wanted to say a special thank you to Oiemoto sama and Daisosho sama for approving this special 3-day intensive study. I would also like to thank Makiko sama for attending today's meeting and sharing her views. In addition I would like to thank the sensei's for their teaching and the foreign affairs office for their help in coordinating this event. With their help the preparations for this study went very smoothly. I would also like to thank Bruce Hamana for his continuing dedication to Midorikai and the Alumni Association and all his help during the planning of this study. Christy Bartlett, Karl Fooks and Jessica Rosenberg have worked tirelessly planning and finalizing this historic 3-day study. Thank you for your continued dedication to Midorikai and the Alumni Association. Finally, I would like to thank all of you from many parts of the world for taking part in this intensive study. I hope that you will return home with a renewed dedication as you continue to share Urasenke tea with many others in your home country.
A $25 annual dues was endorsed and a lively discussion of all the various services UMAA should be able deliver to its members: grants for events, a library of tea information, and a forum for information exchange and connection between members. Some discussion of the relationship of UMAA to Tankokai was discussed with the strong encouragement for UMAA members to members of their local Tankokai.
Karl welcomed the group as the first dues-paying members of UMAA as their fees for the Intensive Study included one year's dues. Those dues were used in their entirety by UMAA to cover the cost overage incurred during the Intensive. UMAA also drew on existing funds to cover the overage.
By Morgan Beard Somon. Chief of Administration for Urasenke Philadelphia Association, and one of the sensei within the Association.
Machida Soho Sensei with Anniversary Attendees
Lindsey Stirek (Illinois) prepares tea
back row left: Lindsey Stirek (Illinois), Christy Soei Bartlett (San Francisco), Rhonda Rolf (Texas),
front row left: Jan Waldmann (Oregon), Carmen Johnson (Texas), Morgan Beard (Philadelphia)
The Michigan branch of the international Urasenke Tankokai Federation opened their hearts to practitioners from across North America to celebrate their tenth anniversary on May 6 and 7, 2017.
The event began on Saturday morning with koicha and usucha seatings hosted by the association. Our hosts worked hard to transform the hotel setting into a tea space, bringing live plants, lanterns, and tsukubai stones to create a tea garden in the vicinity of each tea space. The utensil selection was a tribute to Urasenke's presence in this country, featuring many items from Hounsai Daisosho and Zabosai Oiemoto.
In the afternoon, the floor was turned over to regional associations from throughout the continent. Two groups came from Illinois, one representing the Chicago Association and the other a student group from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Northeast, the Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles, and the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association were represented with four other groups. The Chicago Association offered tea with a ryurei set created by their President Dean Raffaelli. The other groups assembled tray-style ryakubon tea, sharing this simple tea preparation with a small group of guests-no more than ten for each seating. Guests were encouraged to circulate among the six groups and to enjoy tea.
I was fortunate to be able to participate in the afternoon tea as both host and guest. As a host with the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association, I experienced the joy of offering tea for old friends and new, sharing stories and memories about the utensils that were used, including many pieces that had appeared at previous anniversary celebrations in other cities. As a guest, I experienced the local flavors and colors of many regions, and enjoyed the many different ways that others have adapted local materials, objects, and imagery into their tea practice. One of the highlights for me was the Urbana-Champaign student gathering, where we witnessed budding tea people apply their whole hearts to the creation of tea.
The next day, we were all treated to two special events. First, Machida Soho, a gyotei sensei from Urasenke Konnichian, conducted a morning workshop in which four temae were taught, in addition to a discussion of warigeiko. No matter how many years you've studied tea, there's always some new revelation to be gained from listening to a gyotei sensei, and we were particularly fortunate to be able to learn from Machida sensei. Christy Bartlett, director of the Urasenke Foundation San Francisco, translated for the English speakers among the participants.
The event wrapped up with a lecture from Dr. Hideji Sekine on the influence of Chinese philosophy on chado. This is a huge topic, and the audience came away with a new way to think about the relationship of tea utensils to each other and how the tearoom becomes a representation of the universe in miniature.
I know I speak for all participants when I express my profound gratitude to all the members of Chado Urasenke Tankokai Michigan Association for their hard work and wonderful welcome to make this a one-of-a-kind event.
In February 2016 the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association was honored to be given the opportunity to host a gathering as part of the Hawaii 65th Anniversary celebrations. It was also a marvelous opportunity for an international meeting of alumni to discuss the mission of the Alumni Association.
On February 21, a dinner meeting was held with 31 alums in attendance, representing 6 countries and ranging from recent graduates to those who studied nearly 40 years ago. Many of the members were meeting for the first time; others were long-time friends. Several months prior to the meeting, UMAA reached out to the international community with an online survey for those who might be unable to travel to this event.
Through discussion and the survey, three major topics emerged that are of interest to the alums:
· learning about and participating in events around the world
· sharing knowledge of local resources
· creating UMAA regional advisors to act as conduits for information
· redesigning the UMAA website to facilitate connections among alums
· sharing Chanoyu-related knowledge and information
· hosting workshops on Chanoyu-related topics
· creating a (primarily digital) library-alums strongly supported an idea to underwrite a project for Urasenke Konnichian to digitize the 88 volumes of Chanoyu Quarterly
3) MAINTAIN RELATIONS WITH URASENKE KONNICHIAN
· keeping in touch with Kokusaibu and thus, ultimately, with the Soke
· keeping up to date with Midorikai news
· thinking of UMAA as a resource ready to be called upon to further the Soke's vision for Urasenke Chanoyu, and to put into practice the Urasenke Chanoyu training alums were so fortunate to receive.
At present, UMAA and its website are maintained by a volunteer committee working to establish a sustainable structure for the organization. At this meeting, a proposal was made to develop UMAA regional advisors. Regional advisors would maintain connections with alumni in their areas and would act as conduits of information. Furthermore, it is hoped that regional advisors will become leaders and officers of the Alumni Association in the future.
All members expressed a strong desire to have an opportunity to continue their study with an Intensive Study in Kyoto arranged with the Konnichian Headquarters. Their hope is to request such an opportunity in the near future. A specific proposal is being prepared to submit to the Headquarters.
The Urasenke Konnichian website, the English-language Urasenke Newsletter, and events such as the Hawaii 65th Anniversary are already realizing some of these dreams. We pledge to devote our energies to the international future of the Urasenke Tradition of Chanoyu.
Dear Members of the Midorikai Alumni Association and Midorikai students,
First of all, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of you who worked so hard planning and implementing the memorable Midorikai 40th Anniversary Commemorative Events and Reunion in Hawaii this summer. Also, I would like to say thank you to all who gathered in Hawaii, and all of those who--although unable to attend the events personally--sent congratulatory letters to Hounsai Daisosho.
Forty years adds up to many months and years; but for me, it has been a continuum of months and years extending up to the present. The faces of the Midorikai students have remained in my heart and have helped me recall the months and years clearly as if they were yesterday. At the commemorative events, I was able to see again former students who have become prominent and talented people working in their various fields and communities. This made me realize that everyone had gone on to live his or her own life, and that during these forty years, a generation had passed. I was very happy to see that everyone, including people who had been out of touch with Urasenke and perhaps the Way of Tea, had led full and happy lives.
Hounsai Daisosho was very happy that many people were able to gather in Hawaii, and during the commemorative banquet, he said that the Midorikai students are his treasures. What a wonderful thing to say! I have seen many Midorikai students go on to become knowledgeable Chado teachers themselves, and have seen them verily conveying the spirit of Chado and passing the reigns to the next generation. This is for me an unparalleled joy.
I hope that reunions, such as this one commemorating the 40th anniversary, will continue to be held in ten, twenty, thirty years, and further into the future. Let us strive to share Daisosho's continuing feelings for Midorikai and its success, and to contribute to his great endeavors to expand Japan's traditional Tea culture into a world-wide cultural activity. Through these activities, we are all playing an important role in the long history of Chanoyu.
Again, I would like to express my great appreciation for your invitation to the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Events. Please stay healthy and full of energy; I, too, will be mindful of my body and strive to live a long life devoted to tea, with the hopes of being able to meet you all again in the future.
Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great honor and a privilege to be here with you in the presence of the Great Grand Master Hounsai to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Midori-Kai. It is truly a realization of my dream. When I see the Great Grand Master and all of the 60 alumni of Midorikai, whose faces have been imprinted deeply in my heart, I feel as though I am attending a family re-union.
I sincerely hope and believe that the newly established Alumni Association would flourish and prosper, further deepening your bonds, so that your activities will continue 10, 20, 30 years into the future, and into to eternity along with the Urasenke Family.
It was 40 years ago, in 1970, the year of the Osaka Expo, when a group of youths came to Kyoto and knocked on the doors of the Urasenke School of Tea. That marked the first encounter between the Great Grand Master Hounsai and your predecessors. They had come from the United States, Canada, Ethiopia, Sweden, and Denmark. That day also marked the beginning of the Midorikai.
Hounsai, who at the time was the Grand Master of Urasenke had donated a tea room named, "Han'an, Banri" for the Japanese garden exhibit at the Osaka Expo. This was where these youths had their first taste of tea. Through this experience, they discovered that despite the noise of Osaka Expo, "something in the Japanese Chado, offered a healing of the heart." Their impressions resonated with the Grand Master's belief that Chado could heal the hearts of the people of the world after all the sufferings experienced in the World War II.
The Grand Master established the Midorikai, "The Chado Scholarship System for the Students from Other Nations." The Mission of the Scholarship was to "teach and develop the youths from other nations through the study of Chado according to the Urasenke School of Tea, receiving hands-on experience and understanding of the true meaning of Chado, so that they could use that knowledge and experience to contribute to the world peace."
At the same time, the Grand Master established the motto of "ichiwan kara peacefulness" for the domestic Tankokai. Thus, began the movement of the "Peacefulness from a Bowl of Tea." Grand Master's belief has not changed from that time, so that now 40 years since, and as the Great Grand Master, Hounsai is still with us today to celebrate this occasion. It is truly a wonderful day.
Whenever, I see the Great Grand Master's face, I am reminded of the saying, "banri ichijo no tetsu" Steel Wire Continues for Thousands of Miles. The literal meaning seems to describe the underwater communication cables that link the continents. Of course, that is not what I am referring to. The Zen interpretation of the expression is to pursue one's belief without disruption or extraneous thoughts to the very end. However, it does not mean, to be inflexible or rigid. Just as there is elasticity in steel, there must be the ability to flexibly respond to the changes from the external environment. This metaphor of one steel wire which continues on without any doubts describing the Zen training has truly been exemplified before our eyes by the Great Grand Master Hounsai.
The members of Midorikai can be likened to the doves that have flown in from all over the world to alight upon this wire represented by the Great Grand Master to find their spiritual solace through the Japanese tradition of Tea.
Since the establishment of Chado in the 16th Century by Rikyu, in 400 years of its history, it took the 15th Generation Grand Master living in the 20th Century, to open the doors of this traditional Japanese culture to the rest of the world. Since then, over 500 Midorikai doves have alighted on this wire. Besides the members of Midorikai, many heads of states, foreign dignitaries, scholars, students and visitors have gathered from the 5 Continents.
I believe that it is a miracle, living in the age of transition from the 20th to the 21st Century, where we have experienced drastic turmoil in the world affairs, that we have encountered Chado and the Great Grand Master Hounsai.
Two years ago, I published a book entitled "sekai de ocha o" from Tankosha describing the half a century of history of the globalization of Chado. In the book, I attempted to describe the story of the great achievements of the Great Grand Master Hounsai in his relentless efforts to spread Chado to the world, which I earlier expressed as "banri ichijo no tetsu". From the period of the 20th to the 21st Century, Chado became established as not only a Japanese cultural heritage but a world cultural heritage through the efforts of the Great Grand Master Hounsai. Midorikai has played a crucial role in that history. In the book, I wrote about his mother, Kayoko Ookusama, his wife, Tomiko Okusama and the individual members of Midorikai who were there to support him during that time. They all left strong impressions of their sincerity to Tea and to the Grand Tea Master that I felt that I needed to leave a record of their existence. We, including myself, have been fortunate to be part of this miraculous story.
"Tea is enough if it satisfies thirst." This implies not only the satisfaction of the physical thirst but also the spiritual thirst. All of you as members of the Midorikai know empirically through your practice and training of Tea, that it does truly satisfy the spiritual thirst. With this in mind, I hope you re-confirm the spirit of the "Peacefulness from a Bowl of Tea" as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Midorikai.
In closing I wish to extend my congratulations to the Great Grand Master Hounsai, the alumni and the members of Midorikai on this joyous occasion.
Thank you very much.
Daisosho and Alumni at Sheraton Waikiki Dinner 7/21/10
Midorikai Alumni Reunion Group Picture - 7/21/2010 photo by Sharon Stevens
Mori Sensei Talk - July 18, 2010
Mori Sensei Thank You Letter
Midori no Hoshi Okashi
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