Apr 17, 2008

Aisatsu – show some respect

Aisatsu is the formal greetings before and at the end of class. In the beginning we place the fan in front of us and we ask our sensei to teach us and have a care for us, “Okeiko yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.” At the end of class we formally thank the teacher for teaching us. “Okeiko arigato gozaimashita.”

There is an aisatsu before the host begins his temae, first to the sensei, “Sensei, otemae okeiko onegai itashimasu,” and the guest “Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.”

Likewise, the guests ask the sensei to teach the guest part, “Kyaku okeiko onegai itashimasu,” and to the other guests studying “Yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.”

After the end of the temae, the host returns to the mizuya (preparation room) and takes out his fukusa and folds it neatly and puts it away, then picks up his fan and returns to the tea room to thank the teacher and guests: “Sensei, okeiko arigato gozaimashita” and to the guests “Kyaku, arigato gozaimashita.”

That is a lot of greetings and thank yous. Many students see this as empty form. One of the principles of chado is respect and aisatsu shows respect for the sensei and the knowledge that sensei is willing to share. For the guests it is an acknowledgement of being in this study together.

When I lived in Japan we would do formal aisatsu before the school term started, after the term ended, before and after events, and before and after holidays or important anniversaries. So every day, every study, every event and anniversary, holiday or celebration, aisatsu is appropriate.

Even now, when we work together at a chakai, or a presentation, there is an aisatsu before we begin and after the clean up is finished. It shows respect, but also when we follow this form, it reaffirms relationships and makes people feel appreciated.

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