Jan 30, 2009

Introduction to Japanese Culture through the Tea Ceremony

Harmony, purity, respect and tranquility. These are the four principles of tea ceremony distilled from Japanese culture. In this ten week class, students will be introduced to Chado, the way of tea. The arts of Japan will be examined through the ritual preparation and drinking of matcha, Japanese ceremonial tea. Students will participate in at least six tea ceremonies, an incense ceremony, and kimono dressing. Japanese architecture, gardening, flower arranging and calligraphy will also be covered.
Issoan Tea School
17761 NW Marylhurst Ct.
Portland, OR 97229

Wednesdays 7:00-8:30 pm beginning Feb. 4

Contact me 503.645.7058 or email margie@issoantea.com to register. Space is limited only 2 more spaces left.

Jan 28, 2009

The Stubborn Twig

The Stubborn Twig, by Laruren Kessler is the story of the Yasui family making their way in America through the generations. This book is the official selection for Oregon Reads 2009, which is a community reads program that will take place in nearly every public library and in every county in Oregon during the state's sesquicentennial, January through April of 2009. As a result of this, there are many Japanese cultural events scheduled through the libraries, cultural and recreational centers to foster an understanding of the Japanese culture.

Issoan Tea School will be giving lectures and demonstrations as part of this cultural education.

• Cornelius Public library, Saturday Feb. 21 at 1:00 pm.
• Lake Oswego Parks and Rec. Japanese Market, Saturday Feb. 28th at
10:30, 1:00 and 3:00 pm
• Driftwood Public Library, Lincoln City, Sunday March 8, 3:00 pm

Please join us for a sweet and a bowl of tea.

Jan 27, 2009

Living forward for a year

Every year the Emperor of Japan selects a poetic theme for the next year. The theme is announced and guest poets and the public are invited to submit waka poems based on the theme. Waka or Tanka is a five line poem with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables in each line. Anyone can submit a poem and if your poem is selected, you will get an invitation to attend the gathering held for poems in January. You will have the opportunity to have an audience with the Emperor and recite your poem at the gathering. The Emperor will present his poem at the gathering as well.

The chokudai, or poetic theme for last year was fire. for 2009 is sei – meaning “to live” or “to live forward.” If you are an artist, this might mean you continue striving in the arts. If you are a craftsperson, perhaps it means to keep the old or new tradition going. If you are a teacher, you might try to impart a good education to your students. Or for a plant it may mean to remain in the ground for another year.

For this year, I will not dwell in the past. All the mistakes I made in the past or perceived slights made by others will be in the past. Everyday for this year, I will wake up to a new day and continue to live forward.

Jan 26, 2009

2009 the year of the ox

It seems like such a long time since I last posted and for regular readers and those who enjoy reading this blog, I am very sorry. I promise to be better about posting as I have many things that I would like to share with you about Chanoyu, the way of tea. New updates on my Issoan Tea website, too.

This year, 2009 is the year of the Ox. The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.

Ox people need peace and quiet to work through their ideas, and when they have set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. An Ox person has a very logical mind and is extremely systematic in whatever they do, though they have a tremendous imagination and an unparalleled appreciation for beauty. These people speak little but are extremely intelligent. When necessary, they are articulate and eloquent.

People born under the influence of the Ox are kind, caring souls, logical, positive, filled with common sense and with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Security is their main preoccupation in life, and they are prepared to toil long and hard in order to provide a warm, comfortable and stable nest for themselves and their families. Strong-minded, stubborn, individualistic, the majority are highly intelligent individuals who don't take kindly to being told what to do.

The Ox works hard, patiently, and methodically, with original intelligence and reflective thought. These people enjoy helping others. Behind this tenacious, laboring, and self-sacrificing exterior lies an active mind.

The Ox is not extravagant, and the thought of living off credit cards or being in debt makes them nervous. The possibility of taking a serious risk could cause the Ox sleepless nights.

Ox people are truthful and sincere, and the idea of wheeling and dealing in a competitive world is distasteful to them. They are rarely driven by the prospect of financial gain. These people are always welcome because of their honesty and patience. They are reputed to be the most beautiful of face in the zodiac. They have many friends, who appreciate the fact that the Ox people are wary of new trends, although every now and then they can be encouraged to try something new. People born in the year of the Ox make wonderful parents and teachers of children.

It is important to remember that the Ox people are sociable and relaxed when they feel secure, but occasionally a dark cloud looms over such people and they engage all the trials of the whole world and seek solutions for them.