Feb 25, 2011

In memory of Minako sensei

It has been seven years since Minako Somi Frady passed away, and today we remember her with a chakai at the Portland Japanese Garden.  She was my sensei for more than 20 years and we all miss her terribly.   In many ways it doesn't seem like very long, and in other ways it seems like she has been gone forever.   Since I started teaching, I long to have conversations with her regarding students, teaching methods, and just some philosophical discussions regarding real life and tea.

Many of her sayings have been passed down to my students and indeed, they have appeared on the blog.  For example:
"In class, you can do nothing right.  I will correct everything.  In chaji you can do nothing wrong."
"The mizuya should be clean enough to eat off the floor."
“If you are going to make a mistake, make it beautifully.”
"Chado is 80% cleaning."

When I asked a question in class, often her answer would be:
"If I give you the answer, you won't remember it."  And it has been so true. Easy answers are forgotten quickly.  While the hard won answers that took cogitation, endurance, sweat and mistakes are the ones that stick with me.

Thank you Minako sensei for teaching me.  Thank you for putting up with my ignorant, rude behavior as a beginning tea student.  Thank you for being so strict with me and teaching me the traditional way.  Thank you for the love and care you gave me through more than 20 years of tea studies. Thank you for believing in me.  Thank you for letting me go.

And I'll always remember::   "There are no short cuts."


  1. Frivolitea,
    Thank you for your comment. Yes, it was a lovely remembrance. Although many tears were shed in the preparation, the day of the memorial was bright, sunny and full of laughter.