Apr 19, 2011

Handbags and Chanoyu

I just wanted to let you know that I my handbags were featured at Portland Sewing's Fashion Show last Saturday and I will have a booth at Portland's Handmade NW on May 3 and 4. The sales support the Heart Research Center.  (Also go to support this blog)  If you can't make it, I will be putting some of my creations on SweetPersimmon.

There will also be a chanoyu presentation at the Japanese Cultural fair for Children's day in North Portland.

Children's Day Festival

Saturday, May 07, 2011 from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM (PT)
Historic Peninsula Odd Fellows Building
4834 N Lombard St.
Portland, OR 97203
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Kodomo No Hi Japanese Children's Day Festival ~ Japanese Food and Deserts ~ Games ~ Arts and Crafts including Origami and Caligraphy ~ Aikido ~ Jujitsu ~ Taiko ~ Tea Ceremony ~ Kamishibai Storytelling Open to the Public.  Admission is Free! Saturday...
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Peninsula Odd Fellows Aikido Yoshokai 

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Apr 16, 2011

Sakura Festival

I know that I need to do more blogging because there are so many things going on.  Yesterday, I was at the Clark College Sakura Festival in Vancouver, WA.   I don't know if you know this, but SEH America has a plant in Vancouver the president and CEO of SEH America has donated a million dollars for a Japanese Garden on the campus of Clark College.   20 years ago 100 cherry trees were donated to the city of Vancouver as part of the sister city, rotary relationship with Joyo, Japan.  The new garden (alas, no tea house) will incorporate the mature cherry trees.   They will break ground this summer and plan to dedicate the new garden in the fall.  Something to look foward to.

This month the Portland Japanese Garden will begin tea presentations at Kashintei, the tea house.  Every third Saturday from now until October at 1 and 2 pm, members of Kashinteikai will present chanoyu.

Our open house on April 6 was so well attended, that we will be doing more of them this year. Please watch this blog for times and dates.   Also, I plan to offer guest etiquette classes, wagashi making classes, and kaiseki cooking classes so we have big plans and I hope you can join us.

Apr 14, 2011

From the archives

I  can't believe that it has been four years of blogging.   I just went back to review some old posts.
I hope you enjoy these:

1 year ago:  The right way  The heart of tea and After a tea gathering

2 years ago:  It's not my fault  Slow down  Breaking bad habits and Pay attention to what you are doing

3 years ago:  Time for reflection  The physicality of tea practice

4 years ago:  Sitting seiza, the bane of tea students  The ritual of tea ceremony class  and The seven rules of Rikyu

Go ahead, explore the rest of the blog.

Apr 11, 2011

It's harder than it looks

I have a group of new students and some of them have told me that doing tea looks so simple that anyone can do it.  That is until we start whisking matcha, or walking in the tea room.

When we begin training in something like tea, it seems like we start with the boring stuff when what we really want to do is to make tea.   I started training and it was five months before I made tea.  I started with cleaning tatami mats, preparation work and learning to be good guest before I made tea in the tea room for anyone.

Someone said to me that people fall in love with the idea of Rikyu's tea, but when they begin tea training they are disappointed to have to follow the rules and do boring stuff like clean tatami. They just want to make beautiful tea.   It is like going to a concert to hear Yoyo Ma play cello, but when they want to learn the cello, they are disappointed to have to do boring things like learning bowing techniques, tuning your instrument and playing scales when they just want to play Bach's sonata.

My husband is a wood worker and he does the most incredible work.  However, when he makes a Japanese joint in two pieces of wood, it just looks like two pieces of wood come together.   But what is hidden is the complicated carving and fitting that goes on inside the joint so that the two pieces of wood lock together without nails or screws or glue. It is simple, beautiful and will last a lifetime or more.

It seems like many things in life we don't see what is going on inside or behind the scenes.  We see successful athletes and marvel at their incredible talent, but don't see the hours and hours and hours of practice in the gym or on the field.  We see successful businessmen, but don't see the sacrifices to social and family life.   We see artists and craftsmen, masters of their art, but we don't see the years of training, struggle and financial sacrifice.

It's like we expect to be exceptional at something without putting in the time, practice, training and sacrifice. Most people don't want to put in 25 years of tea practice, or spend weekends and nights for years getting a business started. Most people don’t pull consistent all-nighters to nail some key projects, putting them in place for a big promotion.

But if you want to do something badly enough, you will do what ever it takes to make your dreams reality. You need passion to get you through the the tough times and difficult choices you need to make. They do say that nothing worthwhile comes easily and especially nothing worthwhile will come your way without you driving yourself..   Every day is a choice with how you spend your time, how do you choose?