Sep 20, 2011

New Intro to Chado classes forming now

New Introduction to Chado, the way of tea classes forming now.

Students will learn the etiquette of how to be a guest at a tea ceremony, the basic order of the tea ceremony and how to whisk green powdered ceremonial tea. Students will also participate in 4 Japanese tea ceremonies from informal to semi-formal tea gatherings.  An overview of Japanese aesthetics and how tea has influenced Japanese culture will be presented.  Students will also be introduced to tea ceramics, calligraphy, kimono dressing, and incense ceremony. They will also be introduced to zazen meditation and discuss how to put tea practice into every day life.

When: Wednesday evenings, from 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Where: Ryokusuido Tea Room 3826 NE Glisan St. Portland, OR
Dates:10 weeks beginning September 28 - Dec. 7 (no class November 23rd for Thanksgiving holiday) 

When: Sunday morning from 10:00-11:30 pm
Where: Issoan Tea Room, 17761 NW Marylhurst Ct., Portland, OR (near Rock Creek PCC)
Dates: 10 weeks beginning October 2 - Dec. 4

Space is limited.  Please call Margie to register, 503-645-7058. or email me

Sep 11, 2011

Return to Tohoku - The Road to Recovery

The husband of one of my students made a video about the recovery efforts in Japan.  I hope you will take heart that things are beginning to get better for the people in Tohoku after the earthquake and tsunami.

Sep 9, 2011

Ask questions -- Rikyu hyakushu

haji o sute hito ni mono tohi narau beshi kore zo jozu no motoi nari keru

Sometimes person may feel embarrassed to ask questions. That embarrassment should be set aside and questions asked.
One must discard all embarrassment when training in tea for this is the foundation of mastery.
One should abandon feelings of embarrassment and ask people questions; this is the keystone to become adept.

This poem can be interpreted in many ways, but to my thinking, I would like to put the emphasis on not being embarrassed rather than asking the questions.  In the previous poem, learning by looking and studying is emphasized, so before you ask questions, take time to look, study and reflect on what it is that you have a question about.

The matter of asking questions comes up quite often with my students.  In a lot of learning situations here, asking questions, having discussions and debates show the teacher that you are engaged and participating.  But as I wrote in this post, there are appropriate times and appropriate questions. And don't forget, the poem doesn't say ask your teacher, there are other students in class, and your sempai (senior students) who may have asked the question previously who may be willing to help you out.

As for feeling embarrassed, some people have no problem with this, others may feel embarrassed because they are beginners, or more junior than everyone else. This is the time to discard your embarrassment.  We were all beginners at one time. You are here on the path and everyone has his own journey in his own time.  Ask your sensei if you may ask a question, or if it is an appropriate time to ask a question.  Don't be embarrassed.

Sep 2, 2011

Demonstrations and presentations in September

September we will be busy with presentations and demonstrations of Chanoyu:

Saturday September 10 - Calaroga Terrace tea demonstration for 60 residents only

Monday September 12 - Portland Japanese Garden, Moonviewing tea demonstration  7:30 pm, registration required

Tuesday - Thursday September 13-15 Widbey Island, Serving tea for Roshi installation, by invitation only

Saturday September 17 - Portland Japanese Garden, Tea presentation 1 and 2 pm, free with admission to the garden, please come join us.