Aug 3, 2012
I wanted to post today about an experience I had last weekend at a beginning koshukai regarding kagetsu study. Christy Sensai from San Francisco was the Sensai there and gave all of us some great things to think about during the beginning usucha hirodemae temae. (Note: Please forgive me my beginner Japanese spelling. If you see errors, don't hesitate to let me know.) Christy Sensai said that one thing you should always strive for in kagetsu, and for any time you are in the tea room, is matching your timing to the other people in the room. I'm not talking about the host's timing in making tea, but the guest's timing. To put it another way, timing that guests may need to worry about would be bowing together, folding fukusa together, and standing and sitting together. These things should happen at the same time and it looks beautiful and effortless when executed that way. This timing shouldn't be found by craning your necks to the left and right. Just watch the movement from the corner of your eyes. This is something, Christy Sensai said, that a person who studies tea needs to apply to any part of the study of tea. It need not only apply to kagetsu. It means matching the height of your bows appropriately to the people around you. It means being conscious of when people's feet may be asleep so you don't try to stand up too quickly in courtesy to the people around you. It means that tea isn't just about yourself but it's about everyone in the room with you. You are all there to enjoy the experience the host is presenting you. No one should feel ashamed that they can not rise as quickly as the others. Tea is about acceptance and humility. About slowing down where needed and always showing respect to those around you. I was honored to be reminded of such an integral part of the way of tea.