It’s cold. This year we’ve mostly been going places by car, whereas the last two winters, we walked about 15 minutes to school each way. Sometimes I forget how cold it is.
Our house is warm. On New Year’s Day, we had 14 people in our house for osechi, tea ceremony, and games (karuta and shogi, among others). It got so warm that we had to turn the heat off.
|Me with my osechi (fourth time!) and some party guests. :)|
|The guys played shogi while the girls were upstairs having tea.|
We had 4 weeks in a row of tea ceremony class in November and December, so I was feeling pretty confident. At our last lesson before winter break, we took a lot of pictures.
|Noriko prepares tea while Fujiyama sensei watches.|
|Keith eats his wagashi (Japanese sweet) while waiting for his tea.|
|Noriko whisks a bowl of tea|
|Looks so delicious! And it's in a beautiful bowl decorated with snow-covered trees.|
|Keith nervously waits to see if Fujiyama-sensei liked the tea he prepared.|
|Cleaning the tools|
|Before drinking her tea, Noriko "apologizes" to the other guests for going first.|
|While I prepare the tea, Sensei is looking up the answer to a question Keith asked.|
|Keith bows to Noriko: "I'm going to share the tea now."|
|First is English and Scandinavian style tea party.|
|Fruit cake, decorated with homemade yuzu marzipan!|
|I prepare tea for Naoko and Akiyo... right in my own house!|
As I become more and more comfortable with tea ceremony, I become more confident in serving my friends. I can also feel comfortable making my way of tea ceremony personal to me within the acceptable range of possibilities. I hope that continuing to learn tea ceremony will help me as I seek to practice hospitality.
Four years ago, when Keith and I were short termers, we attended the Japanese Culture Day at our language school. One of the events was a demonstration of kitsuke (kimono wearing) by Ritsuko-san, who is now my teacher. This year Ritsuko-san couldn’t come, so she asked me to do the demonstration in her place. Although I’ve somehow managed to put kimono on a couple of people in the past, this time there would be people watching… but Ritsuko-san was convinced that I’d be okay, so I put aside my fears and agreed to do the demonstration. I practiced once on a friend from my kimono club, and it went okay.
Since the demonstration was three days later, I think I managed to remember most of the points my teacher taught me… except for a few things I forgot and had to re-do. Oops. The end result was pretty good. I dressed two new missionaries—Naomi and Iryaku Hyou. I’m hoping kitsuke is another skill that I can continue to put to good use to make friends and show hospitality, both here in Japan, and when we go on home assignment.
|Somehow it turned out okay! Iryaku is wearing a casual men's kimono, Naomi is wearing a formal komon and fukuro obi (although a komon can also be worn for casual occasions), and I am wearing a casual Oshima tsumugi with a hakata obi.|