Seichu Enno Mugenki. My last memorial event of the year! This one is to memorialize three previous Urasenke Iemoto: Ennosai, Gengensai and Tantansai. The weather was clear and very hot, but I honestly didn’t notice the heat so much during the day. We started the day as usual, changing our zori and leaving our bags at Urasenke Center, and then he headed straight for Chado Kaikan. We were in the waiting room downstairs for a while, and probably from lack of sleep (or food) I wasn’t feeling too well. I kept thinking I would feel better after I drank some tea.

When we went upstairs I was thinking about the faces of the Gyotei sensei, recognizing the ones who have taught our classes, the ones who I have seen in books, the ones who we have worked with at various events, and reflecting back on all of these things. Midorikai was split into two groups and I ended up sitting at the very end, which was the closest seat to the temaeza! Lucky! The okashi for this seki was himuro, and I almost got in trouble from laughing when I saw them, and looked up and saw Mecca with the same look on her face. If you are not familiar with this sweet, it is made of kuzu, an opaque gelatin-like substance, in a rounded shape and it has a pink spot on top. I have a terrible mind.

I remembered Oku-sama telling us at our last meeting that Makiko-sama would be doing temae on this day and I was really looking forward to seeing it. It felt very important to see the next generation offering tea to everyone. Throughout the temae you could almost feel her concentration, and Oku-sama as a hanto watching over her...a family moment. I was watching the temae so intently that I missed a lot of the explaination of the dogu, and was surprised to see Oku-sama walking toward me all of a sudden with a bowl of tea! Makiko-sama made three bowls of tea, two for the first two guests and one for the guest in the closest seat...which was me! And Oku-sama served it to me! I had the biggest grin on my face when the bowl was placed before me, I just looked up at Oku-sama and smiled because I was so happy. The tea was excellent, I wish I knew what tea they used in that seki because it was really very good. What an amazing experience :)

For the dogu, I don’t remember much, and as always the dogu they talked about was not the dogu that was used. The mizusashi was “diamente,” cut glass in a rectangular shape with a lid made by Tantansai. The furo was the type where the bottom had fallen out and a new on put on the bottom, and I can’t remember the name of that. The hanaire was a large gorgeous piece of bamboo that I believe had been made by Nintokusai.

I don’t remember much of the display dogu, there were three chawan. The first was a huge hira chawan where the glaze looked like it had been painted on in opposite directions. The second was a black raku, and the third a small red hand shaped bowl by Gengensai.

After the main seki I was on cloud nine thinking about the temae and the tea that I drank, and we made our way over to Konnichian. We didn’t have to wait very long, and once again we got amazing seats in the front row right behind the participants of the shaza-like temae! Lucky again! I spent a lot of time staring at the flowers on display: On the tokobashira there was an ichijugire named “mamoribukusa” by Tantansai that had a himeyuri inside it. I like this flower, and I always associate it with Mecca, probably because of the bright orange color. Next was the waniguchi, with a purple flower I didn’t know the name of. Then the sutra zutsu, with a flower I didn’t know, and a seiji on the other side of the stand with a Rose of Sharon, and one more hanaire that I didn’t catch the name of that had hangesho (half-painted) and miyakowasure (forgetting the capital). The shishi made by the third generation Raku was also on display, which was neat to see.

It was great to be able to watch the temae from such a perfect viewpoint. It was very similar to Shaza, but it started with hanayose (each guest doing a flower arrangement on the screen next to temaeza), then the teishu did oko, there was no sumi demae so next was koicha, and then usucha was kagetsu. In the end an ink tray was brought for each guest and everyone wrote a poem about the flower that was selected for their particular flower arrangement, and then each were read aloud. The whole procedure was beautiful to watch, and Oiemoto-sama seemed to enjoy himself a lot :) My favorite part was when Daisosho walked in after the temae had started. His presence is amazing. He just slipped into his place, seemingly from out of nowhere, and when I looked around the room everyone just started smiling. He has that effect on people, you really can’t help but smile when Daisosho is in the room.

When the temae was over we were able to speak with Daisosho briefly and for our class we said our final aisatsu to him, since he would be leaving for Hawaii within the next few days and we won’t see him again before graduation. I’ve been so lucky to have so many opportunities to see him this year, and I will miss his presence greatly. He is truly an inspiring person.

There was no opportunity for us to see the dogu in Konnichian, and from here we took the bus to Kenshu Kaikan. The sweets here were brought out in cut glass containers very similar to the mizusashi in the honseki, and I didn’t hear the name but I believe they were from Tsuruya. The tea was Chukyu no Shiro from Tsujiri. The mizusahi was a tsurube, but ameyu, and gold lacquered on the inside. It was huge and kind of amazing. It looked massive next to the furo, which was a six-sided little thing. I didn’t get a close look at the haiken dogu in this seki because there were simply too many people. Some people get really scary about crowding around the dogu, and while I find myself wanting to see it, I just can’t make myself appreciate things in that environment. I’m stubborn.

Tenshin was somen and inarizushi, the first thing I ate all day. Although it was only about noon at this point, I was very tired!

Finally, we headed back to gakuen for the last seki. I always like to walk into Gakuen and see everything transformed. Nagayama-san brought sweets in our section, and she hesitated for a moment trying to figure out the number of guests and how far down she should place the bowl. I ALWAYS have that problem! The sweet was another kuzu, which was slightly blue, and resembled a big piece of ice. The mizusashi was red, and the furokama was arare in a natsume shape, in a doburo with no mentori. Take hanaire with a natsutsubaki hana, and the jiku was Wa Kei Sei Jaku by Ennosai that had several stamps imprinted at the bottom.

Mostly in this temae I remember watching people’s faces. Goto-san, Kitazume-san, Nagayama-san, Muranaka-san, Shiokawa-san, Nozomi and a couple of first year students were working the hakobi and I was mostly watching them move and thinking about how I will miss seeing all of them on a daily basis. I’m already getting too nostalgic about this.

So, that was the day! It was a fantastic day! Since then I have been tired and crawling around trying to be productive and mostly failing. I need to iron and then I will pass out, and hopefully I will actually sleep tonight.