2011-11-26 - Chabako
When I went back to the States last year, I didn't have a lot of money or space to bring dogu back with me. The one thing that I made sure to have was a chabako, with enough dogu to do all of the chabako temae (with the exception of shikishidate). It was nice to be able to practice temae at home, and while I was in Michigan I had a very nice venue for it. I was living in an apartment complex in a beautiful, wooded area. The living room was on the first floor and there were glass sliding doors that looked out onto pine trees and crab apples. I loved watching the seasons change sitting at the window or just outside. One of my last memories before I left Michigan was sitting just outside watching the darkness fall, and during that time seeing the fireflies appear, as if by magic, right before my eyes.
Whenever I was stressed, or wanted to relax, or just wanted to have tea with friends who were visiting, I pulled out the chabako and practiced my temae. It was the first time that I could practice each of the temae throughout the seasons and got to enjoy each seasonal variation and theme. Being Michigan, there was plenty of time to practice Yuki and I developed a fondness for it. Tsuki is still my favorite, but Yuki is a close second.
Last week at ICI keiko we practiced chabako, and it was my first time practicing chabako since August of 2010 when I was in Boston right after I got back from the States. After so long doing chabako by myself without an instructor, it was interesting to be taught again. I did Hana twice, once with haiken and once without. Normally when I practice I don't do haiken...its just a personal thing but I find the haiken for chabako so fussy. So, naturally I was a little rough on remembering haiken, and there were one or two small points that needed fixing. Kumada-sensei was very nice about everything though, the atmosphere in the chashitsu was so pleasant. Overall, I was very pleased with how well I remembered everything. I remember clearly the first time I did Hana, Imagawa-sensei was teaching that day, I was first and I could not remember the order of anything. I have a very clear memory of that being a very frustrating day. My temae now is far from perfect, but it's always nice to feel like there is improvement.
This week, however, I felt like I stepped back again. When I walked into Chado Kaikan Okamoto-san ran out from the front garden and asked if the ICI students could only use Kasho that day (we are normally in both Shinka and Kasho) because of a conflict. After the Sensei's arrived and there was some discussion, we ended up having keiko on the second floor instead. Going to the second floor is so nostalgic. Well, everywhere in Chado Kaikan is nostalgic...but on the second floor I remember things like the Entrance Ceremony, receiving tea from temae-za at Seichu Enno Mugenki, and our Graduation. Many emotions.
Kumada-sensei and Murata-sensei were teaching this week. It was actually the first time I have been in the chashitsu with Murata-sensei since I came back to Japan. I still get very nervous when he is teaching me! Some things don't change. Class started with Markku doing Shozumi. I was first guest and was having trouble asking questions at appropriate times. I get really nervous about correct timing and saying things properly in Japanese with the result that I end up not saying anything at all. It's something I still need to work on. After this rather nerve-wracking experience I did kasane jawan, which I honestly did not remember as well as I hoped. It was also my first time doing koicha in Ro season, which really shouldn't be an issue at this point but I was so nervous about making a mistake that I kept second guessing everything I was doing. It didn't help that I Markku was my first guest and asked about every piece of dogu :P Yes, yes, I know. I should know how to handle this. It is part of the training. I'm working on it.
As a side-note, the sweets this week were beautiful! Apparently, when Murata-sensei teaches he always brings sweets from Juko, which is a sweet shop on Omiya very close to me. I pass it all the time but have never gone in, it is on my To Do List. This week was kinton! It was brown with a light white dusting on top, and shiro-an in the middle. The name was hatsu-yuki. It was a little ironic since the day was rather warm and we had a beautiful view of the red leaves from the second floor window, but I thought they were beautiful.
This week is the Midorikai Christmas Chakai and I am super-excited! I get to be a guest and I cannot wait to see what this year's group has done. I know it will be wonderful :)
Final Note: The incense shop Yamada-Matsu has an amazing English website. I had no idea. Check it out: http://www.yamadamatsu.co.jp/en/index.html