|First gifts from O-sensei: a fan (required|
equipment for a guest) and a vocabulary list.
For the past year-and-a-half or so, Ms. O— has been teaching me the art of the Japanese tea ceremony. She'd heard that I was interested in Japanese culture and one day in July 2013 invited me to her house for an o-keiko, "practice session."
|Page from an instructional photo|
album O-sensei assembled for me
from my final lesson.
Once at the end of an o-keiko, I made Ms. O— a cup of tea. After she drank it, she asked, "You didn't wipe the chawan in the shape of the letter ゆ (yu), did you?" I was surprised that she knew that—I didn't think she'd been watching me that closely—but then she showed me the little bits of matcha stuck to the bottom of the chawan. "If you don't wipe it," she explained, "the matcha will clump and won't dissolve."
|Wearing kimono for a moon-viewing|
party in O-sensei's garden last fall.
I'm getting better at the tea ceremony, though I still bumble and fumble, and evening o-keiko with Ms. O— have become a highlight of my week. I'm so grateful to her and to all the generous people here in Japan that have taught me so much about the depth of God's love and graciousness. You will all be in my heart as I journey back across the Pacific this spring.
Romans 12:13b (NIV)