茶の湯 in サンフランシスコ ・ Japanese Tea Ceremony を San Franciscoで

表千家四方社中の茶の湯ブログ Japanese Tea Ceremony Blog for Shikata Shachu – Omotesenke

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おもいやりと如己堂・Omo’iyari and Nyokodo

As Young Master said at the Hawaii chapter 60th anniversary event in February 2015 that the spirit of chanoyu is represented by “omotenashi” (hospitality) and “omo’iyari” (consideration for others).  The occasion also marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.  Reading about Dr. Takashi (Paul) Nagai  and Sadako Sasaki in a book reminded me of his words.


Dr. Takashi (Paul) Nagai (永井隆):  He had a terminally ill cancer at the time of the Nagasaki bombing.  After receiving a near-lethal radiation dose, his cancer went into temporary remission.  Although still gravely ill, he lived long enough to become one of the most poetic and spiritual observers of the bomb’s effects on the human mind and soul.  He lived in a simple two-tatami hut, and named it  “Nyokodo” (如己堂)(“As-Yourself Hall”) after Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He styled it as a hermitage and spent his remaining years in prayer and contemplation.  He died on May 1, 1951.  He was 43.


Sadako Sasaki (佐々木禎子):  She was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 near her home.  While living with of leukemia caused by radiation exposure, she folded origami cranes with medicine wrappings and whatever else she could find.  She died on October 25, 1955.  She was 12.


Here is an excerpt from the book.  こちらが本からの抜粋です。

“Before she left,” Masahiro [Sadako’s brother] explained, “my sister and I had a one-word saying between us, just one simple word: Omoiyari,”


Masahiro did not recall that Sadako had ever read about Paul Nagai’s path to Nyokodo.  He believed that, like many people in similar situations, they probably arrived at a similar path to enlightenment through a process of tribulation.  As two witnesses to the pika-don who returned to their separate Ground Zeros to die, each came to a place where the life remaining in them had been reduced to a matter of weeks.  Then it came down to days.  And finally, to precious hours and minutes that to ordinary people meant barely more than waiting time at the train station.


Masahiro had heard it said that when a person comes to a place where he or she is reduced to nothing, that’s when we begin to understand the value of all things.


When Nagai “went to zero” he came back with the ancient principle of Nyokodo: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”


For Sadako, the lesson became Omoiyari, which meant: “In your heart, always think about the other person before yourself.”



The last train from Hiroshima: the survivors look back” / Charles Pellegrino, published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC (2010)






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割蓋平水指・Flat Mizusashi with Split Lid


The summer’s end is drawing near, but we cannot let that happen without practicing otema’e with hiramizusashi (flat mizusashi) with waributa (split lid).  The lid is just like one for “O’imatsu” – it is round, and split down in the middle with two hinges for opening and closing.


Maybe it is due to the low lighting – but it looks rather subdued from outside.  During otema’e, only the left side is opened – but here in this photograph the entire lid has been removed to reveal the inside of mizushashi.  It looks rather complex….  Can you see three-color glaze?

Mino Ware Three-Color Glaze Hiramizusashi by Nanraku kiln


Hiramizusashi is not a shelf (tana) – but you can display hishaku and futa’oki on top of the lid, just like you would with marujoku (round shelf).  Tea utensils…. Aren’t they interesting?

Originally posted September 4, 2014

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A little while ago we wrote about a Karatsu bowl with two-tone glaze finish or katamigawari.  We often wondered about the different between “kakewake” and “katamigawari.”  News flash.  The term “kakewake” refers to all two-tone glaze finishes, whereas “katamigawari” only refers to two-tone glaze finishes with one color on the right and the other color on the left divided in the middle.


Thus, cho’usenkaratsu of Karatsu ware is also a type of “kakewake“: one color on top and the other on the bottom.


However, even if two colors are used half and half, when they are use front and back (rather than right and left) – for example, the front side is white and the back side is black, then it is simply “kakewake“.  “Kakewake” also includes partial coloring – like Oribe with a clear glaze accented by a green glaze as often seen.