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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四海波静・Peaceful Four Oceans

Dry sweets tray

山中塗前端雅峰作・而妙斎宗匠花押入り – 北加支部40周年記念品 (2010)
Yamanaka lacquer ware by Gaho Maehata with the current 14th Grand Master’s (Jimyo’u-sa’i) signature (Kao’u)
– Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Northern California Region in 2010


「四海波静」(shikai nami shizuka), which literally means: “The waves are calm in four seas.”  What it means to say is that the world is under harmonious governance and in peace.  These words are also especially poignant for Americans of Japanese descent.


Chanting that begins with “Oh, Takasago!” (Takasago ya!) is one of perennial favorites as a celebratory song at weddings.  In the Noh play “Takasago” there is also a stanza that begins with “Shikai nami shizuka.


四海の波は静かで、天下泰平の御代である。めでたい相生の松のように皆が仲良く暮らせるのは、 ひとえに帝のすばらしい御治世のおかげである。我らにとって、わが君の深い恵みは何ともありがたい。わが君の恵みのなんとありがたいことだろう。

The four oceans surrounding this land is peaceful. We live in a peaceful and stable land. It is all thanks to the wonderful reign of Emperor that we all can live harmoniously like the celebrated
Paired Pines. For us all, the generous blessings of our sovereign are truly appreciated. How grateful his blessings!




Originally published November 11, 2015


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離見の見・Riken no ken



While it appears there is a modern term such as “metacognition,” in the book “The Flowring Spirit” (fu’ushi kaden) by Ze’ami (1363-1443), there is an expression: “riken no ken.”  It means: “You must look at yourself from all angles: right, left, front and back.”  Another expression, “kenjo do’uken,” means the same thing.  “Kenjo” is the audience section at a Noh theater.  Ze’ami is saying: “Look at yourself through the eyes of the audience.”


So that you can objectively observe yourself, Ze’ami offers yet another phrase: “mokuzen shingo” (your eyes look forward, but your mind stays behind).  You must pay attention to how you appear from behind; otherwise, you may not realize your vulgarness is showing there.

これは演劇の世界に限ったことではありません。松平不昧は「客の心になりて亭主せよ 亭主の心になりて客いたせ」と言いました。もてなす側は来客の立場になって、食事、環境を整えるべきだし、客のほうは主人の身になって、お土産や時間厳守などに心せよということです。

That idea is not limited to the world of theater.  Fuma’i Matsuda’ira said: “Be a host with the mind of a guest; be a guest with the mind of a host.”  A good host prepares the meals and environment keeping his guests in mind, whereas guests must be considerate of their host, be punctual, and think about what to bring as a gift.






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Enso’u・Ta’iki Tachibana


Enso’u” is a circle drawn with an ink brush in one sweep, and is one of drawing designs associated with the Zen Buddhism.  It is also referred to as “ichi enso’u” or “enso’uzu.”


It is believed that the circular shape symbolizes enlightenment, truth, Buddha nature,  the cosmos, etc.  “Enso’u” is sometimes associated with a different kanji (円窓)(circular window) to mean that it is a window that reflects one’s own heart.