Hatsugama 初釜

Hatsugama is a traditional Japanese event held to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. The term “Hatsugama” translates to “first kettle” in English, referring to the first tea ceremony of the year.

The Hatsugama ceremony is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and tradition, and it holds significant importance in the practice of tea ceremonies, which are known as “chanoyu” or “sado.” The ceremony involves the preparation and serving of matcha, a powdered green tea, in an intricate and highly ritualized manner.

Sakura matsuri, Cowra, 22 and 23 September

On September 23rd, Urasenke Sydney volunteers from Sydney (Yoshiaki Matsunaga, Ryoko Freeman, Itoko Inoue, Emiko Shirato, Taeko Pegios, Tomomi Nakaya, Takeshi Shibata, Kana Ide), Newcastle (Robert Davies) and Canberra (Kyoko McKay, Takako Mizogami, Lee Walsh, Sachiko Inuzuka, Jayde Ohashi, Nobuyuki Ohashi presented the Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Japanese Garden in Cowra for the Sakura Matsuri Festival. Fortunately, we had a gorgeous day (maximum 21.3oC) after a few days of hot weather. The tea ceremony was very successful. Shuichi Tokuda, Consul-General of Japan in Sydney, with his wife and Yukihiro Ohira, the director of the Japan Foundation attended. However, we had fewer guests, about 160 guests, compared to last year’s 219 guests. Possibly it was because of the recent hot weather, or possibly because the cost of admission was raised to $10 this year.
Anyway, the guests enjoyed our performances and beautiful matcha with handmade Japanese sweets. Our range of sweets was greatly increased and improved by the addition of Mrs Matsunaga’s okashi, which were very popular! When some members were performing the tea ceremony, other members were working hard in the kitchen making yakisoba (stir-fried noodles), so all members were busy. As the Association does every year, the profit will be donated to The Japanese Garden in Cowra.

Spring Festival at the Embassy of Japan

On Friday 23 September the Canberra Group performed a tea demonstration at the Embassy of Japan.  The tea demonstration was part of a reception called “Spring Festival.  The guests were greeted by the Spring cherry blossoms which are now at their best in garden of the Ambassador’s residents. 

There were three sittings of 10 guests at each demonstration using misono tana.  Our ceremonial scroll features a tanka from ‘Manyoshu’ which cerebrates the arrival of spring.  Accordingly, the sweets prepared by our group members to serve on the day were called ‘haru no irodori’ (春の彩).

There were other activities inside and outside of the residents, with many people showing interest in the tea demonstration.  Those people who could not find a place to sit on the 10 chairs, stood behind the chairs and watched with great interest. When each demonstration finished the guests and the other audience members spontaneously applauded. Among the guests was Ambassador Yamagami and his wife. 

Each teish, hanto, the MCs and all the mizuya helpers did a wonderful job so that everything went very well. 

Sweet making members: Lee Walsh, Hiroko Marshall, Chika Kodama, Letha Cheng and Kyoko McKay
Demonstration members: Takako Mizogami, Dirk Staunton, Rumi Brown, Letha Chang, Ikumi Siebel, Hiroko Marshall Lee Walsh and Kyoko McKay