SJIS had a Family Fun Day on Saturday, 21 Oct 2023
Children who have been studying tea ceremony demonstrated their skills in front of parents. In addition to the four Association members who have been volunteers at the tea ceremony club (Tomomi Nakaya, Mihoko Ura, Yoko Sullivan), several other Association members (Ryoko Freeman, Taeko Pegios, Yen-Yu Lin, Yumiko Gertler, Yukiko Uchida) attended the Family Fun Day. Some of the mothers of the students also assisted on the day. Lunch boxes, snacks and water were provided by the chado club. We had beautiful weather, and all the students did wonderful and confident performances in front of their parents and other members of the audience. Most sessions were at capacity.
Everything ran smoothly on the day, thanks to the wonderful work of all the helpers who attended, and everyone worked very hard to ensure it was a success. The money made on the day from the sale of tickets will be used by the Chado club to buy utensils for the club, once the tea cost and lunch box cost have been deducted
Chado is a comprehensive form of Japanese culture. You learn not only the procedure of tea preparation but also about ceramics, lacquerware, metalware, flowers, cooking, calligraphy, poetry, etc. It is a lifetime achievement to master chado or a life is not long enough for it.
We will demonstrate a traditional tea ceremony and a workshop for our guests at RYO-AN the tea house in Leura, Blue Mountains.
It will be a special experience to try and learn how to make the green matcha tea with some seasonal Japanese sweets.
All the guests will also experience to visit Japanese garden and the Shrine from ISE-JINGU* at the top of the hill.
The tea ceremony moves with each season. The host considers it when preparing each element of a tea ceremony: the hanging scroll, the flower arrangement, the tea bowls, what to wear (especially if the host is a woman), the incense, and the wagashi (Japanese sweets) to serve before the tea. In Japan, kumpu kaze minami yori kitari (the fragrant wind comes from the south) is a popular scroll in late May (Hounsai Daisosho himself produced a hanging scroll with this short verse).
The verse on this member’s scroll is from a poem by Su Dongpo (東坡,1037 – 1101), a calligrapher, gastronome, painter, pharmacologist, poet, politician, and writer in Song dynasty China. However, the history of the verse goes back much further, to when Emperor Wenzong (809-840) of the Tang dynasty said: “everyone loves the long summer day, even if they suffer from heat stress”. The poet Liu Gongquan (778–865) added a line referring to relief from the cool southern wind.
Two hundred years later, Su Dongo wrote that the verse illustrated a lack compassion for the common people on the emperor’s part, and he re-wrote the verse in the form:
Kumpu minami yori kitari
Denkaku biryo o shozu
The balmy summer breeze comes from the south, It becomes a bit cooler in the palace.
This is still hard for a tea novice to understand. The full meaning comes from the interpretation that Zen masters put on the verse. Every day we are obsessed with our problems, but if only we only allow these to be blown away by the scents of a refreshing spring breeze then we can taste enlightenment.
Su Dongpo lived in the west of China, in what is now Sichuan province. His verse is clearly about summer. However, in Japan the verse is popular in May and June when on fine days there is often a light breeze from the south, kumpu. In European tradition it is a west wind, or zephyr. In Sydney, the equivalent is a sea breeze in summer.
The 50th anniversary of the Association will be in 2023. However, the history of chado in Sydney goes back a hundred years, and we should perhaps ask why a group did not emerge earlier. In the United States, several chado associations emerged before World War II. In Australia, an Englishman, Arthur Lindsay Sadler (1882-1970) was pre-eminent in chado from the 1920s.
Sadler arrived in Japan in 1909 to teach English at the Sixth Higher School, Okayama, one of the predecessors of Okayama University. In 1918 he moved to Tokyo to teach English at the Peers’ College (1918-21). His wife Eva had an English father and a Japanese mother. By 1921, he was a great scholar, accomplished in Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Mandarin, and Japanese. He had an extensive knowledge of Japanese and Chinese history and art. In addition to his teaching, Sadler was an enthusiastic collector of Japanese woodblock prints, samurai armour, ceramics, scrolls, swords, and theatre masks.
Prof. Sadler introduced tea ceremony to Sydney. Between 1926 and 1929, he built a teahouse in the garden of his home at Warrawee in Ku-ring-gai, and in 1929 he wrote a paper on tea ceremony. In May 1932, photographs of the garden featured in The Home, an Australian quarterly. Sadler often invited his students and friends to tea in the tea house.
In 1933 Sadler published two books, The Art of Flower Arrangement in Japan and Cha-no-yu: The Japanese Tea Ceremony. Okakura Kakuzo’s The Book of Tea (1904) is usually referred to as the first book about tea ceremony written in English (the Japanese know Kakuzo as Okakura Tenshin). It was published in New York. However, as Sadler points out, it is an essay rather than a book. This is not to suggest that Sadler was dismissive of Kakuzo’s work, in fact the opposite was true. Sadler simply aimed to write a detailed account. In 1935, Angus & Robertson published in Sydney a second edition of Kakuzo’s “essay” with an Appendix by Sadler. That Angus & Robertson should publish this in Sydney is indicative of interest in chado within the Australian community. So, the first full-length book on chado written in English originated in Sydney! It is still a must-read for chado enthusiasts lacking a Japanese background, especially members of our Sydney Association. It is easily bought through Amazon, Kindle, and the like.
Sadler retired as Professor in 1947. The tea house was demolished and the Sadlers went to live in England. Accordingly, Sadler sold much of his collection. Among the few items that are still traceable is a suit of samurai armour now in Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
According to the Powerhouse Museum, the previous owner is unknown. However, it is from Sadler’s collection. The Museum states that the armour bears an insignia “claimed to be that of Koma Kaemon, Samurai officer of the Bizen clan” but does not say who made this claim. Possibly, it was Sadler himself, with the claim stated on the auction list. Moreover, Bizen is in Okayama prefecture, where Sadler lived for nine years after arriving in Japan in 1909. The suit of armour may even have been the start of Sadler’s interest in Japanese history and chado. Anyway, it seems no one has yet bothered to investigate the suit of armour, so do any of the Association’s members have any thoughts?