Categories
News Soke News

Greeting from Oiemoto Zabosai

Greeting from Oiemoto Zabosai

June 19, 2020 — Urasenke has a strong history of activity outside Japan, and of supporting the study of Japan’s comprehensive traditional culture of chado by international researchers and students.

From the mid-1960s, we began to see a rising number of those desiring to study at Konnichian, and so Daisosho, who was Iemoto at the time, established an official class for them in 1970, which in 1973 he named the Midorikai, a name suggested to him by his wife, my mother. The number of people who have studied in the Midorikai program for a year or more has surpassed five hundred, and if those who have studied in it for shorter periods are included, the number is even greater.

All of you students from abroad who have studied at Urasenke, no matter your ethnicity, are chajin, “tea people.” I am eager for the UMAA, which was formally established in 2002 through the efforts of a handful of you, to flourish as an organization that links all Midorikai alumni in your ongoing pursuit of chado.

Categories
News Soke News

Greeting from Daisosho Hounsai

Greeting from Daisosho Hounsai

June 19, 2020 — It has been seventy years since, carrying with me some tea utensils, I took my first trip to America in 1951, before the signing of the UN Peace Treaty with Japan, hoping to bring global peace among all humanity by means of Japan’s peaceful chado culture.

I have been to over sixty countries since then, places in every region and on every continent, promoting my message of “Peacefulness through a bowl of tea.” This phrase has happily become Urasenke’s international catchphrase, expressing the idea that chanoyu engenders both personal and societal peace.

Even though our languages and customs may differ, our experience sharing in a bowl of tea brings our hearts together. Urasenke chado students around the world understand this well. Those of you who have ever spent time in the Midorikai program in Kyoto, I urge you to keep up your involvement with chado, and to share the ethos of “Peacefulness through a bowl of tea” with many people.

Let us overcome Covid-19 with a bowl of tea! Let us keep up our spirits and do our best! At a time like this, how about trying ittei ikkyaku (one host, one guest) tea, which involves just two people?

Categories
Alumni News Latest News

Alums Band Together for a Historic Event

Midorikai Alums Band Together for a Historic Event

May 4, 2020 — On May 3, 2020, the OneWorld Chakai relay, held in celebration of the Midorikai’s 50th anniversary, took place via Zoom. Starting in New Zealand & Australia at JST 10:00 A.M, it gradually made its way westerly over the next 22 hours, from East Asia to Russia, Egypt, Europe, South & North America, and lastly Hawaii ― the starting place of the overseas diffusion of Urasenke Chado ― as its final destination. During this time, 80 Midorikai alums took charge of hosting a venue, approximately 170 people participated as virtual guests, and an amazing 20,000 or so Urasenke chado followers and others from around the world tuned in to the Zoom session to take part as observers. More than a few apparently stayed up and tuned in nearly the whole time, eager not to miss out on any of this historic UMAA event as it unfolded in real time.

This awesome undertaking, making use of technology still unfamiliar to many of us at that point in time, would not have come about if it were not for the dramatic change in the world situation due to the coronavirus. The concept for the originally planned Midorikai 50th Anniversary UMAA project, the brainchild of Bruce Hamana, was for alums to prepare tea for guests on or around Japan’s national Midori Day holiday, May 4, and send in their photos and reports of it. As the arrangements were coming into shape and the spring of 2020 rolled around, however, it suddenly became taboo to get together for any in-person chakai, and so the project was on the verge of cancellation. UMAA alums proved, however, that where there is a will there is a way. Suggestions were received, “Why not have it online?” In fact, “Why not have it in the form of a livestream Zoom relay chakai that travels around the world?” suggested Michelle Liu Carriger. This was an exciting proposal, but considering the technical know-how it would involve, as well as the obvious complexity of the logistics, it seemed irrational. Thanks to a ‘dream team’ of younger generation alum volunteers who could be enlisted, however, May 3 arrived in a matter of about three weeks from then, and within that astoundingly short time, the OneWorld Chakai relay was ready to go live. 

For many of the hosts as well as virtual guests, it was their first time using Zoom and experiencing the interactions possible through such recent technology. The participants were able to renew old friendships over the screens on their computers or mobile phone devices, and make new chado acquaintances. By sharing a bowl of tea through this big relay chakai event that linked the world together, the bonds between the alums were deepened. Amid the coronavirus situation wherein people’s feelings of isolation were mounting, the OneWorld Chakai offered a welcome moment of joyful respite and sharing.

The work that the core team and zone coordinators accomplished was no less than stupendous. UMAA thanks everyone who made the OneWorld Chakai such a resounding success!

OneWorld Chakai Executive Team
Website Coordinator: Carmen Johnson
Registration Manager: Wendy Lin
Technical Coordinator: Michelle Liu Carriger
Technical Assistance: Heather Nuanes
Zones Chairperson: Sarah Stewart
Zone Coordinators:
  * Zone 1: Wendy Lin
  * Zone 2: Bruce Hamana
  * Zone 3: Eileen Sung
  * Zone 4: Olga Nikulina
  * Zone 5: Aaron Bryson/Ula Mach Bryson
  * Zone 6: Sarah Stewart
  * Zones 7 & 8: Katie Bechtold
  * Zone 9: Rhonda Rolf
  * Zone 10: Jessica Rosenberg
  * Zone 11: Karl Fooks

Relay Schedule
Zone 1: Starting time
  * New Zealand
  * Australia
Zone 2: 1 hour into the relay
  * Japan
  * Korea
Zone 3: 5 hours into the relay
  * China
  * Singapore
  * Indonesia
  * India
Zone 4: 6 hours into the relay
  * Russia
  * Ukraine
Zone 5: 8 hours into the relay
  * Egypt
  * Bulgaria
  * Romania
  * Poland
  * Finland
  * Norway
  * Sweden
Zone 6: 11 hours into the relay
  * Slovenia
  * Hungary
  * Czech Republic
  * Switzerland
  * Germany
  * Belgium
  * France
  * England
  * Spain
Zone 7: 13 hours into the relay
  * Argentina
  * Brazil
Zone 8: 15 hours into the relay
  * Canada, eastern region
  * U.S., eastern region
Zone 9: 16 hours into the relay
  * Mexico
  * U.S., central region
Zone 10: 18 hours into the relay
  * U.S., mountain states region
  * U.S., west coast
  * Canada, western region
Zone 11: 21 hours into the relay
  * Hawaii

The raw, unedited video of the OneWorld Chakai relay is available for viewing here:

Categories
News Soke News

Rikyu-ki Message from Oiemoto Zabosai

Rikyu-ki Message from Oiemoto Zabosai

The following is a message from Iemoto Zabosai to Urasenke followers both domestic and international, composed on the occasion of the Rikyu Memorial (Rikyu-ki) on March 28, 2020. Along with a large number of other Urasenke events this year, the 2020 Rikyu-ki observance at Urasenke Konnichian, was closed to the public due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

A message from Zabosai Soshitsu Sen Grand Master XVI, Urasenke Chado Tradition

On the day of Rikyu-ki, March 28, 2020

The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing, with cities worldwide having restrictions on leaving one’s house and so forth, and an ineffable sense of anxiety overshadows not only Japan but the whole world. For a while more, each of you please personally be aware of the crisis and practice self-care. We must ride out this calamitous time. I do not know what the social environment will be like after that, but I believe that we will return to a place in which, with this single bowl of tea, we can share and interact with each other once more.

To those who long only for the flowers,
Show them Spring
In the grass peeking through the snow
In the mountain village

Our society is presently covered in a heavy blanket of snow. However, we should not be discouraged. Flowers and humans each have their own life energy. Let us put faith in that energy, for the day should not be far off when the grass will sprout through the snow.

View the original document here.

Categories
News Soke News

Introducing Ms. Makiko Sakata

Introducing Ms. Makiko Sakata

Ms. Makiko Sakata

Honorary President of the Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association

March 1, 2020 — Makiko Sakata was born in Kyoto in 1987 to Zabosai Soshitsu Sen XVI, sixteenth generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition, and to Masako Sen, second daughter of His Imperial Highness Prince Takahito of Mikasa. After graduating from high school, Ms. Sakata continued her education in the International Studies Program, College of Humanities, at Ritsumeikan University. She received her Bachelors Degree in 2010.

Ms. Sakata serves on the Board of Directors of Konnichian’s Urasenke Foundation in Kyoto. As such she plays an important role in the many activities and programs that Urasenke Konnichian offers within Japan and internationally. In 2015 she participated in the opening events of the Japan Pavilion for Expo Milano. Later that same year Ms. Sakata led a program at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. More recently she headed the Introduction to Chado program in the United Arab Emirates in 2017. Ms. Sakata also acts as a Visiting Professor at the Kyoto Notre Dame University.

The Urasenke Midorikai Alumni Association is honored that Ms. Sakata has consented to become the Honorary President of UMAA at her father Zabosai Oiemoto sama’s suggestion. She delivered the opening address of the third International UMAA meeting held in Kyoto, Japan, on June 28, 2018. This meeting was attended by the 53 participants of the first International Intensive Study and by current Midorikai students. [Read the meeting minutes.] She spoke about studying chanoyu as a way which naturally leads to the growth of humanistic values. Ms. Sakata encourages all of us to practice our Tea in a manner that will fulfill Daisosho sama’s vision of “peacefulness through a bowl of tea.”

We look forward to Ms. Sakata’s guidance and leadership into the future!

Categories
Recipes

Sakura Mochi*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Sasamaki (Bamboo Leaf Wrapped Sweets)*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Tamasudare (Jeweled Reed Blinds)

Tamasudare (Jeweled Reed Blinds)

Kimika Soko Takechi
Larry Sokyo Tiscornia
teatimes@chanoyu.com

INGREDIENTS

  • kanten (agar agar) 14gm (0.5oz) or 2 sticks
  • water 900cc (3.6c.)
  • sugar 300gm (10.5oz)
  • mizuame (or light corn syrup) 2T
  • koshian (sweet smooth bean paste) approx. 30gm (1oz) per sweet
  • yellow food color – approx. 2 drops
  • umeshu (plum wine) 1T

PREPARATION

  1. Wash the kanten well in cold water and remove any black/brown specks. Soak in fresh cold water to cover for a couple of hours. Squeeze the excess water from the kanten and tear into small pieces. Place the kanten and water in a heavy bottom pan and cook over low heat until the kanten is dissolved.
  2. Add the sugar and mizuame, or corn syrup. Continue to cook until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  3. Strain through a fine strainer and return to the pot and cook a little longer. (Be careful that you do not cook too long or the kanten will become too hard.)
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in umeshu and a small amount of yellow food color to achieve a golden color. Stir well.
  5. Pour into a parchment-lined nagashikan mold, that is approximately 6″ X 7″ X 2″ (1000cc [4c.]) and let cool. Bubbles can be removed by running a piece of Japanese washi paper over the surface. (Note: Any similar size glass or plastic container may be used.)
  6. Form the bean paste into tawara (bale) shapes.
  7. Using a serrated tofu knife, cut the kanten into long, thin strips. The strips should be long enough to wrap completely around the formed bean paste. Carefully wrap the kanten around the bean paste. The sweets can be chilled before serving. Place on a towel to blot any excess moisture before serving

NOTE: Any non acidic flavoring can also be added when adding the color. Acid will cause the kanten not to gel properly.

Categories
Recipes

Mizubotan (Water Peony)*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Karukan*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Hatsukari (First Geese)*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Hanami Dango*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Midori no Hoshi (Green Stars)

Midori no Hoshi (Green Stars)

Named「みどりの星」Midori no Hoshi (Green Stars) by Hounsai Daisosho, this sweet was designed by Midorikai alum Glenn A. Sorei Pereira of Boston, MA, for the 40th Midorikai Reunion tea in Honolulu on July 19, 2010.

Glenn A. Sorei Pereira
GAPereira@aol.com

INGREDIENTS

  • Powered kanten 12g
  • Water 600 cc (2.4c)
  • Granulated sugar 700g (25oz)
  • Light corn syrup 80g (3oz)
  • Limoncello 4Tbs
  • Blue food coloring 3 drops
  • Nagashikan (lined mold) 5 ½” x 6″
  • Kinpaku (gold leaf) a few sprinkles on each sweet

PREPARATION

  1. Place kanten and water in a heavy bottom pan and cook over low/medium heat until it reaches a light boil. It is important to stir continuously.
  2. Add sugar and stir until dissolved and once again bring to a light boil. Add corn syrup and continue to stir. Once again bring to a light boil. Turn off heat and add limoncello and coloring.
  3. Ladle hot mixture into nagashikan that has been rinsed in cold water. Bubbles or residue that form on top can be removed by running a piece of Japanese washi paper over the top. Let cool at room temperature until solid.
  4. Remove from nagashikan and cut length into thirds. Cut each third into fifths with serrated tofu knife. Refrigerate to chill and sprinkle with kinpaku before serving.
  5. Makes 15 sweets.
Categories
Recipes

Hanabira Mochi*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Aoume Konashi (Green Plum)

Aoume Konashi (Green Plum)

Kimika Soko Takechi
Larry Sokyo Tiscornia
teatimes@chanoyu.com

INGREDIENTS

  • koshian (sweet smooth bean paste) 300 gm (10.6 oz)
  • flour 30gm (approx. 3 T)
  • mochiko (sweet rice flour) 3gm (approx. 1 tsp)
  • granulated sugar 15 gm (approx. 1/2 oz)
  • mitsu (sugar water syrup)
  • shiro-an (sweet white bean paste) 200gm (7 oz)
  • green & yellow coloring

PREPARATION

  1. Mitsu is sugar water syrup that can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator. To make mitsu, dissolve equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. When the sugar is melted transfer to a glass container and let it cool.
  2. For the konashi, knead the flour and mochiko into the koshian until it is completely incorporated.
  3. Place the mixture in a cloth lined steamer and steam over medium/high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until all of the raw flour taste is gone.
  4. Remove the cloth, and bean paste, from the steamer and knead further using clean damp cotton towels. As you knead the bean paste, slowly incorporate the sugar. If the bean paste gets too sticky it can be kneaded using plastic film like Saran Wrap.) Once the sugar has been completely incorporated, and the bean paste has cooled slightly, the mitsu can be added. Continuing to use a damp towel knead in a small amount of the mitsu (approx. 1 to 2tsp). (NOTE: If coloring or flavoring is to be used it can be kneaded in after the mitsu.)
  5. Coat the outside of the konashi with some mitsu and place in a glass bowl to cool completely for several hours. The bowl can be covered with plastic wrap after it cools to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead further using a little mitsu on your hands to prevent sticking.
  6. To make Aoume: Prepare green konashi using green and yellow color.
  7. Wrap about 25gm (.88oz) green konashi around a 15gm (.5oz) ball of white an (sweet bean paste). Using a small piece of wood with sharp edges (like a kamaboko fish-cake board), press the pointed edge into the end of the konashi. Rotate the sharp edge of the board to opposite side creating an indented line.

Categories
Recipes

Ajisai Kinton (Hydrangea Kinton)*

You must be logged in as a member of UMAA to view this page.

Categories
Recipes

Koshian (Smooth Bean Paste)

Koshian (Smooth Bean Paste)

Koshi An

Kimika Soko Takechi
Larry Sokyo Tiscornia
teatimes@chanoyu.com

INGREDIENTS

  • Baby lima beans or azuki (adzuki) beans 454 gm (1 lb)
  • White granulated sugar 250 gm (8.8 oz)

PREPARATION

  • Check the beans carefully and discard any that are off color or broken.
  • Remove any small rocks.
  • Rinse the beans in cold water several times and then soak overnight in plenty of cold water to soften.
  • Discard soaking water, rinse and cover beans with fresh cold water.
  • Bring the beans and water to the boil and skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  • Discard the hot water once it comes to the boil and once again cover with cold water and bring to the boil, continuing to remove any foam that forms. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times.
  • Cover the beans with plenty of fresh cold water and boil until cooked well, usually about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  • Remove the pot from the stove and press the cooked beans through a very fine strainer into a clean bowl. NOTE: The strainer can be placed into the bean water, that empties into the bowl, to make separating the skins easier.

  • Discard the skins from the strainer and wash the strainer.
  • Strain the pureed beans and water several times to make it very smooth. Discard any bean residue that remains in the strainer.
  • Pour the pureed beans and liquid into a thin cotton bag.
  • Wring the bag to remove excess liquid. Be careful not to remove too much liquid from the beans. Usually an indentation made by pressing a finger into the beans will hold its shape. If it crumbles, too much water has been removed.
  • Remove the beans from the bag.
  • Place in a heavy pot (enameled cast iron is ideal). Add the sugar and cook over medium heat, mixing constantly with a wooden spoon, until all of the sugar is dissolved.

    The temperature of the beans and sugar should be brought to the point that the mixture begins to bubble or boil. Once it reaches this temperature the heat can be turned down but continue to stir until the proper consistency has been obtained. A back and forth mixing is preferred to circular mixing. The finished bean paste will have a more shinny appearance if done this way.

NOTE: If too much water was removed initially, more hot water can be added while cooking the beans and sugar. If too little water was removed it will be necessary to cook the beans and sugar much longer to remove the excess water. It is important to stir continuously to avoid burning.

  • When ready, place the prepared bean paste on a glass or ceramic plate to cool. If coloring or flavoring is to be added it is easy to do while the bean paste is still in the cooking pot with the heat turned off. Remove a little of the bean paste from the pot and add the color to it. Place the colored bean paste back into the pot, a little at a time, and mix it until the color is evenly distributed.
Categories
Recipes

Tsubuan (Chunky Bean Paste)

Tsubuan (Chunky Bean Paste)

Kimika Soko Takechi
Larry Sokyo Tiscornia
teatimes@chanoyu.com

INGREDIENTS

  • azuki (adzuki) beans 200gm (0.4lb)
  • sugar 200gm (0.4lb)
    either white or 1/2 white & 1/2 dark brown
  • light corn syrup

PREPARATION

  1. Check the beans and discard any small rocks or those that are broken or off-color. Rinse the beans in cold water several times and soak overnight in plenty of cold water. To cook – drain the beans and rinse again in fresh water. Drain, transfer to a heavy bottom pot and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that forms. Boil until cooked (1 to 2-hours depending on the beans)
  2. Drain the water from the beans and add the sugar. Cook until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat and let sit for approx. 8 hours.
  3. Heat the beans, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until the beans thicken and there is no more liquid left. Add a small amount (approx. 5% of bean total) of light corn syrup and cook until it is thick. Turn off the heat and continue to stir. Remove to a dish and cover with a damp towel until cool.

OPTIONAL: You can add about 1/3 koshian (smooth bean paste) to 2/3 tsubuan for a different finished texture. Add the koshian during the final cooking before adding the corn syrup.

Categories
Alumni News News

Thank You from Urasenke

Thank You from Urasenke

URASENKE TANKOKAI FEDERATION

682 Teranouchi Tate-cho
Horikawa Teranouchi agaru
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0073
Japan

June 12, 2019

UMAA Members and Friends,

The month of June, “Minazuki,” has so far brought relatively little rain here in Kyoto, with moderately cool and comfortable weather. It is an opportune time to enjoy a bowl of tea outdoors.

Oiemoto and Daisosho were very happy to receive the letter from the UMAA, sent via email and dated June 6, about your donation campaign to contribute to the funding for the Konnichian restoration work. They are certainly pleased to accept the donation which you offer, JPY1,000,000, and deeply appreciate that the UMAA got together to make this contribution.

I am writing to you today, on their behalf as they have asked me and my Kokusaibu department to do, to convey this to all of you members and friends of the UMAA. Oiemoto and Daisosho, together with all of us others at Urasenke Headquarters, are overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for your much welcome show of continuing support.

The exhausting restoration work on the historical Konnichian tea room complex is still ongoing, but the completion of this immense project which has taken many years already is not far away. Thank you, UMAA members and friends who have contributed towards its funding.

Very sincerely,

Kayoko Hirota, Manager
International Affairs Department

Download PDF

Categories
Latest News Soke News

Konnichian Restoration News and UMAA Donation Drive

Konnichian Restoration News and UMAA Donation Drive

Totsutotsusai dismantled

May 19, 2019In 2013 Oiemoto Zabosai sama undertook the historic task of complete refurbishment of the Konnichian complex of tearooms. As these tearooms have been designated Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government, the refurbishment is being treated almost as an archeological endeavor. The massive process has now entered its third of four phases.

From the beginning of this year, work began on the tearooms Totsutotsusai, Dairo no ma, Saya no ma, and the Onsodo. This area of the complex was constructed by eleventh generation Gengensai Seichu Soshitsu. And indeed, as the ceiling of Totsutotsusai was dismantled, wood plaques dated 1801 and 1856 were found in the rafters. Oiemoto Zabosai will be adding another plaque of his own before the ceiling is sealed once again.

The dismantling also revealed the exact construction method of its famous ceiling, and confirmed that the wood came from the Goyomatsu five-needled pine trees planted by eighth generation Yugensai Itto on Daitokuji grounds.

The original materials will be preserved to the extent possible. If any have been damaged beyond repair, the new materials will be distressed and stained to match the surrounding. Kabe, clay plaster for the walls, has always been intended to be renewed periodically. This will be done where necessary, for example on some of the interior walls of Totsutotsusai. However, the original plaster will be left in place for the Onsodo and other tearooms.

The foundations for this area were replaced with concrete in 1965. This new foundation will be removed, and the foundation returned to its traditional form.

It is hoped that the restoration will be complete by 2020 in time for the Summer Olympics.

Update, June 12, 2019: Read the Restoration Fund Donation Acknowledgement from Urasenke

UMAA Donation Drive

Urasenke Konnichian has established a fund for this historical project to which those wishing to express their support may contribute. At all of the UMAA meetings held thus far, members expressed a desire to connect with the Sen family and to give something back. Here is a concrete opportunity to do just that.

The names of these tearooms no doubt hold precious memories for Midorikai Alumni. We can be part of Urasenke’s long history and future by donating to the project. UMAA has set a goal of $5,000. To date, pledges for $2,500 have already come in. While the goal is now halfway met, how auspicious it would be to make an even more significant donation!

The projected date to offer the UMAA contribution is February 15, 2019, in time for the observation of Rikyu-ki. A list of contributor names only will be sent along with the offering. You may make a contribution to preserve this heritage that we love.

Thank you so much for your generosity.