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japanese design2NEW! Elements of Japanese Design, by Boye Lafayette De Mente. ISBN:9780804837491 Paperback. Here is the publisher’s description:

Elements of Japanese Design introduces 80 key concepts in Japanese design in a readable and accessible short-entry format. Including a brief explanation and examples of every aspect of Japanese design-from Wah (Harmony) to Kaizen (Continuous Improvement), from Mushin (the Empty Mind) to Mujo (Incompleteness).

My review: This is an excellent little book that talks about hard to explain aesthetic concepts. They all apply to the study of Chado. What is particularly nice is that each chapter (concept) begins with the kanji, the romanji, and phonetic pronunciation, and then a short description to help you remember the concept. The further description helps to put these concepts into a western context to help us better understand it. Easy to read and understand English language helps to bridge the gap in those unexplainable concepts like wabi, sabi, and shibui.

 

japan culture2NEW! Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons, Nature, Literature and the Arts, by Haruo Shirane. ISBN: 978-0-231-15281-5 Paperback
I heard a lecture by Professor Shirane at the Portland Japanese Garden this fall. Here is the publisher’s description:

Elegant representations of nature and the four seasons populate a wide range of Japanese genres and media—from poetry and screen painting to tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, and annual observances. In Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons, Haruo Shirane shows how, when, and why this practice developed and explicates the richly encoded social, religious, and political meanings of this imagery.

Refuting the belief that this tradition reflects Japan’s agrarian origins and supposedly mild climate, Shirane traces the establishment of seasonal topics to the poetry composed by the urban nobility in the eighth century. After becoming highly codified and influencing visual arts in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the seasonal topics and their cultural associations evolved and spread to other genres, eventually settling in the popular culture of the early modern period. Contrasted with the elegant images of nature derived from court poetry was the agrarian view of nature based on rural life. The two landscapes began to intersect in the medieval period, creating a complex, layered web of competing associations. Shirane discusses a wide array of representations of nature and the four seasons in many genres, originating in both the urban and rural perspective: textual (poetry, chronicles, tales), cultivated (gardens, flower arrangement), material (kimonos, screens), performative (noh, festivals), and gastronomic (tea ceremony, food rituals). He reveals how this kind of “secondary nature,” which flourished in Japan’s urban architecture and gardens, fostered and idealized a sense of harmony with the natural world just at the moment it was disappearing.

Illuminating the deeper meaning behind Japanese aesthetics and artifacts, Shirane clarifies the use of natural images and seasonal topics and the changes in their cultural associations and function across history, genre, and community over more than a millennium. In this fascinating

One taste of truth4NEW!The One Taste of Truth, Zen and the Art of Drinking Tea, by William Scott Wilson.
ISBN: 978-1-61180-026-5 paperback.
Traditionally in China and Japan, drinking a cup of tea was an opportunity for contemplation, meditation, and an elevation of mind and spirit. Here, renowned translator William Scott Wilson distills what is singular and precious about this traditional tea culture, and he explores the fascinating connection between Zen and tea drinking. He unpacks the most common phrases from Zen and Chinese philosophy—usually found in Asia printed on hanging scrolls in tea rooms, restaurant alcoves, family rooms, and martial arts dojos—that have traditionally served as points of contemplation to encourage the appropriate atmosphere for drinking tea or silent meditation.

Part history, part philosophy, part inspirational guide, The One Taste of Truth will connect you to the distinctive pleasure of sipping tea and allowing it to transport your mind and thoughts. This beautifully written book will appeal to tea lovers and anyone interested in tea culture, Chinese philosophy, and Zen.

 

Sen Genshitsu Talks About the Enjoyment Of Tea by Sen Genshitsu, Urasenke Grand Tea Master XV, Translated to English by Maya Perry
ISBN-10: 4473032965 Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-4473032966

Fifteenth Generation Urassenke Grand Master talks about memorable tea gatherings, guest and host, the lineage of Rikyu, the spirit of hospitality, tea equipment, and becoming better at doing tea among many other topics.  Notable for the English translation of the hundred poems at the back of the book.

 

Urasenke Chado Textbook, translated to English based on the Japanese textbook, Urasenke Chado
ISBN-10: 4473036960 Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-4473036964

Replacement for Uransenke Handbooks 1 and 2.  A much more informational book with less emphasis on actual teaching and photos of procedures.  Topics include:  the spirit of Chado, Zen, Classics related to Chado, tea and health, history and development of Chado, the tea room, the roji, utensils and the significance of temae. Reference material at the back of the book.

 

Moon by the Window, The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada
ISBN 9780861716487 Paperback

Shodo Harada is internationally recognized both as a Zen teacher and as a world class master of the fine art of Zen calligraphy.  Harada regularly exhibits and gives calligraphy demonstrations in museums and universities in the U.S. and abroad.  Moon by the Window is a collection of 108 pieces of Shodo Harada’s calligraphic Zen masterpieces assembled over the decades, and drawn from the rich and poetic literature of the Zen tradition.  Each work is accompanied by Harada Roshi’s sharp and glittering commentaries, making each page a spiritually edifying and aesthetically uplifting  treasure.

 

Tea Here Now by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer
ISBN: 1930722575 Paperback
Tea Here Now demonstrates how tea and the simple act of preparing a cup of tea can give drinkers a taste of enlightenment. Written for the average person who wishes to infuse accessible, uncomplicated spirituality and mindfulness into his or her tea drinking, the book explores the health benefits, spiritual practices, and lifestyle-enhancing properties associated with the world’s major blends, in the process creating a practical guidebook for the “tea lifestyle.”

 

Wind in the Pines, Classic Writings of the Way of Tea as a Buddhist Path compiled and edited by Dennis Hirota
ISBN: 0875730736 Hardcover
This may be the definitive text on Chanoyu, comparable in importance to Okakura’s Book of Tea. Hirota penetrates the Buddhist essence of Tea and understands its authentic origins. Essential for any serious Tea practitioner. It is not a simple history or manual, but a mature and sophisticated reflection on the true nature of Tea as a Way and a practice. Wind in the Pines is a inspiration and also an invitation to penetrate the relationship of Tea to the other Buddhist arts, including renga and haiku and flower arranging (ikebana) and is the product of the deepest appreciation, insight, knowledge and scholarship.

 

The Tea Ceremony, by Sen’O Tanaka
ISBN: 4770025076 Softcover
This book is for anyone wanting to know more about subjects ranging from gardening to ceramics. Interested in Raku pottery? Study the tea ceremony. Want to know more about Japanese gardens? Study the tea ceremony. A fan of Zen Buddhism? Learn the way of Tea. Want to know more about Japanese architecture? Learn about sukiya style by studying the tea ceremony. Are you interested in Japanese woodworking and joinery? Learn about Tea, you’ll know more about what to hide, what to emphasize in your carpentry. This particular books is a very good starting point, don’t be surprised if you read this and then become interested in 20 other subjects.

 

Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu by Kumakura Isao (Editor), Paul H. Varley (Editor)
ISBN: 0-8248-1717-6 Paperback
Tea in Japan illuminates in depth and detail chanoyu’s cultural connections and evolution from the early Kamakura period… It is the quality of seeing the familiar and not so familiar elements of tea emerge as a dynamic saga of human invention and cultural intervention that makes this book exhilarating and the details that the authors provide that make these essays fascinating.

 

 

The Book of Tea by Okakuro Kakuzo ISBN: 0804832196 Hardcover
On the surface, this is a book about history – the history of tea, and art, and religion. But this is really a book about so much more – it compares the culture and way of thinking of the East and West, the past and the present. It makes the reader think about and reassess what is important in life, what is really beautiful, what is worth keeping or fighting for. What is dignity. This essay, which wends its way between the discovery of tea, flower arranging, architecture and Taoism along with other enticing subjects, is truly an enlightening and thrilling book, in a quiet and gentle way. Whether you are interested in East Asian culture, Tea, or would just like a compass to help you re-orientate your priorities, you will probably gain something from this ode to the importance and influence of Tea.

 

Chado: The Japanese Way of Tea by Soshitsu Sen
ISBN: 0834815184 Hardcover
Well-written and well-illustrated, Chado briefly covers philosophy and history, while the majority of the book focuses on the more practical aspects of hospitality: gardens, teahouses, utensils, etiquette procedures for guest and host. Color and black and white photographs illustrate a variety of the utensils employed in Chado. Examples of scrolls, flower arrangements, and sweets accompany explanations of their use in conjunction with the seasons. Guest procedures for a standard tea gathering cover the invitation, appropriate attire, articles to be taken, arrival, the meal, viewing the arranging of the charcoal, intermission, thick tea, thin tea, and departure. The final chapter contains the detailed procedures required of all beginning Urasenke students, called “wari geiko.” Whether or not the reader is just beginning the study of tea, or an advanced student in need of a reference for review.

 

Chado The Way of Tea: A Japanese Tea Master’s Almanac by Sasaki Sanmi, Shaun McCabe (translator), Satoko Iwasaki (translator) ISBN: 0804832722 Hardcover
At once an almanac and encyclopedia of tea, Chado: The Way of Tea includes traditional contemplative poetry used during the tea ceremony, vignettes of festivals and formal occasions, and reflective short essays on the subject of tea. The entry for each month contains nine parts: features, events, memorials, flowers, cakes, foods, meals, words for contemplation, and meisu (utensils and related furnishings). Perfect for the tea-lover, Japanophile, or anyone interested in chanoyu.

 

The Sprit of Tea by Sen Soshitsu; translated by Paul Varley and Kurokawa Shozo ISBN:0834805308 Paperback
This elegant discourse presents the procedures and implements of the Way of Tea through exquisite photography and informative text. It not only introduces in a step-by-step and readily comprehensible manner all the formal elements in of the tea ceremony, it also discusses in depth the philosophical and spiritual values underlying this ancient tradition. This book captures part of the grace, beauty, serenity and philosophy of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

 

 

Zen Words, Zen Calligraphyby Eido Tai Shimano, Kogetsu Tani (Illustrator) ASIN: 087773643X Hardcover
The heart of Zen is expressed here in beautiful Japanese calligraphies, some of them just a word, other a famous Zen phrase from a person from a poem, koan, or anecdote. Shimano, a well-known Japanese-American Zen master, uses Zen stories and teachings to illuminate the inner meanings of each calligraphy.

 

 

 

Kokin Wakashu With Tosa Nikki and Shinsen WakaTranslator: McCullough, Helen Craig ISBN: 0804712581 Hardcover
Royally commissioned in order to return Japanese poetry to the public arena after a renewed interest in Chinese literature, the Kokinshu’s compilers linked the poems by topic, theme, imagery, and chronological and narrative progression to form an integrated anthology; thus, the Kokinshu is meant to be read as a single unit. An excellent translation of the first imperial anthology of imperial poetry with Japanese romanji on one page and English translation on the facing pages. Highly recommended for seasonal feeling relating to Japanese Tea Ceremony.

 

 

The Japanese Way of Tea From Its Origins in China to Sen Rikyu by Sen Soshitsu XV, trans. by V. Dixon Morris
ISBN: 0-8248-1990-X Paperback
This scholarly work first examines the discovery & establishment of tea & tea culture in China, in particular the profound influence of Lu Yu in developing a Chinese tea tradition. The remainder of the book is devoted to explaining the development of the peculiarly Japanese tea culture which grew from Chinese beginnings following tea’s introduction to Japan from China during the Tang Dynasty. The book is well illustrated with some superb full color plates, and a number of black & white photographs.

 

 

Cha-No-Yu: The Japanese Tea Ceremony by Arthur Lindsay Sadler ISBN: 0804834075 Paperback
This book covers everything from the shapes of the tea kettles to the landscape design surrounding famous tea rooms. It discusses many particulars of the tea ceremony and its equipment, but balances this information nicely with many anecdotes which convey the “feeling” of the tea ceremony. The book also provides the reader with valuable historical insight about the development of the tea ceremony. An important feature of the book is that the index contains the Kanji characters for the items listed.

 

 

Japanese Style by Suzanne Slesin, Stafford Cliff, Daniel Rozensztroch (Contributor), Gilles De Chabaneix, David Kidd ISBN: 0517560801 Hardcover
Excellent examples of architecture, beautiful interior design, and superb photography. Just the right juxtaposition of traditional and modern. Each of the major sections has both Japanese and Western Styles. Normally this would not mix, had it been contrived, but all of the examples in the book are real houses where people live and work. No Architectural Digest type of Houses that look artificial and posed are to be found in this book. My favorites are the traditional Japanese houses of which there really great examples. This book can give you hundreds of ideas for decorating your house tastefully. The photography really does justice to these houses and the subtle aesthetics of the Japanese Style.

 

Zen and Japanese Culture by D.T. Suzuki ISBN: 0691017700 Paperback
One of this century’s leading works on Zen, this book is a valuable source for those wishing to understand its concepts in the context of Japanese life and art. In simple, often poetic, language, Suzuki describes what Zen is, how it evolved, and how its emphasis on primitive simplicity and self-effacement have helped to shape an aesthetics found throughout Japanese culture. He explores the surprising role of Zen in the philosophy of the samurai, and subtly portrays the relationship between Zen and swordsmanship, haiku, tea ceremonies, and the Japanese love of nature. Suzuki’s contemplative discussion is enhanced by anecdotes, poetry, and illustrations showing silk screens, calligraphy, and examples of architecture.

 

Tea Life, Tea Mind by Soshitsu Sen
ASIN: 0834801426 Paperback
A Japanese tea master discusses his art, and throws in a few anecdotes of his own life and stories about famous tea masters from the past. Overall, this is a wonderful introduction to the spirit behind the tea ceremony, which as just as important as the particulars of the process itself. The author’s warmth and sincere goodwill come through nicely in this slim, peaceful volume.

 

 

 

This Moment: Tea Ceremony Haiku by Margaret Chula
ISBN: 0963855174 Paperback
Always Filling, Always Full by Margaret Chula
ISBN: 1893996115 Paperback
Haiku especially for Tea, written by award winning haiku poet Maggie Chula. This title is back in print, and I recommend any of her books: Grinding My Ink, Shadow Lines or Always Filling, Always Full. “Visual imagery, which predominates in most English as well as Japanese haiku, is sometimes astonishing in Chula’s. She has the uncommonly keen perception and compositional skills of a painter or fine photographer, while at the same time working with the music and implications of language.” Morgan Gibson, Kyoto Journal.  Order your copy from:

Katsura Press
P.O. Box 10584
Portland OR 97296

 

The Book of Incense: Enjoying the Traditional Art of Japanese Scents by Kiyoko Morita ISBN: 4770023898 Paperback
Incense ceremony is just as poetic, elegant and fun as Tea Ceremony. This book explains how the ceremony is set up with pictures of beautiful utensils and instruments. This book takes you through the history of Japanese incense. Your find that the most comment joss stick incense only has one hundred year history. Before then, Japanese burn woodchips, kneaded incense and granulated incense. This book of incense takes you to a wonderful world of koh-do, incense ceremony.

 

 

The Book of Kimono by Norio Yamanaka ISBN: 0870117858 Paperback
In this book you’ll discover the history of kimono, and complete and detailed explanations of actual and colorful kimonos presented with good quality pictures. You’ll also been presented to all accessories which are needed to wear decently a kimono. In the end you will get some hints about behavior you should have while wearing a kimono Nario Yamanaka, a leading authority on kimonos and who has also established the Sodo Kimono Academy in Japan , truly knows the kimono and exhibits its true beauty in a most lovely manner. Included in the book is a brief history of the origin of the kimono, the process of making the garment, different types of kimonos for different seasons, the tying of the obi sash, beautiful color photos and kimono etiquette. There is a also a detailed step – by – step section on how to wear the kimono.

 

 

A Chanoyu Vocabulary: Practical Terms for the Way of Tea translated by the Urasenke International Association.
ISBN 978-4-473-03398-7 Paperback.
A long-awaited Japanese-English chanoyu vocabulary, offering easy-to-understand explanations of 1642 terms cutting across a broad range of subjects. This ground-breaking book comprises an English translation of selected and edited entries from the approximately 3,000 appearing in Tankosha’s Jitsuyo Chadoyogo Jiten (1993; fifth printing, February 2002), with helpful appendices and illustrations. People of the global community, whether involved particularly in the practice of chanou or generally in the study of Japanese traditional arts and culture, should find this authoritative volume a rare and valuable resource.

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