I was fortunate enough this year to attend the Hakone Daichakai held at the Hakone Gardens near San Jose, California this year. The Hakone gardens were so beautiful and the weather was perfect. It was so lovely to see so many people in kimono (both men and women).
A big shout out to Harvey Harvey, Holly Harvey and Laura Dodd for inviting me and taking care of me. Also thank you to John Larissou and all the other people coordinating and holding seki in the garden.
I had such a good time being a guest at this annual event. There were eight venues within the garden where several schools of tea were holding seki, plus the terrace where the bento lunch was served. I got to attend 5 seki. 2 usucha and 3 koicha, and that means 5 sweets, and 5 teas throughout the day.
It is always interesting to see other schools, and it is always interesting to see how people adapt to the surroundings and make everyone feel comfortable and welcome. The differences in the schools were not so great that I felt uncomfortable as the order of temae is essentially the same. But the arrangement, the choice of utensils, the feeling of hospitality, the welcome was so very nice. I think that I would like to attend again next year.
A big highlight for me was the seki in Shogestu an. It is a tiny 2-jo daime (2 and 3/4) mat tea house at the top of the garden. You have to climb the hill to get to it, but you rewarded with koicha seki in an exquisite jewel of a tea house.
aki wa nao
ogi no uwakaze
hagi no shitatsuyu
as it turns ever more splendid,
provokes deep feelings
wind over miscanthus grass
dew fallen from bush clover
by Sen Kayoko Ōokusama
One of the best things for me was to meet my twin, Marjorie Oda-Burns. Two Marjories, we both have been studying tea for more than 30 years!