My heart is heavy from this past weekend as I learned that a friend of mine passed away. There were three of us who studied together with Minako sensei every Thursday night for many, many years, and now he is gone, and Minako sensei is gone.
It seems like we grew up together and now my tea brother has passed on to the next world. He was a man of many talents. I took shodo lessons from him because he was such a good calligrapher. I have some scrolls and shikishi he has written for me over the years. He was a fabulous cook and made really good sweets. He also made the most amazing pottery. With simple hand tools, he crafted fine works in wood, and was an excellent writer. He even set up the tea room so I could make tea for my parents when I got married. Most of all he was a good friend who never forgot me even when I moved away or was busy.
In the tea room this week is a shikishi he wrote for me, “Ichigo ichie” One lifetime, one meeting. It has taken on more significance for me in that it seems like I knew my friend for a lifetime, and yet I would like one more meeting with him. It is comforting to have this calligraphy in the tea room as if his spirit is still with us. Quiet, hardworking, dependable, a man of few words, but big heart. We must go on without you. Farewell.