The high heat of summer is tapering off and we are starting to get cooler nights. It’s pleasant to be outside again and ride my bike around Kyoto. If you look up in the sky on a clear night during the middle of September, you could see the rabbit in the moon pounding away on his mortar making mochi. Unlike “the man in the moon,” the Japanese see a hard-working rabbit. If you google “rabbit in the moon,” you can find some amazingly cute illustrations of this folktale along with some overlays of the moon to help you see this for yourselves.
On the day of the full-moon, we had a tea offering in Nara at Toshodaiji temple. This was our first field trip that we have done at night, and so we departed school at around 3 pm to make sure that we would catch the trains and be at the right place at the right time. It was an unusual tea offering in the sense that it was open to the general public and many people were talking during the procedure. The nephew of O’Iemoto-sama did the tea offering and he did a nice job. By the time he finished, it was dark and the moon kept winking in and out between the clouds while we enjoyed our matcha and mochi sweet. Thank you hardworking Moon Bunny! You can see me admiring the moon in my kimono in the picture attached 🙂
The second and third year gakuen students invited us to attend their moon viewing chakai. It was well thought out and they really worked hard with serving so many people and being such gracious and thoughtful hosts. Unfortunately, this was the first time a sensei was unable to attend, so I missed a lot of the helpful explanations that follow because of my inability to understand most of what’s going on in Japanese.
The kohai are continuing to settle in and we are finding ways to balance our time together in this new group. I am busily preparing things for my keiko chakai, which will be on Oct 22. I’m selecting the tea utensils around my theme, practicing to make the sweets, and practicing the procedures I will need to have mastered to hopefully make a smoothly-run gathering. I say “hopefully” because undoubtably something will go unexpectedly (I don’t want to say “wrongly” because there is no “wrong”) and I just will need to practice self-care along with practicing everything else. In the mean time, I have a volleyball tournament to play in, a few tea events to attend and help at, and just “normal” seasonality here in Kyoto. The leaves on the trees are starting to look a little withered, so the autumn color may just be around the corner. I expect my ability to write every two weeks is going to wain for a bit, but just know that I’m busy and happy. Maybe I’m happy because I’m busy? In either case, time is flying by and it feels like just yesterday I arrived in Kyoto even though September marked the half-way point. I should say it WOULD feel like it was just yesterday however I’ve gained so much information that my brain tells me it’s been much longer. No one could have possibly learned as much as they teach us here in just a few days! That would be impossible. I’m also learning so much about myself too. It’s truly a miraculous opportunity I’ve been given.