Midorikai interlude

Karla has agreed to write a few things for the blog during her year in Midorikai.  Here is the first installment:


My name is Karla and I am a student of Margie’s. I am lucky enough to follow in the footsteps of my sensei and attend the Urasenke Midorikai program beginning this April. I feel very grateful and honored to return to the program that she completed 20 years ago. She has kindly given permission to post some of my experiences to her blog so her readers can get an idea of the program today. Unfortunately, I don’t expect to be able to reply to comments but for specific questions, she can pass them along to me. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures!

April 4

We are getting prepared for school to begin here at Urasenke. Prior to the opening ceremony we have many orientations and things to gather so we are prepared. There won’t be much time to do shopping once classes begin so it’s important to try to prepare as much as we can. Also, that’s just sort of how I am since I’m a school teacher by trade 😛 There is a hustle and bustle among all of the students here. I have three fabulous sempai and three doukyuusei, so there are four of us and three of them! We have been getting along well together and have already started to see the sights of Kyoto.


Nijo-jo light up


This time of year is famous for sakura, cherry blossom viewing. If you walk along the Kamogawa (the famous river in the middle of Kyoto) you often see Hanami (blossom viewing parties) and many of the shrines have light ups, where you can go and view the cherry blossoms at night. There is discussion of taking a field trip on a weekend this month to Yoshino, a very famous location for its cherry blossoms. In fact, “Yoshino” alone makes a fabulous gomei this time of year because of it’s ability to evoke that seasonality. We have enjoyed many bowls of matcha and are SPOILED for fabulous wagashi. (Note: I will not be focusing so much recording the Wagashi here on this blog as some other Midorikai graduates, but I would suggest Drinking Liminality blog by a previous student, if you are interested).

April 9

This has been quite a busy week with the opening ceremony, welcome dinner, trip to Juko-in (one of the two sites for Rikyu’s grave) and a weekend field trip to Yoshino. All the events went well. I’m concerned about the ability to sit seiza already, but I hope that with some tips and tricks from sensei and sempai (and my doukyuusei), I can make it through without long-term injury to knees, ankles, legs and feet.

The opening ceremony had a little over 30 new students entering the four different areas of the school. We four new Midorikai students were part of it. It was awesome to be able to stand up when my name was called and bow to O’Iemoto-sama and his wife, who the gakuen affectionally calls O’Kusama. For this year we are accepted as part of their family.


Opening ceremony


Yoshino was also a highlight, though the blossoms were slightly past their prime. A good gomei for this was “hana fubuki” on account of the many blossoms falling from the branches like a snow blizzard. Quite beautiful!

Yoshino hillside

Yoshino hillside

Permanent link to this article: https://issoantea.com/midorikai-interlude/

1 comment

    • Steph on April 9, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey, Karla! Wishing you all the best and looking forward to your writing!

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