Sumi and sumi, a Midorikai interlude

We had our first week of school and I am quite tired. We have had some changes to the program with Midorikai being included more inside the Gakuen. For example, we now attend the morning chorei / role call. This is a great time to practice sitting seiza, which of course means that you are DYING by the end of it. Also, it’s early in the morning, so you haven’t quite gotten warmed up yet and it’s especially painful for me.

Another example is that along with our usual Midorikai duties of preparing our own classrooms, we also have been included in Gakuen Mizuya rotation. This is also a great opportunity to learn how to do things and you are working side-by-side with about 12-15 students ranging from first year to three year. Few of the students speak English, so I’m not so sure how that’s going to go for me. Luckily we have been paired Sempai-Kohai, so I have my Sempai who will help me.

It seems that with the changes to the program, they expect a much higher level of language proficiency then before when we were quite separated from Gakuen. My mizuya week rotation will be the last week in April and after watching how exhausted my other classmates have gotten I’ve started to worry about it. I’m stock piling cooling spray and herbal tea and other homeopathic remedies like candy bars to make sure that I can make it through.

Usually mizuya toban begins at 6 am and you don’t really get a break until 8 pm at night. This goes Sunday through Saturday, though usually the weekend days are only for 4-5 hours. With Midorikai’s usual duties and only 7 of us to do them all, 2 of which are mizuya toban and have to leave to go help the gakuen, well, things have gotten tense. I’m trying to not let it stress me out or overwhelm me since it won’t help me.

On a more pleasant note, we’ve had some interesting lectures and jitsugi this week. We had a lecture on April seasonality and also the mizuya from Hamana-sensei. We had to scribble madly to try and get it all down. Luckily I had read the April chapter from the Japanese Tea Almanac, so I skipped the parts I remembered reading from that.
We also had a calligraphy lesson. I have always enjoyed calligraphy.
For jitsugi we had warigeko lessons, this time focusing on walking, standing, folding fukusa, handling utensils, etc to prepare us for temae. It’s amazing how much my fukusa folding has improved. I’ve got a whole checklist of things to work on now. My right leg is pretty sore from standing and sitting and my bowing has improved a bit. Lots still to improve upon! We are still in western clothes and when we start wearing kimono, I think things will get a little easier in regards to being in the tea room.
We also had a sumikiri (charcoal cutting) session, which was actually quite fun.IMG_3414

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    • admin on April 18, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Yes, it is.

    • Rhonda Rolf on April 18, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Sumi kiri is such a fun experience!

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