The art of the thank you note


As a child, my mother sat me down when I received any gift or attended any event to write a thank you note. It was drilled into me that I MUST acknowledge what someone else had done for me by a hand-written thank you note. That training has stood me in good stead. It is very seldom these days that we receive a thank you note from anyone. It is so unusual that I have received thank you notes for sending a thank you note.

As part of the etiquette of attending a chakai, the thank you note from the guest to the host after the event is essential. I have written and received many, many thank you notes and there is an art to writing a thank you note.
As you can see from the example above, the thank you note doesn’t have to be very long. This example is very sophisticated and perfect for the occasion.

After the greeting, there is an acknowledgement of what the person is thanking you for. The next sentence is making a specific comment about what the person enjoyed, and how they enjoyed it. The next comment is something that they learned that they didn’t know before, and finally how the event affected them. Closing we have another expression of thank you (in Japanese!) and a simple sincere closing with signature.

As you can see, it is a handmade card. If you have an appropriate card, please use it. A handmade card will do just fine. A blank paper will do as well. You just need to take the time, and address it, put a stamp on it and send it off.

Here is another example of a thank you note I received for Hatsugama:
Dear Margie
It was such a wonderful Hatsugama chakai this afternoon., and I feel calmness settling in my heart as I reflect on the gathering. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by treasures of tea friends and wonderful tea utensils. The Spring Bulb bears much energy to grow, I look forward to pursuing Chado together and growing further. Thank you for setting a springboard, gracefully prepared, for me take the great first step of the new year.
Best regards,

The author of this thank you note incorporated the theme and names of the utensils into the thank you note. Spring bulb was the shape of the chaire, and “first step” was the gomei of the chashaku. It shows that the guest was paying attention and how it affected them.

Please do not waste time in sending your thank you note. Sit right down after the event (as the author above did right after the event. I received this in the mail the very next day). If you have procrastinated more than a week in writing your thank you note, do not just forget about it. Sit down and write it now.

Finally, for those who struggle for words on paper, it is the thought that counts. Write what is in your heart. A sincere thank you is the most appreciated.

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