Yoshitsugu Nagano Sensei comes to Portland

The Portland Japanese Garden invited Yoshitsugu Nagano sensei of Ueda Soko school from New York City to come and present tea at the Cultural Corner floating tatami space. It is always interesting to watch other school’s temae to compare the different styles of making tea. And I think that is what it is, stylistic differences. The history of Chado is the same, the seasons of Japan are the same, the philosophy of zen and tea are the same, and largely the utensils and procedures are very similar. Most importantly, sweets and tea are the same.  

We enjoyed a casual dinner with members of Kashintei kai, the group of tea practitioners who help to maintain Kashintei, the teahouse at the Japanese Garden. This group also hosts a private chakai once a month for members and presents public tea once a month. Nagano-sensei had two students accompanying him from New York, Chie Ogura and Minji Koo, and we had a lively exchange over food, sake and wine. 

Later in the week, Nagano-sensei came to Issoan, where I hosted him and two other students who traveled from New York to assist him. I had been given a gift of shincha, fresh tea from this year’s harvest, so I shared it with my guests. We enjoyed sweets and usucha, Urasenke style. To my surprise, sensei made a bowl of tea for me Ueda Soko style. It is not often that other people make tea for me, and I was astounded how good it tasted.

Afterwards, we had a wonderful discussion of bringing tea to people in America, teaching students about Japanese culture and tea. Through all of this, I formed friendship with him and his students, Wentao Wu and Suzy Wang. I also secured an invitation to tea the next time I am in New York. Thank you Yoshitsugu Nagano sensei. I will take you up on the invitation!

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