2013 SAN FRANCISCO CONFERENCE ON CHANOYU AND TEA CULTURE
I went to last year's conference and thoroughly enjoyed it. Programming is supposed to be bilingual, but some of the Japanese presenters abandoned their English and presented much of their lectures in Japanese. Fortunately, each program had a good handout to go along with it, so I wasn't too lost if this happened. (I also had the nerve to put "Society For Creative Anachronism" on my registration and it was on my badge - had a delightful lunchtime chat with some academics who had come out from the Midwest to attend.) This year's programs include a presentation on Chinese tea traditions in our period.
If you're in (or going to be in*) the San Francisco Bay Area, it's well worth one's time. Registration is $25 and a bento lunch is available for $15.
*If you're thinking you'd like to, I have futon space available. ;-D
Saionji no Hana, West Kingdom
- As with last year, the Ocha Zanmai conference was a tea culture nerdfest of esoteric lecture topics.
The first lecture by Dr. Antoni Uceler was on descriptions of chanoyu in Jesuit records from the 16th century. I could have happily listened to another hour on this and have duly wish-listed the Haklyut society's translation of Joao Rodrigues' account of 16th century Japan on Amazon.com
This was followed by a presentation by a representative of the Freer/Sackler Galleries' curator Louise Cort, on Chigusa, a tea jar which will be on exhibit this spring in Washington DC*. A survey of the tea ceramics created by 17th century potter Nomomura Ninsei, by Professor Yoshiko Oka, Otemae University had me muttering, "Crap, this stuff is all post period!" Ninsei's work features a lot of bright polychrome decoration in contrast to some of the more wabi pieces I associate with tea. Some of it is spectacular.
The lunch break featured tea service of matcha and mochi - evidently last year's survey included a great many requests for this. (The logistics of heating enough water blew a circuit breaker, and the mind boggles at the number of chawan that the process required.)
The afternoon's lectures included an overview of tea culture in the Tang, Song and early Ming dynasties and the poetic imagery used to describe the process of water boiling, by Professors Tadahiko Takahashi, Tokyo Gakugei University and Amane Okamoto, Koyasan University.
This year the addition of a translator accompanied the presenters who lectured in Japanese, which I found most helpful.
Word has it the proceedings of the 2012 and 2013 conferences will be published some time in 2014.
*Information on the Freer Sackler exhibition of Chigusa is at www.asia.si.edu/press/downloads/exhibition-schedule-fall-winter-13.pdf
Saionji no Hana