Rockford’s Anderson Japanese Gardens will offer the rare opportunity to participate in a yukimi chakai, a traditional Japanese Snow Viewing Tea Ceremony, Saturday, Feb. 4.
The demonstration will be in Anderson Japanese Gardens’ 16th-century Sukiya-style Guest House.
Participants will gather in the Visitor Center, where they will enjoy a hot cup of genmaicha, roasted rice-flavored tea while viewing the picturesque beauty of the gardens below. Following this warm introduction, guests will be guided through the winter landscape to the Guest House.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, participants are invited back to the Visitor Center to view an extraordinary display of tea bowls and tea ceremony-related items, which will be available for purchase.
Kimiko Gunji, professor emeritus of Japanese Traditional Arts and Culture and the former director of Japan House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be the host of this event.
The tea bowls are crafted by Jason Armour, one of her esteemed students. Armour’s goal is to help people “find beauty in plainness and tranquil simplicity through set naturalistic aesthetic values” — a concept derived from his interpretation of the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi.
Professor Gunji states: “As technology continually advances, human beings are so enraptured by its power and capability; however, through this captivation, they often succumb to surrendering the very element that makes them human: the use of their five senses. My concentration is to impart to those with whom I encounter through my teachings and my art, the significance of becoming a fine human being through the vitalization of the senses and the natural manifestation of one’s kokoro.” Kokoro can be translated into “mind, spirit and heart.”
Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony times will be 10:30-11:10 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m., 1-1:40 p.m., and 2-2:40 p.m.
Cost to participate is $25 per person. Reservations are required. Space is limited to 15 participants for each of the Tea Ceremony times. For reservations or more information about the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, contact Julie Pastore by phone at (815) 229-9390, ext. 10, or by e-mailing jpastore@AndersonGardens.org.
Anderson Japanese Gardens is at 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, and can be reached at (815) 229-9390 or online at www.andersongardens.org.
From the Jan. 18-24, 2012, issue