Online Staff Report
Rockford’s Anderson Japanese Gardens will offer a rare opportunity to participate in a hanami chakai, a traditional Japanese Flower Viewing Tea Ceremony Saturday, April 27. The demonstration will take place in Anderson Japanese Gardens’ 16th-century Sukiya-style Guest House.
Participants will gather in the Visitor Center overlooking the Gardens, where they will enjoy a hot cup of genmaicha, a roasted rice-flavored tea. Following a short introduction, guests will be guided through the spring landscape to the Guest House. There, 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 demonstrate the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, featuring a cup of green tea accompanied with a special Japanese sweet.
At the conclusion of the tea ceremony, participants are encouraged to explore the Guest House. Garden Curator Tim Gruner will be available to answer questions and to share the history of this architecturally unique building. Guests are invited to explore the garden as they return to the Visitor Center. Ceramic tea bowls and other related items will be available for purchase in the Visitor Center.
The tea bowls are crafted by Jason Armour, one of Gunji’s esteemed students. His 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.
Hanami Chakai ceremony times are 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.; and 2 to 3 p.m. The 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 for more information, contact Katie Weston by phone at (815) 316-3306 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New this year based on popular demand, Professor Gunji will give a hands-on lesson of tea-serving procedures Sunday, April 27. The class will be from 9 a.m. until noon, and is limited to 10 participants. The cost is $35 per participant, and reservations are required.
Posted April 24, 2013