Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Japanese School Sydney Fete - Ikebana, tea ceremony, and Halloween scaryness

In Permaculture, its the edge where two different ecosystems meet that the treasures are to be found, that life gets lively. Riverbanks, Boundaries, exchanges.

Flowers Kuniko Nakano, of the Ohara School of Ikebana

This weekend my sister-in-law Laura and I trekked up to North Sydney, to see what treasures we would find at the Annual Sydney Japanese School Fete.

At this school, children of all backgrounds are immersed in a bi-lingal, bi-cultural  environment.
Not just language, but other blessings of being Japanese seep in too.
What would these be?

My sister-in-law Laura at the Sydney Japanese School track
Being keenly observant.
Cultivating tiny pockets of beauty.
Putting in every effort till a desirable goal comes true.

Tea Ceremony Cubby House
I needed to lay low that day.
So after a quick survey of the noisy and exciting areas - flea market, festival food stalls, drumming -  I retreated to the Tea house, and offered my services at a 'carrying girl'.
Being a useful participant is generally more rewarding than being a passive recipient of entertainment. Once you are over 25, anyway.

The fresh sweets were made my new friend Hirano-san, and other clever mothers. White bean paste, rice powder, and green tea are used.

The hot Macha tea itself is bitter.
Instead of adding sugar, you ready your mouth with a sweet, and the contrast is wonderful.

Here are little girls and their teacher. Today they helped carry sweets and tea to the guests. They practiced the skills of moving with micro-awareness, so the tea doesn't slosh or spill. They practiced being aware of their bodies, being in-the-moment, so they can move gracefully in a very small space.

From the ikebana display. Tea flowers are even more modest.

A tea party at a tea house is usually intimate, just a handful of guests scrambling through a hole in the wall, rather than a full-size door. Its like playing cubby house, for grown ups.
But its also a way of life, way of being and relating to the world around you.

I first met 'Sado', or 'The Way of Tea' 19 years ago.
Without it, my daily life would have been cluttered with unnecessary difficulties. I would have missed so many moments of pleasure.

So, did I find my treasures at this fete?
I did.
Mitsuba sits on the bench at my Balmain house-sit

From Mr Abe's stall I bought mitsuba, a hard-to-find fragrant Japanese herb.
It will star in my next balcony garden, when I find my next home.

If you want to put together a Japanese edible garden, I recommend you put in an order to handsome old Mr Abe, and his lovely son:
Mascot, Sydney
0414 313 461

My second treasure was a radiant lady in white, Asami Gough. She is a Reiki master, which is probably how we found each other in the sea of people.  I will attend her meditation on Friday, at the Balmain Hospital.

My life expands in lovely ways.

Cecilia avoiding the Japanese 
Haunted House.
Too scary.

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