Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tea and Blood

Many people enjoy the Japanese Tea Ceremony, which is Japanese traditional way of tea started in the 15 century. It has a strict way for preparing and tasting tea, so it might be looked like a kind of ritual. It is one of reasons why they take the strict way that they practice it as like a sport, so they learn how to control their behavior, take concentration, or make beauty of their movement through it. They not only enjoy practicing the way of tea but also love artistic tea utensils and many variety of things, for example scroll picture, follower setting, the form of tea room and Japanese garden. They love talking about what are made careful selection of in the tea ceremony, and someone make them by themselves. Therefore, the Japanese tea ceremony is a kind of culture. This culture has been learned, followed and improved for a long time in Japan.

The other day, I explained this culture to my English teacher. I had difficulty for it, because she was a Filipina who teach me English from Cebu through the Internet. This lesson used the real-time online video chat, so we could have talk interactively. I told her about the tea ceremony in English, and if she had some questions, I answered them there and then.

When I finished my explanation, I asked her if there is a similar culture of the Japanese tea ceremony in the Philippines. She had a few seconds for thinking, and said that it resembled a "blood compact". I asked her what was a blood compact. She told it was a kind of ritual for unity of citizens in the fight against something. They drink their blood each other as a ritual.

At first, I thought that it didn't resemble the Japanese tea ceremony at all, because I thought the blood compact was very eccentric and barbaric, but the tea ceremony was neat and elegant. However, in a while, I changed the mind and figured out that she was right.

The culture of Japanese tea ceremony began at 15 century. Actually, there was a lot of provincial war in Japan at this period, so to say the age of civil wars. Despite many battles, some shoguns like practicing the tea ceremony, building the their own unique tea room and collecting favorite goods for it. The most powerful shogun, Hideyoshi Toyotomi hired a person who was a famous tea ceremony master. His name was Sen-no Rikyu. He established the form of the tea ceremony, as we modern people know it.

Shoguns had some reasons to do the tea ceremony. It was not only enjoyable for them but also it was a kind of their status symbol, and useful for practicing keeping their cool and concentration. Additionally, I think that it was like a tool for improving human relationship. They must have invited their fellows or the person who might become enemies in the future. They tried to develop their mutual understanding through drinking tea in spite of blood. Traditional tea room have Nijiri-guchi and Katana-kake. Nijiri-guchi is a very small entrance. Everyone who is getting in the room has to bend down. It showed they had no battling spirit there. Katana-kake is a hook of swords. It must be at the outside of the tea room, so they have to leave any weapon in the tea room. These things show warriors improved just their relation through the tea ceremony. I think that it was not to make contract for unity like as a blood compact, but it is similar to the blood compact on a point of view as a kind of ritual for developing human relation. It began originally at such a period of civil war in Japan.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The work of Touhaku Hasegawa

I went to the national museum Tokyo the other day. They exhibited work of Hasegawa Touhaku. He is a 15th century Japanese painter. Touhaku started as a religious painter at a local region, and he went up to the capital city Kyoto.

He had big rivals, Kanoh Eitoku and his group. Kanoh group already had powerful patrons, strong warrior or shogun, when Touhaku came out. They had built up a certain painting style and it had been very major. Touhaku learned Kanoh style and added his own style. Additionally, he challenged variety type of painting, so it made him a unique painter. Then, he finally got great success.

I’m interested in not only his paintings but also his strategies.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A seminar in English

I went to Tokyo last week. This trip's main purpose was to take part in the seminar by a computer software maker. They sometimes give seminars about their new products. The product which was discussed there was a kind of computer software development environment, and 500 people who use it or are interested in the market around it attended the seminar.

I excited variety of speakers. One of them was an engineer from their American head office, and the others were artists who used this software from Europe, and Japanese independent software creators. They informed a lot of things from new functions of the new one to their strategy on some markets and its expected effects with customer’s satisfaction. I could know not only its technical tips but also impress by their creative work. I was strongly stimulated by them.

I had one more impression. Foreign speakers made speech in English in the seminar. The seminar gave an interpreter receiver service, but some Japanese audience seemed to be able to hear without it and some of them asked questions in English to the speakers. I felt that our world is globalizing quickly and I should study English harder.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I watched the movie "Surrogate" the other day. This is a near future sci-fi story. In this story, everybody has his or her own robot and they make it be a surrogate to do all activities out of home. People wear goggles and sensors on the special chair at home, and then control their own robot remotely. They enjoy life as Surrogates, because not only it makes their life safer but also they looks younger, healthier or more beautiful as a robot than their real figure.

However, it makes them have had a lot of fear for their life. For example, after the hero lost his surrogate because of being destroyed by anti-surrogate people during chasing a criminal who run away to the anti-surrogate people’s domain, he had to go to his FBI office by himself as his real body. One of his colleague said that he should have another Surrogate as soon as possible, because it is very dangerous to be out of home by his real body. She seemed to want to say no surrogate was insane.
I think that this plot might allegorically mention an aspect of our modern life. Many people use the Internet, and we can do a lot of things at home through it, for example, shopping, learning, or meeting with other people. Some people have avatars as they say in the Internet, and even enjoy fashion and virtual activities there.

This movie might alert us that it is possible that these kinds of life make us increase fear or negative feeling for the real life. The more dreadful thing is that we get around to feel them general, and nobody finds them something strange if there are.