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lWe arrived at the elegant & spacious home of Mrs. Masako Konishi, a llovely woman who welcomed us in the most gracious manner.

Some of the stone pieces in the garden were from the Edo Period and her family dates back some 800 years in Koyoto.

Shoes off please…….

Mrs. Konishi graciously gave us a tour of her home and pointed out many pieces.  A beautiful Gombi (fine line) painting/scroll along with a vase of Cherry blossoms artfully arranged (Ikebana) were chosen… and placed in the Tokonoma area  for us…her guests!  The Tokonoma is the place to put these traditional objects and the seat nearest the area is considered to be for the most honored guest!

Are you ready?……
Wait for it….
Wait for it…..
Can you believe ?

The Tokomona area is behind me.

It takes a village……Pam & I were ‘dressed’ at the same time (we picked out our kimono’s) and this is so complicated, it’s impossible for one to dress themselves.  Lots of wrapping and many layers.  You feel like a package being wrapped for Christmas!  The ‘Obi’ is so tight that you’re constricted but actually it feels wonderful.  Your posture changes along with the way you deport yourself….little mincing steps work best. 
Here’s Pam…..she selected such a beautiful kimono.  I am amazed at how they tie the Obi into such a magnificent bow!

Boyd and Wilbur.

And here are the ladies…. in all our glory! From the left, Eileen, Bonnie, Pam & yours truly.

Wilbur joined us for this one!

But wait……there’s so much more……

Time for the tea ceremony.  Watching Yumiko, (Masako’s friend and fellow member of the Women’s Association of  Kyoto*) perform the tea ceremony was like watching a ballet.  Each movement was so precise and delicate I was mesmorized. 

The Japanese tea ceremony is called ‘chanoyu’ or ‘sado’ and the bitter tea is ‘matcha’.  This choreographed ritual is indescribeable. ‘The whole process is not about drinking tea….it is about aesthetics!’

We were taught the correct was to hold the bowl (larger than a teacup as the ground Green tea is whisked in the bowl)……along with the proper thing to say when presented with the tea….You thank your host and then turn and apologize to the person to your left for drinking before them.  It’s all very formal and causes one to be fully present in the moment.  Because of that, Masako said solomnly, " This is a moment in time that will never come again".  Her manner, along with her words had great impact on me and I’m sure everyone felt the same.

Masako,  Yukiko and an assistant stood at the entrance to the home and waved goodbye to us.  (That’s customary.)

We then walked along Shirakawa Dori Street next to the Shirawaka Canal…….A canopy of Cherry blossoms along the way and a good chance to Geisha gawk!  I’m going back to take photo’s once my iPhone is charged!!
Hanami Koji Dori Street then led us to the theatre.
* Wak Japan Co. provides opportunities for women of Kyoto to expand their ability through international exchange services.  Their aim is to help more people understand Japanese culture.

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