I have conducted events and courses for both Japanese and non-Japanese people.
As a matter of course, different participants have different needs.
As a prerequisite, the way the message is conveyed depends on whether they can imagine the tea ceremony, how much they understand about Japanese culture, and so on.
For this reason, here are three things that I am particularly conscious of.
１：Various foreign connections
Studying the history of the tea ceremony, we can see that it has undergone many changes due to the influence of foreign cultures.
First, the tea culture came from India and China. From there, it was arranged to fit into the Japanese culture.
Tea utensils from Korea and China were expensive because they were from overseas.
Furthermore, the tea ceremony broke away from just sitting on the floor to entertain Westerners in the process of civilization.
In this way, we can see that Japan, as an island nation, has been influenced by external factors such as foreign countries to customize and arrange its culture for us Japanese.
I tell the participants that the culture of the island nation of Japan is connected to various foreign cultures.
Also, since I am studying the tea culture of the participants’ countries, I sometimes talk about the comparisons and differences in tea culture.
In this way, the similarities and differences between the two cultures and the history of the two cultures can be touched upon, making it easier for the participants to become interested.
２：Relationships with Shinto and Buddhism
So far, I have done homestays and visited over 10 countries in person.
I have also visited temples and churches in each country and learned about religious beliefs through the explanations of professional guides.
What I felt was that people from all over the world have one thing in common, the desire to live a better life with happiness for each.
This is the reason for the creation of events, rituals, facilities, organizations, and customs depending on the land and culture.
Of course, it is the same in Japan.
For example, people from overseas are often surprised by the cleanliness and politeness of Japanese streets.
This is probably due to the fact that we Japanese were taught by our ancestors that we should not do anything wrong because the Lord of the Sun is watching us, and that we should be clean in all places because there are eight million gods.
By properly verbalizing and communicating these aspects, it will be easier for people to understand why we, as Japanese, behave the way we do.
３：Values of the Japanese
“Japanese people are shy.”
I have been told this by a few people from overseas. It is true that Japanese people tend to be less assertive than other people in the world.
However, we Japanese naturally have opinions and assertions as well. So, why don’t we verbalize and assert them?
I think this is due to the influence of these four words.
I think this is because of the four-letter idiom, “chinmoku kagaku,” which means calmness and few words.
I think it’s because of these four words. The original word is Zen.
Silence is gold, eloquence is silver, sometimes being silent is as valuable as gold. Sometimes silence is as valuable as gold, and sometimes eloquence is defeated by silence.
Shin Kai Mokukei → “Shin Kai” means to understand, and “Mokukei” means to convey one’s intention without words. In other words, to be able to communicate with each other without using words.
In other words, we can communicate without words.
Incidentally, “Venerable Buddha” was one of his disciples. The meaning of this word comes from the legend that one day, when the disciples of Buddha were discussing about the teachings of Buddhism, “Weima” showed the teachings not with words but with actions and attitude.
In this way, from the culture that we Japanese have learned, it is better to be silent and show our attitude than to talk a lot.
I would like to tell you about “natural” things that we are not even aware of, from the perspective of “why is it natural?
Always think about what I would want to know if I was a foreigner.
One very important perspective is what perspective you would want to know about the culture if you were in the position as a foreigner.
For example, when I was 5 or 6 years old, I loved Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, watching it twice a day, all year round. Of course, I still love it today.
I still remember being fascinated by the color sense and designs, which were different from the Japanese cartoons I had seen in my childhood.
The 101 Dalmatians is an animation set in London, England, and I became interested in London and England from that point on, and I often did research on the music and culture of England and London.
What I found there was how interesting the differences between Japan and England were, the differences in thinking and customs, history and education.
It is precisely because they are different that we want to know more about them, and our understanding and interest deepens.
I believe that this will be a good stimulus for both of us.