May 20, 2014 ◆ Shuntaro Kondo
Nice to meet you. My name is Shuntaro Kondo and I’m a Japanese Tea-master. Currently, I’m running “AVANT-GARDE CHA KAI (AVANT-GARDE = Modern, CHA KAI = Japanese for Tea ceremony)” in Tokyo to tell young people about Teaism (茶道 Cha-do). Actually, this is my hobby. My core business is running an IT venture company. [ What is the difference between Teaism and Tea ceremony? ] Teaism is the Philosophy to drink a cup of tea. Tea ceremony is the Event to drink a cup of tea. In other words, Tea ceremony is based on the principles of Teaism. There are multiple schools of Tea ceremony, however, there is only one root of the Philosophy Teaism. In this column, I’d like to explain about Tea ceremony, but I plan on explaining more about Teaism in another article. Do you know “Tea ceremony”? Tea ceremony is said to be a “composite art form” in Japan. The reason is that it is not just for drinking Matcha (green tea), but also being composed of various associating factors. For example, there are pottery, cooking, Japanese confectionery, flower arrangement, calligraphy, architecture (tea room), etc. It is said that a tea master, “Sen no Rikyu(千利休),” created the form of modern “Tea ceremony” 450 years ago. It has a long history and is one of the traditional cultures representing Japan. Paying respect to “Tea ceremony,” which has such a wide range of elements and history, “Avant-garde Cha Kai” is a way to represent our own style of Tea ceremony in this modern world.
What do you think this is? It is just an ordinary compact car in Japan.
A tea room is revealed if you open the hatch. So what? Isn’t it a surprise? As the tea room is in a car, it can easily move anywhere and you can hold a tea ceremony on the spot. It may look small, but it can fit at least three adults, including me. I held a tea ceremony the other day, inviting a friend of mine from New York. He shouted, “So cooool!!!” He also said, “It is like an ambulance, which supplies green tea at any-time, anywhere. It will be perfect if you put a green light on top of the car. I’d like to call it the Matcha Mobile!” Finally he said, “Shuntaro, bring this to New York!” I surely would like to bring this to New York and perform tea ceremony inside the car someday. Well, I may have rushed too much. However, please do not misunderstand. I am doing tea ceremonies with a traditional formal style as well! I look the part when I wear a kimono, don’t I? From the next time, I will introduce my actual activities, which I have done, and bring you the real Japanese culture and the deep world of Teaism. So stay tuned!