Japanese tea ceremony and mindful yoga introduce kimono tailor-made with European suit fabrics

By Keiko Takahashi Kabata

A luxurious culture event Savoir Vivre (Savoir=to know, Vivre=life) was held at the French fabric brand Dormeuil's Aoyama salon last month to introduce a fabulous contemporary kimono, tailor-made with suit fabrics. The brand is well known for its high quality and sophisticated French design but new to kimono, so it was quite a surprising and simple approach that worked.

Fusing and harmonizing Western and Japanese traditional culture was the theme of the event. The performers whom Dormeuil selected to match this theme were a tea master and a yoga instructor of the “CHAREN Tranquilitea Ceremony”, providing unique combined classes of tea ceremony and mindful yoga. The other special guest performer was a biwa player, Kakushin Tomoyoshi, who played beautiful traditional pieces with the four-stringed traditional Japanese lute (see photo below).

“Tranquilitea” was founded by two fascinating Japanese women — Machiko Hoshina and Noriko Kirishima. Hoshina is an English-speaking bilingual tea master of the Urasenke tradition, who was born to the family line of Daimyo, the lord of samurai with a 500-year history, kindred with the Tokugawa shogun family and the lineage of the Imperial family. Kirishima is her college classmate and a bilingual yoga instructor who founded the Putali Yoga School. They believe that the Japanese tea ceremony and yoga share the common philosophy of meditation, which helps us balance the stressed-out body, mind and soul. “By activating the five senses and being present in a Zen-style tearoom, you may feel yourself a part of whole nature and the enlarged universe – and learn the preciousness of being yourself,” says Hoshina.

At the ceremony, Hoshina dressed in a Dormeuil kimono, performed a perfect combination of traditional and contemporary style. The tea master served guests excellent bowls of West-meets-East matcha, specially blended by Magouemon, a tea house in Kyoto. She called the tea “Romanee Conti of Matcha", because of its perfect sweetness and depth of the taste that she felt it was the world’s best quality. An innovative digital scroll on the wall, instead of a traditional hanging style, showed the images of the mindful tea world and created a perfect West-meets-East atmosphere, while the antique tea utensils from 19th-century Japan gave silent messages of the Ichi-go-Ichi-e (once in a lifetime meeting) from the Edo and Meiji eras. The flower vase displayed once belonged to Naosuke Ii, who was the chief minister of late Tokugawa Shogunate and an enthusiastic practitioner of the Japanese tea ceremony who spread the concept of the Ichi-go-Ichi-e.

The biwa player performed also Edo and Meiji era pieces, because biwa was the Meiji emperor's favorite instrument and it was also the time Dormeuil was founded in France. An amazing depth of details everywhere. The matcha tea bowls were also specially made for this event by the ceramic artist Junko Yamamoto; the fusion of Dormeuil and Japanese traditional culture was the concept. Interestingly enough, her beautiful tea bowls symbolizing the perfect harmony between West and East. At the end of the event, Kirishima — dressed in a suit fabric jacket — introduced the innovative kimono yoga lesson. Yes, even wearing a kimono, you can practice it. It was a genius idea.

According to the artists who wore this suit fabric kimono, it is very comfortable as they are luxuriously soft, and the good news is that even after sitting on a tatami mat for a long time, it doesn’t get wrinkled — just right for a contemporary lifestyle.

The yoga lesson at the end helped us use our five senses to fully appreciate every beautiful moment of the tea ceremony and be able to experience the enlarged universal harmony. Thanks to the talented creative masters, their technique and attention to detail and preparation, everyone who participated felt something unforgettable that went beyond culture, time and borders. It was the perfect Ichi-go-Ichi-e experience.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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So anything that bastardizes it is a shame.

Tea ceremonies were always about "luxury through simplicity", and expensive European fabric cut in a custom simple kimono is as luxurious as it gets. Nothing about it bastardizes it. Sado was always open to the outside culture (I know because I have studied it, omotesenke), including the not-so-well-known ceremonially smoking of expensive (for the period) tobacco, enjoying imported sweets and fruits, scents from China or Thailand, and drinking extremely expensive the green tea made for example in Korea or Taiwan.

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I can't remember who it was that mandated the procedures for the "cha no yu", but it was done to preserve the culture. So anything that bastardizes it is a shame.

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It sounds quite exquisite. It's a shame that so many young Japanese people are either not learning about their beautiful traditions or don't have much interest in them. It's a generational thing, I suppose.

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