Time, space and the experience of chado¯
In what kind of Urasenke chado¯ activities are practitioners involved? There are several, including tea gatherings, called chakai, chado¯ seminars (kenkyu¯kai) and chado¯ conferences. Chakai are normally held at least once every two months in Akita city and kenkyu¯kai are organized once every three months. A head teacher, known as gyo¯tei sensei, from Kyoto gives these training sessions in Akita. Some practitioners in Akita prefecture also attend special seminars at the main branch in Kyoto or at the local regional branch in Sendai. Once a year there is also a regional chado¯ conference (chiku taikai), and practitioners gather on this occasion to meet the grand tea master (iemoto). However, practitioners’ first and foremost contact with chado¯ is their daily practice (keiko), normally once a week in the chado¯ classroom. Some researchers, such as Kondo (1985), tend to regard the formal tea ceremony (chaji) as synonymous with chado¯, but in fact it is the ultimate goal of chado¯, and thus of daily practice (keiko). In this chapter, I will focus on keiko, and describe what I saw, heard, tasted, smelled, touched and felt in my daily practice, and thus provide an insight into the experience of practising chado¯. This description is based on my fieldnotes and memory. My notes provide specific dates and, more importantly, are a useful trigger to recall the memory of my five senses of keiko.