2012 will be a big year for Soju Kai Seattle. As Kumiko is graduating her training as a licensed massage therapist (she passed the national exam already!), she will have much more time to focus on integrating her art, her music and her profession. Also our youngest son is graduating high school. I plan to return to my writing, composing and performing. We also plan to do more lecture-performances this year. It will be a year of new beginnings!
Speaking of new beginnings, Kumiko chanted a piece from the Noh play “Tsurukame” for the East-West Chanoyu Center’s New Year’s celebration. The East-West Chanoyu Center (formerly called Urasenke Seattle Branch) has served the broader community in the appreciation and study of the Way of Tea since 1981. They have changed their organizational structure as well as their name, and started a new to spread the beauty of the Japanese tea tradition.
‘Tsurukame’ literally means “Crane and Tortoise.” The crane and the tortoise are traditional symbols of longevity in Japan because the crane is said to live for a thousand years, the tortoise for ten thousand. This song is often sung for auspicious occasions or as Hatsu-utai (the first chant of the year). Being given the opportunity to start the year 2012 by chanting this piece was surely a good sign for us, as well as for our long time close friends.