Hello and welcome back to my study abroad in Japan blog! My name is Solara, and I’m here to tell you all about day two of our academic pursuits. We looked at traditional arts and disciplines in depth to better understand the Japanese mindset and perspective on life.
Among these arts and disciplines was “the way of tea,” or chadō, which is the traditional tea ceremony. I have always loved seeing a glimpse of a tea ceremony in Karate Kid II, but this took that experience to a whole new level. I highly appreciate the outlook of doing something that is seemingly simple to a highly sophisticated degree and giving it enough focus to make it a truly special experience.
Moreover on that note, I was enamored by the ikebana as well, because it too differentiates carelessly doing something and putting intention and hard work into it. I connected deeply with such arranging of flowers, especially upon discovering that it is also customary to arrange moss and twigs along with the flowers. What sparked this connection was the fact that I have been crafting with moss and twigs for some time now. Furthermore, I have been highly considering arranging pressed flowers into colorful and possibly nostalgic pieces of art. For the past few places I’ve visited, I have kept a flower or two from the place to press and place in an arrangement honoring the memory.
Another favorite topic of mine is martial arts. I began martial arts when I was nine years old. It seemed to be something that truly found me, as I had never given it much thought beforehand and ended up joining for silly reasons. Little did I know at the time that not only would I stick it out to receive my black belt, but that I would also pursue various styles after having obtained a core understanding of zazen through martial arts. This understanding breeds a whole new way to exist in harmony. Moreover, the various senseis, shifus, and instructors that I have had have all molded me to seek and achieve different goals within the ideas of oneness. Martial arts is most well known for its ability to deflect dangerous situations, but this ability transcends to all moments in life. To elaborate and conclude, I shall make reference Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon when someone asked him what style he trained in. He responded with “the art of fighting without fighting.” The man seemed confused and responded with, “show me.” So Bruce proceeds to arrange a fight on an island where they would have to take a small boat to get to away from the large one they were already on. He lets the man get the boat ready and then, bye-bye! Bruce has proven his point to the man as he stands on the original boat waving to the man as the man is sailing away in frustration. This is truly a way of being. Oss!