The grand master and his family's 2003 New Year's tea celebration (hatsugama-shiki) began on January 7,
at Konnichian, Kyoto. It is the first year for SEN Soshitsu XVI, Zabosai, to be the host for this felicitous
event. Zabosai Soshitsu succeeded his father as Urasenke grand master on December 22, 2002.|
The tearoom Totsutotsusai at the Konnichian estate was the main
room for the celebratory gathering. Here, Zabosai Soshitsu prepared koicha (thick tea) for the guests, using a set
of three nested teabowls named "Fukurokuju," which is the name for the God of Good Fortune and Longevity. Each of
the bowls in the set is assigned one of the three characters that make up the name: "fortune," "happiness," and
"longevity." The teascoop that he used was the first teascoop that he carved this year, which he had given the
name "Kissho" (Good Omen).
The twenty guests at the very first seating, which began at 9:00
A.M. on January 7, included Grand Master SEN Sosa of Omotesenke, who was seated as the primary guest, and, in
order, Grand Master SEN Soshu of Mushanokojisenke, Grand Master YAMADA Sohen of the Sohen chado tradition, Kyoto
Governor YAMADA Keiji, and Kyoto Mayor MASUMOTO Yorikane. When the koicha had been prepared and placed out by
Grand Master Zabosai Soshitsu, his father, Hounsai, conveyed it to the guests. After all the guests were served,
Grand Master Zabosai Soshitsu, joined by the other family representatives, expressed the family's greetings to
everyone. Governor Yamada, on behalf of all the guests, expressed his congratulations to the grand master and
family. An auspicious noh chant was presented by the head master of the Kongo noh tradition, KONGO Hisanori.
The guests then moved to the Tairyuken, where they were served a festive New Year's meal.