SEN Genshitsu in Finland

                SEN Genshitsu was in Finland from June 14-19, 2004, on the occasion of the opening of the teahouse built by the Kansai Japan-Finland Society, of which he is president, as a commemorative project for its 20th anniversary. This society annually offers a one-year scholarship for a student from Finland to study in the Midorikai program at Urasenke headquarters, and a number of the former scholarship students were involved in realizing this teahouse, where they might help introduce the general public to the Way of Tea and also hold chanoyu classes.

President Tarja HALONEN tries her hand at making a bowl of tea.

                The morning of June 15, Dr. Sen appeared on the Finnish Broadcasting Company news program "Morning TV." Before the cameras and lights, he made a bowl of tea for the interviewer, and, with Midorikai alumnus Jouni ELOMAA (current president of Urasenke Tankokai Finland Association) as interpreter, explained about the Way of Tea.
                Past noon, he had an audience with President Tarja HALONEN at the Presidential Palace, and prepared a bowl of tea for her using the Misono-dana ryurei set that had been arranged in advance.

Dr. Sen at the "Morning TV" studio.

                The next day, June 16, he attended a luncheon hosted by Japanese Ambassador KONDO Shigeo at the ambassador's manor. At the tearoom there, Dr. Sen made tea for the ten or so guests, who included Ambassador and Mrs. Eero SALOVAARA of the Finnish Embassy in Japan, and Ambassador and Mrs. Jung-pyo HONG of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Finland.

At the manor of the Japanese Ambassador.

                From 6:00 P.M., the Japanese Embassy sponsored a public lecture and chanoyu demonstration by Dr. Sen at Helsinki's Finlandia Hall, on the theme "The Spirit of Tea." Approximately 350 citizens filled the auditorium. Preceding and following the program, the attendees could have a sweet and bowl of tea in the lobby, where ryurei temae was being conducted. This tea service was handled by members of the Tankokai Finland and Sweden associations.

Scenes from the event on June 16 at Finlandia Hall.

The teahouse opening was on June 17. The teahouse, which has an eight-tatami and three-tatami area and is built mainly of local timber, is situated within the old sea fortress on the isle of Soumenlinna, a famous sightseeing spot registered on the World Heritage list. The isle is a fifteen minute ferry ride from bustling Helsinki. Participating in the opening ceremony were such dignitaries as the Chair of the Foreign Committee of the Finnish Parliament, Liisa JAAKONSAARI; Former Minister of Culture Anna-Liisa KASURINEN; Ministry of Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary Pekka LINTU (former Finnish Ambassador to Japan) and wife; Ambassador and Mrs. Jean-Jacques SUBRENAT of the French Embassy in Finland, and Ambassador Kondo of Japan, to name a few. When the name placque was unveiled, it revealed the characters (Tokuyuan), "Hut of Virtue," which had been written by Grand Master Zabosai. Dr. Sen, in his speech, said that he anticipates that this one-of-a-kind teahouse which has an eighteenth-century brick ceiling integrated into it will long serve as a center for friendship and exchange between the people of Japan and Finland. Following the teahouse opening, there was a celebratory reception party at the Marina Congress Center, attended by approximately three hundred people.

The teahouse name plaque unveiling. The isle of Soumenlinna.

The teahouse entrance. The inside of the teahouse.

                The following day, GOTO Sokoku and others of the Konnichian corps of deputy tea masters who were among Dr. Sen's aides traveling with him from Kyoto Urasenke Headquarters led a chanoyu seminar in the new teahouse for the members of the Tankokai Sweden and Norway associations.