SEN Makiko Introduces Chado in the UAE
Downtown Dubai at night

March 1-7, 2016, SEN Makiko, daughter of Urasenke Iemoto SEN Soshitsu XVI, visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by invitation of Consul General MICHIGAMI Hisashi of the Consulate General of Japan in Dubai, UAE, to introduce chado at several events.

Arriving in Dubai from Japan in the early morning of March 1, Makiko went with Consul General Michigami that morning to pay a courtesy call on His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed AL MAKTOUM, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, and to make tea for him. Among the topics of their conversation was the World Expo to be held in 2020 in Dubai, under the theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future."

That evening, Makiko, together with those from Urasenke Headquarters who were accompanying her on this trip from Kyoto, was Consul General Michigami's guest for dinner at his official residence, and spent a pleasant evening learning about the growth and modernization of Dubai over recent years.

The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, located in the Heritage area of the capital city of the emirate of Sharjah, was the venue for a chado introduction program the next day, March 2. Sharjah city is about 20 km from Dubai, and is sometimes called the 'Pearl of the Gulf.' The program by Makiko was attended by Sheikha Nawar AL QASSIMI, others of the Sharja Art Foundation, and persons of Sharjah's cultural and art world. Consul General Michigami gave a greeting speech and introduced Makiko. Makiko then stood at the podium and spoke in English to the guests about various aspects of Japan's Way of Tea, chado, while the guests were served traditional wagashi. (Japanese confections) which had been brought from Kyoto, and usucha tea. The temae (tea-making) for the usucha for the leading guests was conducted by Gyotei (Konnichian Deputy Tea Master) NARA Sokyu on a low tatami-floored stage which had been specially installed for this event. Makiko conveyed the first bowl of tea to Sheikha Nawar Al Qassimi, and members of the Urasenke Dubai chado circle and group of Urasenke Youth Division (Seinenbu) members who had signed up to come on this trip to the UAE served the majority of the guests.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

Makiko explains about the temae Sheikha Nawar Al Qassimi drinks the tea

On March 3, a large event was held at Zayed University, co-sponsored by Urasenke, Zayed University, and the Japanese Consulate General in Dubai. When Makiko reached the campus, she firstly had a meeting with the university's Vice President, Prof. Reyadh ALMEHAIDEB. The program began at two o'clock in the afternoon, with a welcome speech by Vice President Almehaideb, followed by words of greeting by Consul General Michigami. Then Makiko, before the audience of approximately three hundred students and others not only from Zayed University but also other universities in Dubai and Sharjah, presented a talk, which was followed by a demonstration of a simple tea gathering for which she provided explanations. To lead into her talk about Japan’s chado, or "Way of Tea," she touched upon her impressions of the royal hospitality she experienced when she visited the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2013, the one time she had previously been to a country in the Middle East. When the hour-and-a-half program was over, the audience showed that they were enthralled by it. In the plaza outside the theatre, the attendees could sit and observe ryurei-style temae (tea-making using chairs and tables) while receiving explanations and being served Japanese confections from Kyoto and usucha tea. This hospitality was provided by the Urasenke Dubai chado circle members, with the help of the Urasenke Youth Division members and members of the Abu Dhabi chado school.

Zayed University

Zayed University Vice President Almehaideb Japanese Consul General Michigami

That evening, Makiko hosted a dinner party at the Palace Downtown Dubai, inviting people from the Japanese Consulate General in Dubai, Zayed University, and the Urasenke groups which had been helping with these events, as well as Vice President HIRAI Masaaki of the Japanese Association of Dubai/ North UAE, and Principal OKAMURA Osamu of the Japanese School in Dubai, and his wife.

Makiko gives greeting speech at the dinner party

After one day of free time, the next event was a tea gathering hosted by Consul General Michigami at his official residence the afternoon of March 5. Similar to what she had done at the event in Sharjah, Makiko provided the guests with explanations in English about chado and the temae that was being conducted. The invited guests included President YOSHIKAWA Shigeaki of the Japanese Business Council in Dubai and other members of the Japanese community in Dubai, as well as a number of individuals from the UAE and international community who hold an interest in Japan.

Consul General Michigami welcomes
the guests and introduces Makiko
Makiko provides explanations about
chado and the temae

On March 6, Makiko went to Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, and paid a courtesy call on Ambassador FUJIKI Kanji at the Japanese Embassy. She was accompanied by SEKINE Hideji, Director General of the Urasenke Office of Management, who had come on this trip to the UAE with her from Urasenke Headquarters, Kyoto.

Makiko converses with Ambassador Fujiki

After that, she visited the Ryokusuian tea house located within the Emirates Palace Hotel. The Ryokusuian was gifted to Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed AL NAHYAN of the Emirate of Abudu Dhabi by Makiko's grandfather, Urasenke Daisosho SEN Genshitsu, and had its opening at the Emirates Palace Hotel in December, 2009. The Crown Prince and Daisosho were both present for that grand opening event. Members of the Urasenke Abu Dhabi chado school sometimes have their tea practice sessions here. For Makiko and entourage's visit, the members served local sweets and usucha to them. Makiko enjoyed acquainting herself with these local Urasenke chado followers.

The Emirates Palace Hotel

Placque explaining about
the Ryokusuian tea house
The Ryokusuian tea house Makiko receiving tea
in the Ryokusuian with
Sekine Hideji and Nara Sokyu

Makiko with local Urasenke members
who helped at the Consul General's
event in Dubai
Makiko with Consul General
Michigami and the Urasenke Youth
Division members from Japan
Makiko with members of the
Urasenke Abu Dhabi chado
school, at the Ryokusuian