SEN Genshitsu in Slovenia ̶ Inauguration of Tankokai Slovenia Association

Urasenke Daisosho Dr. Genshitsu SEN visited the city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, June 25-27, 2016, to attend the inaugural events of the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Slovenia Association. The events took place as the nation commemorated its 25th anniversary of independence, and they were aimed to encourage friendship and exchange between Japan and Slovenia on this occasion.

The day of his arrival, which coincidentally was Slovenia's "Statehood Day," Dr. Sen called on Japanese Ambassador Keiji FUKUDA and Mrs. Fukuda at their official residence, to offer his greetings and thanks.

From 10:00 A.M. on June 26, a public program co-hosted by Urasenke, the Tankokai Slovenia Association, and the Embassy of Japan in Slovenia, was held at the Grand Hotel Union’s Grand Union Hall. The program attracted an audience of over three hundred people. To begin, Ambassador Fukuda gave an opening speech, and, representing the Slovenian side, the nation’s former president, Dr. Danilo TURK, gave a speech.

H.E. Keiji FUKUDA H.E. Danilo TURK

The first part of the program consisted in a kencha-shiki "tea dedication ceremony" by Dr. Sen in prayer for peace, followed by a wago-no-chakai gathering of representative guests on the stage, to share koicha (tea of relatively thick consistency) prepared by Dr. Sen as a symbolic way of together partaking in the dedicated tea. The representative guests were Dr. Danilo TURK and his wife; Ambassador Fukuda; Director Akira KIMURA of Toyota Adria; Director General Stanislav RASCAN of the Directorate for Economic Diplomacy at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and his wife; Director Bojana Rogelj SKAFAR of the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, who has become the President of the new Tankokai Slovenia Association; the painter Noriaki SANGAWA, who lives and works in Ljubljana; and the Tankokai Slovenia Association’s advisor and chado instructor, Yumiko MURAKAMI.

Tea dedication wago-no-chakai

At the wago-no-chakai, Mrs. Turk passes the tea bowl to Ambassador Fukuda

In the next part of the program, Dr. Sen presented a talk about chado and its power to bring peace to the hearts and lives of people, and then there was a demonstration of a simple chanoyu get-together, in which the host and guest roles were played by members of the new Tankokai Slovenia Association.

Dr. Sen presents a talk about chado. (Further right, in the white jacket, is his interpreter.)

Scenes during the chanoyu demonstration

Both before and after the program, Tankokai Slovenia Association members served traditional Japanese confections and usucha (tea of relatively thin consistency) to the attendees who stopped by at the "tea tasting" corner arranged in the rear of the Grand Union Hall. When Ambassador Fukuda, Dr. Turk and his wife, and others who had participated in the wago-no-chakai came for this after the program, Dr. Sen personally sat at the Misonodana tea-making table unit which was arranged there, and prepared their usucha.

Scene at the "tea tasting" corner

The Tankokai Slovenia Association members who helped at the "tea tasting" corner take a commemorative photo with Dr. Sen

The inauguration ceremony for the Tankokai Slovenia Association was held in the Grand Hotel Union's Glass Hall from noon, and a luncheon celebration party immediately followed. At the ceremony, Dr. Bojana Rogelj SKAFAR received the association’s certification plaque from Dr. Sen, and also the certificates of entrustment for the officers. Dr. Danilo TURK was named Honorary President of the association, and Ambassador Keiji FUKUDA was named Honorary Advisor. Also, Paula BRAGA SIMENC, the association's Chief of Administration, received her chamei (name as a dedicated chado practitioner, bestowed by the grand master).

Director Bojana Rogelj SKAFAR of the Slovene Ethnographic Museum,
as President of the new Tankokai Slovenia Association,
receives the association's certification plaque from Dr. Sen.

H.E. Danilo TURK receives certificate from Dr. Sen
entrusting him with title of Honorary President
of the Tankokai Slovenia Association
H.E. Keiji FUKUDA receives certificate from Dr. Sen
entrusting him with title of Honorary Advisor
of the Tankokai Slovenia Association

President Mitja BERVAR of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, who, together with his wife, was a special guest at this event, gave a congratulatory speech and proposed the toast which began the luncheon.
National Council President Mitja BERVAR gives congratulatory speech

Festive mood at the celebration party

The next day, June 27, Dr. Sen went with Ambassador Fukuda to the Parliament Building and met President Milan BRGLEZ of the National Assembly and the previous day’s luncheon guest, President Mitja BERVAR of the National Council. At the meeting, Dr. Sen prepared usucha for them, and afterwards they both tried their hands at whisking usucha. Dr. Sen partook of the serving prepared by President Brglez, and Ambassador Fukuda partook of that prepared by President Bervar.

Parliament Building entrance

Dr. Sen greets President Milan BRGLEZ of the National Assembly
and President Mitja BERVAR of the National Council