June 27: Tea ceremony

We left home about 10 a.m. in the morning to go to downtown Phoenix. There are tall buildings on both sides of the large palm tree-lined street. The road was not crowded because of Saturday morning.
There is a small Tea Room in the corner of the park. This building and surrounding Japanese garden were presented two years ago from Himeji city Japan in commemoration of 20th anniversary of sister city. They are raising money to construct a larger scale Japanese garden containing several tea rooms and Japanese traditional buildings.
White sox is provided to enter the tea room. On the back of the sox is nonslip print.
The ceremony is based upon Urasenke's stand style. A Japanese lady who lives in Arizona teaches tea ceremony on volunteer basis in kimono costume. A male student wearing kimono on jeans pants prepares tea for the guests. He puts Fukusa(a small silk cloth used in the tea ceremony to set utensils on or to wipe them) between the obi. A lady on the left explains the ceremony in English.
Now we are served with tea. We are just open guests.
Mr. Don give lecture once a month on volunteer basis about the tea ceremony. He first explains how to enter the tea room then the guests are served with tea. Today, three high school students who go to Himeji city for two weeks this summer, and a mother of one of them attended the ceremony. We are open guests. After the ceremony. Mr. Don explains about Japanese garden.
There is a stone basin in the garden. The ground is covered with low grass in stead of moss which can't last three days because of extremely dry weather. Japanese trees like pine, bamboo grass, and ume were transplanted from Himeji. In coming Bon season, three students of today will visit Himeji and several hich school students will come here in exchange. Mr. Don will take them to Grand Canyon as usual. Like those grass-root basis volunteer activity will help understand mutual culture. It is a great effort, indeed.

Visit to a retired couple.

In the afternoon, we visited Mr. Don's teacher of Japanese language. The house is located on a desret hill about 15 miles west of Scottsdale. As the altitude is about 2500 ft., the temperature is 405 degrees lower than Mr. Don's home town. This is a village in which retired people live. The gate is opened upon calling the destination house. This is a typical row house.
Mr. Don's teacher is a Japanese lady of 68 years old. She moved to the US when she was 50 and hag been living here for two years with her husband. They live in a four-row house. There are a spacious living room, a bedroom, kitchen, and a guest room. This is a view from the kitchen. The entrance is decorated with plant boxes.
We went out to take a walk around the house. Her husband explained about the neighbourhood. The temperature is 100 F, or 38 C.
The vilage has a runway of the small plane. On the left is a parking house of private plane. Most of them are owned ex-pilots. The reddish color of the house and fence is under strict regulation (called Santa Fe standard) to match the landscape of the desert. There are some opening on the fence for pass way of koyote. Scorpions can be often found in the house. People pick them up by chopsticks and throw away.
On the left is a skeleton of Sugaro cactus. It looks just like the same as wood. The skeleton contains many small holes in which water is stocked. On the right is a skeleton of Okoteiro cactus. They enjoy a wonderful life by decorating such ornament like this, Japanese lacquer ware, Noh mask, and Japanese calligraphy. His major was electric engineering. He uses two personal computers in his library. His wife enjoys patch works she had learned in America. They say they love the mountains and sunset of Arizona desert. I could again become acquainted with wonderful people.

As we had been out, Don's mother cooked dinner for us. We enjoyed delicious diner all together. I partly help cooking, walking around, and swimming in the pool. I am really relaxed thanks to Don's family. Today's menu is grilled salmon with butter, sweet corn, potato, broiled broccoli, and vegetable salad which is one of the favorites of Mr. Don, a vegetarian. Seasoned rice was also served, it was a part of their wedding party's menu.

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