Shiro Tsujimura is the creator of Japan’s most beautiful tea bowls. I didnt know what I was in for, I didnt know we were going to his house, much less, having lunch prepared by the man himself.
And this became one of the most powerful meals I have in my life.
We sat down and chatted. We were in his house in Nara, this he built from materials in the forest. He said, “the only thing i bought were the glass for the windows.”
There was a fireplace, he boiled water from. When it was time for lunch, he added a grill, and toasted the wagyu, then sliced off the top parts, dipped in a sauce and served our plates.
His wife was preparing food in the kitchen , we could hear the sounds of oils popping on the pan, but so gently.
She brought out food and more food, softly. Gently.
There was always a smile, on their faces, even in the midst of preparing food. We spoke, I have too many questions I need him to address, I didnt have time to listen to the translation on his answers, I fired.
I didnt understand what he said, but i seemed to know and I had to cry.
We ate from the bowls derived from his creative processes. These bowls, when they came out of the kiln, would be placed on the ground in the hills he lived in.
These pieces would receive rain, wind, sun, dust, scattered on the hills.
Letting an act of man ferment in the nature’s elements and allowing nature to nurture man’s work.
He says, “I don’t really like the term of “art”…When other people look at it, it’s art to them, but… To me, it’s part of my life, and everything is the same. If you look at the writing on the wall, I think it is a buddhist thinking, it means literally “not knowing”.
“When the monk asked me what will happen after death, I replied that I don’t know, and I really don’t know. So what will you do when you die? I really don’t know. What I know is I only want to do things that I like during the time when I’m alive. So when you die, whether it’s the end or whether there’s heaven after that, there are religions with answers to that. But actually, it really matters down to what you can do during the time when you are alive. I really like this idea of ignorance is bliss. “
We spoke about beauty, and what this means to him.
“Beauty is a very difficult concept. Dirty things can also be beautiful, for example, when people look at this, they might think it looks dirty, but I think it is beautiful. I think different people have different concepts of beauty, because it depends on each individual. A bowl that can be looked at for hours for its beauty, that’s what I hope to make. Something fascinating is this space inside the bowl, something that exists in the bowl.”
We spoke about perfection or rather, the imperfection of it.
“Perfection is a little different. Perfection is more of a concept by imperialism and China, which depends on a degree of likeness. But for Japan and Korea, the beauty of imperfection is what we aspire to achieve. This might be unique to the Japanese, but this concept of imperfection has always existed in Korean pottery, and the Japanese thought well of it, which is why we brought in the pottery. I’m not sure how the modern Koreans think now, but during that time, they had this concept of imperfection, and they used the bowls for tea drinking. For pottery making, Japanese people have always seek for the beauty of imperfection, and not perfection.
There are also perfect products, but to me, I don’t really like them.”
And what is important in life?
“The important thing, is to do something that you like. It is not listening to someone, but continuing to believe in what you want to do. Of course, I would like to make something that people would like to use. It is not so much of a message, but I would like people to enjoy using the bowl, with the same feelings that I have.”
He was into painting, but a temple stay changed his path completely.
“I was at the temple for the purpose of meditating. About 3 years. I was meditating, and they had this kind of bowl which they ate with, such as ramen. The monk commented that meditation is similar to the process of bowl-making. I then began to have interest in making the bowl, and it slowly developed into my interest in pottery. The process of bowl-making is similar to meditation, with your thoughts free.
Spiritually, they are similar. Whether mediation or making a bowl or two, it takes the same spirit and mind to do it.”
The bowl is a representation of space and the mind, and I find the tea bowl very interesting. Till Now, I m still making them. It’s not really the art form, but a form of lifestyle. I want to continue making tea bowls.
When you finished making a bowl, you start to think of making a better one, so you end up with making thousands of them. So it is actually wanting to make a bowl at a time, and then making another, and another…
For him, the most enjoyable time… is forming the shape at the potter’s wheel…
He says, “The difficult part about Japanese pottery is, if you get better in your skills, your product will become boring. So you do not try to perfect your skills, but try to create what you want. I think this is difficult, because it is not something that you can work hard for.
You cannot neglect your own feeling and just focus on making a perfect product. Following your feelings, your skills will also improve.”
The advice is awesome for anyone into craft and creation.
He has about 7 little workshops on his little hill stead. Each is devoted to a different art form.
His son followed his path, remarkably, without being “taught” by the man himself.
According to Kai Tsujimura, “My dad is not the type to teach a certain thing. Of course I started making pottery because of my dad’s great influence but all along, the pieces were used normally at home…So when we had our meals, we used these bowls and those plates as per normal…My father’s pottery pieces were in our actual lives.. If not for that, I don’t think i would have started making pottery. “
And when I asked the elder Tsujimura, he said, “the most important thing i have taught my son? No I haven’t. If there is one thing, that is to just “make it”. Make as many as necessary. It is not necessary to think of other matters. If there is something that he wants to make, just make it.”
Has it been one year already?
The 2016 goodbye post seemed so far, far away. And with a new year coming in less than 24 hours, I feel unprepared for it.
Maybe because I have not written about my 2017.
If 2016 has been a taste or teaching of alignment, grounding, life purpose, 2017 was a step further in these lessons, as situations , people, things, threw me in all directions and tested my resolve and my footing in each of the above.
I didn’t think I faltered even if there were challenging times.
I am still me.
In the new 2018 that has just birthed, I would like to:
May the universe and my guardian angels support me, guide me, bless me, be with me always.
May the new beginning bring forth lots of light and clarity. Let there be true vision, stability, strength. May you find the quiet, peacefulness and freedom you need and may you find beauty, wonder and magic in the moments in between.
I saw this first as a thought, like a seed of sorts. Then with some imagination, little expectation, I made contact. And today, he’s become a Friend of Michelin, the first ever in history since the guide has come into being. Sharing this dream project with all of you foodies. And I say again, that this magic food can do, has to be savoured with loved ones. They make good food, unforgettable. And when the act of eating becomes an experience, they will forever be stored as memories. 謝霆鋒《鋒味》 ＃FriendofMichelin #米芝蓮之友 ＃MichelinGuideHongKongMacau2017 #yenmuzremember
Was on my way to work n passed by a patch of green.
There were little sparrows, the road was busy with activity but I still heard them chirp.
It was beautiful because there was awareness in that moment.
Without awareness I wouldn’t b in that moment to capture that truth that happened.
I remember being very stretched one day stepping out of the office n I saw a bird drink from a pool of water.
I remember telling teacher about how I would b especially attracted to a bird even if I was walking on the pavement.
Teacher’s reply- birds stand for freedom n taking flight.
I heard this voice again this morning. With awareness, I also heard an inner voice say,
“If you don’t stop yourself, no one else can stop you from flying. The sky’s the limit–so, fly. Be fearless. Fly off.”
I hadn’t watched tv for a long time. But At this point in time, I was particularly drawn to a Taiwanese drama. It speaks of the love a man has for a woman. That ran so so deep, he gave her up So she could b free.
I could concur with that feeling because I had bf ‘s blessings to go do what I like.
That was why I felt so moved n attracted.
As I was walking on the pavement again, I saw leaves falling.
He was genuinely happy talking about an autumn in childhood. When he was walking and the brown orangey leaves rustled under his feet. I could hear the sound as he spoke.
That’s the beauty of an interview. You travel and wonder . And I m sure I will b reminded of this another time I tread on fallen autumnal leaves.
It is all the more wonderful when I remember how this all began–it is food that took me travelling.
June 9 is an important day in my life.
Almost like a rebirth. I guess no one would tie themselves up with a profession so much but i did. Unwittingly, my profession has become me.
I stepped out of the office n is greeted by the evening golden hue, so gentle and therapeutic.
Then I saw birds swoop n fly, chirpy happy n carefree.
I thought I saw my cells dancing with joy.
My shoulders lighten.
Submitted my letter of resignation on this day.
I joined in 2002, July.
Close to 14 years here.
It was so difficult to hand in the letter.
SPH gave me so much.
Especially when I had none or was lost.
It was my backbone my support my escape.
There was a lot of emotion in here.
I felt my pulse race. Shaky, seated on my desk.
And I prayed and asked for support, felt better and more stable then went straight to my boss. It turned out much much better than I had imagined. Everything was peaceful and cordial and in harmony.
I never expected it would turn out this peaceful.
And I m very thankful for that. Super thankful.
I walked out feeling lighter n happier.
I walk out feeling a bit unsteady as well. Now without an anchor.
It made me realize how much I was hanging on to this place.
Or how much it meant to me.
Now without it, I m unsure uncertain and a bit directionless.
I do not know what lies ahead. And I quit having these feelings, not having signed up at another place yet.
And I think I give credit to myself for that.
For taking this step.
I know that I can handle the front.
It is so difficult for me not only because of all that I have here. It is difficult for me because I’m making this decision for myself.
When I came in, I was a little girl fresh out of school not knowing what to expect, lured by the wonderful terms n remuneration.
Now it is difficult because I want to make this decision for myself and to take charge of my life.
I steer my life now and is not to be limited like before.
There is bigger space and a lot of it.
And how to do this?
I don’t know.
But the fact is I want to do it. It is this commitment that is not easy.
If I were to stay, I would continue to have an anchor n rest in the support. I would not go anywhere very far because I would be in the system n I can happily rest being in the care of someone else who will direct n decide how far I go.
But now, it’s boundless!
The sheer feeling of the unbounded space is so wonderful so healing.
I m happy !
And I pray that I receive support and healing, blessings and lots of it in the days ahead.
I know this is going to be about letting go of past, habits, thoughts, patterns, memories. The days ahead will be about creation, charting new grounds and fulfilling TPY.
Most of all, I know I can, be the best of me, high definition and go where I want to be.
“When faced with a choice… do you choose taking hard action or to make the easy excuse?”
It can seem so much “nicer” to avoid the difficult actions.
Does it really assist you in achieving your goals?
Are you here on the planet to actually DO something?
Is each decision or action moving you forward?
I am choosing to use the blends of the FEELINGS COLLECTION to support me in “taking a closer look” this week . . .
Most of you know that I often use them. However, we may have new people who are not familiar with them.
The six essential oil blends in the Feelings™ Collection were formulated by D. Gary Young to promote emotional clearance and self renewal. Collection includes:
Inspired by D. Gary Young’s life experiences, the Feelings Collection lifts negative impressions and allows openness to new beginnings.
Everyone has experienced lasting adverse impressions that scar our inner self, prohibiting self growth and accomplishment. Following the Feelings regimen, one can begin the path of self identification by aligning emotions.
“Negative experiences and ideas are recorded in our brains and locked into our memories throughout our lives. These memories range from mild to extreme and have a profound effect on our health and happiness. In order to become who we are intended to be, we must erase these negatives and reprogram our thoughts to make positive ideas our reality.”
—D. Gary Young
After layering these oils, you may choose to add some additional blends, such as . . . LIGHT THE FIRE, HIGHEST POTENTIAL, 3 WISE MEN, CLARITY, TRANSFORMATION, or WHITE ANGELICA . . . Perhaps it is good to try different ones to see which combination is most meaningful for you.
Its amazing how answers show up in our lives. Especially these few days.
The headache was horrible. I have been having it since i seriously contemplated the switch.
It was difficult for me.
Its about growing up and choosing the path— to grow up.
Because I didnt really want to grow up!
I want to be in the care of people. I didnt want to take charge of myself!
I didnt want to be in charge!
But in the new position, I will be in charge!!!!!!!
In charge of other people, thats not too difficult, or at least that isn’t the most difficult part to me.
The most difficult part is to be committed to being in charge of myself.
My health, my mental growth and simply being responsible for myself.
I ducked in under this pressure—that caused the headache and fog in my mind.
I chose to back away from responsibility, like how my dad once has.
I chose to escape.
I didnt know what to do, I feel like an orphaned child, or a life buoy in the sea.
But with this awareness I can change things.
I acknowledge the feeling and the act of escaping that I have done.
I acknowledge that this could be a learned way of behaviour, most probably impacted on me by my father who has escaped and left us before because that was the only way he knew.
I did it now.
But with this awareness, I tell myself too, that there can be good things about being an orphan, there can be good things about being a buoy in the boundless ocean.
Start small TPY.
Bit by bit in the right direction.
What would you like to do?
I like to continue to write with my heart, to transmit the good thoughts and meanings chefs and others have found in their lives.
At this stage in time, its about chefs and their food, I’ll put my energy into transmitting and sharing all these good energies that will enrich people’s lives outwards, like light.
To inspire to give warmth and light, and maybe initiate a change.
The end is not in sight on this path.
Its boundless what I can do with this heart.
It will be about fulfilling my true potential.
I remember I had this very strong feeling about choosing this new path. I knew it will be one with a lot to learn and be inspired with, it will be full of energies and ideas and thoughts and wisdom. I just know.
And I know that being on this path with open me up further, deepen my knowledge and wisdom and depth as a person. I know in all these undertakings, I will be healed naturally and organically not only in the physical sense but also spiritually.
Then while used the FIR sauna, i watched a video on Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche going into retreat.
And yes, going to this new place is exactly me going into retreat in a bigger sense, it will be about learning what matters and how to be a better me.
It will be about healing and nourishing myself.
Like a butterfly out of the cocoon I will be. In time.
Then i read Frances ’s mail.
Everything was so apt.
I answered those questions and I knew that choosing this new path will be about moving myself forward.
It will be about breakthroughs that I m planned for.
I just need to put my feet forward and to walk each step grounded.
Reading my note right from the beginning made me realise, it was my fear and worry or anxiety about not having an anchor that gave me headaches!!!
Its about me not acknowledging myself enough, not believing myself enough.
Always looking elsewhere for support.
So this new path is about me validating myself.
GO TPY GO.