URASENKE FOUNDATION SAN FRANCISCO Chanoyu literally means “hot
water for tea.” This procedure of making and drinking powdered
green tea is s form, definite and regular. It cannot be defined
as to content. That is for each person, each occasion to decide.
While chanoyu may be a solitary activity, more often it is done
within a small group of people In the words of Sen Genshitsu,
fifteenth generation Head Tea Master of the Urasenke Tradition
of Chanoyu, “Strange to say, this tranquility [of sitting
alone] will deepen even further when another person enters the
microcosm of the tearoom and joins the host....That we can find
a lasting tranquility within our own selves in the company of
others is the paradox.”
To make the Way of Tea accessible to all, the Urasenke
Foundation in Kyoto Japan has trained qualified tea instructors
and sent them to teach the Urasenke Tradition of Chanoyu outside
Japan. At present the Foundation maintains direct teaching centers
in twenty major cities throughout the world. In 1981, representatives
Christy Bartlett and Michael Kane , were sent to San Francisco
to establish and direct the Urasenke Foundation San Francisco.
Since that time, the Foundation has energetically
served the Northern California community with wide-ranging programs
for museums, elementary and secondary schools, universities, and
numerous community groups. Programs usually are tailored to the
interests and needs of each particular group. Examples include
slide and/or spoken lectures on chanoyu history, esthetics, philosophy,
and associated arts; hands-on workshops involving the placement
of flowers for tea, the carving of bamboo tea scoops, or the preparation
of tea sweets and kaiseki cuisine; seminars on topics such as
teabowls, guest etiquette, or hosting tea gatherings; and of course
numerous opportunities for active participation as a guest in
authentic tea gatherings. Past sponsors of programs include the
San Francisco Asian Art Museum, the Minneapolis Art Institute,
the Denver Art Museum, the New York Chanoyu Center, UC Berkeley,
Mills College and the Consulate General of Japan. Founding director,
Christy Bartlett also travels throughout the United States providing
similar master classes, lectures, and workshops to Urasenke Associations
in North America.
The core of the Foundation is a rigorous curriculum
structured to serve all those whose hearts incline towards the
Way of Tea. Classes are offered to all students of any age or
experience level who are interested in learning chanoyu, the art
of making tea. Instruction is offered by a dedicated group of
teachers, in both English and Japanese. The student body represents
all ages, multiple backgrounds, and all levels of understanding.
Since chanoyu study may last a lifetime, students
are encouraged to learn at their own pace, and to enjoy the quiet
pleasure of sharing a bowl of tea with others. Please feel free
to make an appointment to visit the San Francisco Urasenke Foundation
during class hours, and to meet teachers and other students.
Within a modern gallery-like environment, the Urasenke
Foundation San Francisco facilities combine East and West, the
traditional and advanced guard, and include one of the few authentic
eight-mat tearooms in the Bay Area. The tearoom was constructed
by master carpenter Imai Makoto, with his American-trained apprentices.
Most of the materials used in its construction are local West
Coast. Located in the heart of North Beach, long the center of
the artistic community in San Francisco, the Urasenke Foundation
strives to contribute to the rich cultural milieu of the city.
More information, listings of current programs and
events may be found on this website. Or to schedule a visit to
the Foundation please call (415) 433-6553.