Week 8: Oct. 15 and Oct. 17

NEW: access to PDFs without 2-factor login. Check your e-mail or Canvas Homepage for login details.
Assignment: send in your mini-essay from last week, or bring printed version to class (“How I became the writer I am today”)

Tue. Oct. 15: Tea in Japan

Japan picked up the tea habit from China around the eleventh century, but the Japanese people turned it into their own art of tea. Chanoyu (literally “hot water for tea”) is usually translated as “tea ceremony”. Throughout our excursion into Japanese tea over the next three or four sessions, and with the visit from a tea master on Sunday Oct. 20 (2pm, Miller Forum), you can keep in mind the question if “tea ceremony” is actually the right word. We start with (near) contemporary views on the history of tea in Japan, and will over the next few sessions go back in time, constantly asking “and where did that idea come from?”

  • Video: “The Japanese Tea Ceremony” (Canvas link)
  • Hall, John Whitney. “On the Future History of Tea”. In Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu, edited by Paul Varley and Kumakura Isao, 243-254. Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 1989.
  • McNeil, William H. “The Historical Significance of the Way of Tea.” In Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu, edited by Paul Varley and Kumakura Isao, 255-263. Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai’i Press, 1989.
          • One PDF contains both texts.

Questions to ponder:

  • What does tea mean to Japan, and to visitors of Japan, based on these two texts and the video?
  • How is this different from what we saw in China; and how is it different from what you thought you knew about tea?
  • Annotate both texts by identifying passages that you find interesting, strange or remarkable. Which ideas or sentences stand out to you? Why?

Thu. Oct. 17: How Chanoyu became Japanese

We are peeling back the layers of the history of tea in Japan, and move back to the early twentieth century, when tea first came to symbolize Japan. Okakura’s book was one of the first

  • Okakura, Kakuzō. The Book of Tea. Auckland, N.Z.: Floating Press, 2009. (E-book Trexler library)
          • Read chapters 1 “The Cup of Humanity” and 4 “The Tea Room”
          • Annotate: what is remarkable, strange, interesting?
          • Mini-tutorial on printing from e-books (And always remember the librarians and info-desk can help you, too!)
  • Surak, Kristin. Making Tea, Making Japan : Cultural Nationalism in Practice. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2013. (PDF)
          • (Selection pp. 79-87 from chapter 2: “Creating Tea: The National Transformation of a Cultural Practice”)
          • Look at the structure of the assigned section: how does the author build her argument by shaping the structure and paragraphs of the text?
          • What are the connections between both texts? How does Surak’s explanation help you understand Okakura’s text in a different light?
  • If you have questions (e.g. historical background, obscure references), you can post them on the pad.

Slides (Gdrive)

Sunday Oct. 20: Chanoyu at Muhlenberg

Come to Miller Forum for a 2pm start with Mary Lynn Howard, who is a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the Urasenke tea school. The session will last until 4.30. Bring pen and paper for taking notes and the discussion with fellow students from other disciplines following the presentation.