Author: Kaoru Kuribayashi Stanislaus
Yuki Okamoto is a unique individual who has combined his passion for tea ceremony and flower arrangement with his love for entertainment. He has created a platform for delivering the best spiritual experience through tea and flower artistry. Yuki's family has been running the Hosokawa Onryu Tea School and Hosokawa Mishoryu Ikebana School in Kyoto for 170 years, making him the tenth generation headmaster of the school. The school is unique as it practices tea ceremony and flower arrangement simultaneously.
His journey to becoming a tea and flower artist was not straightforward. He was a soccer enthusiast in his youth and felt that tea and flowers were something that had nothing to do with him. However, he always had a strong underlying desire to make people smile with something that he had created himself. One of the major turning points in his life was when he saw a parade entertaining men and women of all ages at Disneyland. When he entered university, he took a break from soccer and reexamined who he was. He started practicing tea ceremony and flower arrangement seriously and realized that he could recreate the feeling he had at the Disney parade with tea and flowers.
One of the challenges Yuki faces is conveying traditional culture to young people who view traditional culture as a distant world. Yuki breaks down their interests, understands what they want to achieve and what they are looking for, and then tells them what they can do through tea and flowers. He makes suggestions on how to integrate them into their lives. He collaborates with various events such as yoga and DJ events to create the first point of contact and interest. He values the sensations he feels every day and tries not to focus too much on tea and flowers on social media.
Yuki has experience studying abroad in New York. When he held tea parties for local people and students from various countries, he would get blank stares if he did not adequately explain the virtues and values that are taken for granted and held as common knowledge in Japan. He had a hard time successfully expressing these unique Japanese sensibilities.
He has proposed that "the tea ceremony is a spa." In thinking about how to convey a sense of the tea ceremony to foreigners, he came up with the idea that the tea ceremony is like a spa. The tea ceremony is a time to forget the feeling of warmth and comfort that a spa can provide, I realized that the tea ceremony has similar effects on people. By taking the time to slow down, focus on the present moment, and savor the tea, people can experience a sense of calm and rejuvenation. This is especially important in today's fast-paced world where people are constantly on the go and dealing with stress.
This article is created based on an interview to Yuki Okamoto, originally conducted and made into an interview article in April 2021 and translated into English in September 2022.
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