03 What is the future Sencha needed for women living in the present age? | Michiho Iga, President of MY SENCHA SALON
A quiet place where you can forget about the hustle and bustle of the city, along a deep alley about 5 minutes on foot from the intersection of Omotesando. The building where the candy entangles in the milky white wall that appears in such a place is "MY SENCHA SALON" where a lesson of sencha is performed on the table. This time, Michiho Iga, who presides over “MY SENCHA SALON”, interviewed. Iga's father is the home of Sencha. In the Sencha way where young people feel the height of the threshold, what kind of woman is Iga san who presides a popular salon for women in their 20s and 40s, how to reach table Sencha, from now on I have heard such a story about what she wants to do.
Michiho Iga / MY SENCHA SALON
As a daughter of the third generation of Sankitei Baisa School of Sencha Tea Ceremony Foundation, she has been familiar with Sencha-do from an early age. She graduated from Tokyo Women's University in 2007.
Currently, she is active mainly in Tokyo and Hiroshima as promoting a Sansutei tea ceremony. In the spring of 2016, the salon “MY SENCHA SALON OMOTESANDO” was opened to introduce the points of the Sencha ceremony at Table. I preside over private lessons. In addition, we are developing Japanese sweets and collaborative lessons with a kimono salon, producing original teaware “MY CHAKI”, and catering service “Catering Sencha by Sanki” where you can enjoy Japanese sweets and sencha in a buffet.
The school is striving to disseminate the world-famous “culture of reception” based on the “sencha ceremony that anyone can do anytime, anywhere” that is important to the school.
What is Sencha-do Santen-tei
Around 1890 a young man started on a trip throughout the country to become the man of letters. At the end of is long journey finally he found the words of Baisa-O by chance, and sympathized with "The words of Baisa-O". I wonder he knew or not that Baisa-O also had hard-traveled in his young days. It is said a man might understand the world through his own experience. Since then he improved the way of Sencha tea ceremony that he had followed the example of his father, and started to spread it as Baisa-Ryu.As the truth that he gained by his efforts－for his first step following his father's and grand father's.
For 100 years, there are so many helps －various tea ceremony parties or enthusiastic flower exhibitions－ of people who sympathized his idea until we were authorized as a foundation. Because of their cooperation we shared joy and pleasure, respected ,and all united. "After completion, Sench tea ceremony would be organizes as a form of arts. But the most important thing is not the system as result but our life－whether we can live our lives truly by making use of Sencha tea ceremony or not. I think the process to try it is important."
This is the speech when I succeeded to the Master and I have advocated since then. For 20 years the head and branch offices have kept studying to reach for the spirit of Sencha tea ceremony by constant and steady practices. There must be some difficulties, but we are contented with joy and believe that dreams come true.
- What do you usually do at MY SENCHA SALON, where you are presided over?
Every day, Sencha lessons are held for individuals. The students are mainly women in their 20s and 40s, and everyone visits my social network. Recently, the number of collaboration projects with companies has increased, including participation in JICA training programs. Each lesson is mainly about space decoration, such as how to decorate Japanese sweets, bowls and flowers according to the season, students' preferences and the atmosphere of the students. This is basically done in this place, but sometimes it is done on a business trip. My school has the image of incorporating it into everyday life. It's not like a bride training or manner. The most important thing is to enjoy the space itself, so you have to work on decorations that vary depending on the person and the situation.
(JICA's training program)
- What do students think about taking lessons under Iga?
People who want to try a tea ceremony but think it seems difficult are often attracted to the concept of Sencha to enjoy at the table. There seems to be many people who think that the tea ceremony on the tatami mats is difficult to reach because of the high threshold. It seems that you can think. I want to be able to do more easily! It ’s a lesson that I started thinking about, so I ’m so happy to be there.
- Born to your Iemoto of the school, how did you started the tea?
I learned from my maternal grandmother, not from my father. Many of the tools I have now have been inherited from my grandmother. Is it first when you were in elementary school? I helped the teachers at the New Year's tea party. I really wish I could have continued, but my grandmother was very strict. So at that time, I couldn't feel much fun in Sencha. I was born in Hiroshima, but junior high school entered a dormitory at a school in Fukuoka, so I no longer practice from junior high school. I was angry by my grandmother every time I returned to my parents' home. Even if you practice after a long time, you forget it.
- So, from the time you got confused, did you decide to work in tea in the future?
In fact, Sencha-do was not an option. My father was my father, but I wasn't the owner of the idea that I had to succeed, and my sister and brother weren't told anything. My mother is a jewelry designer and I was born in a free family, so I wanted to find a job at a general company after I graduated from university. In the middle and high school era, I was really admired overseas and allowed me to study abroad, and at university I majored in the Department of Languages and Cultures to learn about the mechanisms of English and Japanese languages and their relationship with society. Actually, when I was a student, I was reluctant to tell that the family business was a school of Sencha. Isn't it easy to explain to friends? I thought it would be difficult to understand correctly even if I talked at home. At that time, you do n’t want to be different from everyone, you don’t like things that change, or you do n’t want to get that much attention. I feel that it was a relatively modest character. For that reason, when I was in college, I didn't use Sencha, and I thought I had spent my part-time job exclusively. I was still a student, such as a dental assistant, a company that dispatched private tutors, and a telecommunications company, but it was fun and fun to work. In fact, if you want to work happily after graduation, it may be natural for you to go on to a job at a company.
- How did you return to the Sencha world after graduating from university?
At first, I joined a major cosmetics company and worked as a lecturer for about two and a half years to teach sales staff whenever new products came out. After that, I moved to a government-related company and worked for about four and a half years. My turning point was during the Great East Japan Earthquake. At that time, I was contacted to come back from my parents' home in Hiroshima and returned to Hiroshima. Just when my father's secretary quit, he came home and helped him with his work. It was just right for me, so I decided to quit the company and return to Hiroshima. That is the timing of returning to the Sencha world. There may be few now, but I think there are people who have a negative image of changing jobs. However, because I was able to experience various jobs, I was better suited to work at my own discretion, and I felt that it was overwhelmingly fun.
- Then you started to help your father's work?
That's correct. At first it was clerical work, but my experience in financial work, such as accounting and interaction with external institutions, was helpful. After that, I supported my family and prepared for a tea party.
- After that, you moved to Tokyo and opened your own salon. What was it like?
When I was in Hiroshima, there was a time when I was studying about Sencha-do. Then I realized that no matter where I looked, it wasn't publicized much. If no one was doing it, I started to do it first, and people who helped appeared more and more. I have also been active in myself, and since then I have come to be blessed with nature and timing and relationships and connections with various people. A friend who worked for a PR company at that time invited me to take a sencha experience at a children's event, and challenged me, my brother, and the teachers of the Kanto branch. The children enjoyed the tea ceremony innocently and the parents who watched it enjoyed it. The event triggered me to get voices from various places. It's a lot of fun to convey the charm of Sencha from various viewpoints in a way that no one has yet done.
- What kind of things do you want to challenge in order to deliver the appeal of Sencha to various people, mainly women in their 20s and 40s who are attending “MY SENCHA SALON” in the future?
I think that future learning will not end with just learning. Even was not the person's business, that it is I think that defect so that we create even a little a place to be active even a little, actively or open a tea party of the student organizers, now I together I would like to make more and more places where my students can show off , such as leaving my students to my students . I would like to create more places for such lessons of Sencha.
Interviewer: Yuki Kitamura, Kaoru Kuribayashi Stanislaus
Place: MY SENCHA SALON OMOTESANDO