Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yamanoue Sōji (1544-90) a tea master and an important chronicler of tea history of his time, once made a remark about a fellow tea practitioner Tsuji Gensai: “Tsuji is not sharp-eyed, and very poor at chanoyu. Even if he becomes the pupil of a great master, a man without sakui remains inept.” Sakui can be translated as ‘creative mind’. I could really identify with this sentiment in my last bonsai class when I asked the teacher: “How can I improve the nebari of this tree?” and before the teacher could say anything his assistant asked: “What’s wrong with this nebari?” I was glad that the teacher just ignored his question and proceeded to tell me what can be done.