Asia Conference At UTC Covers Economics, Tea Ceremony

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Motohiko Kato
Motohiko Kato

Consul-General Motohiko Kato kicked off the Sixth Annual Introduction to Asia Conference at UTC on Tuesday.  Mr. Kato works to assist Japanese companies in the Volunteer state.  He also promotes cultural understanding between the United States and his home country.

During his address “Security through Peace: Postwar Japan’s Role in Fostering Global Peace and Prosperity,” Mr. Kato, who is based in Nashville, explained Japan’s 172 companies employ more than 41,000 people in Tennessee.

For those considering a career in engineering, Mr. Kato had a keen observation.  “It’s getting harder and harder to find engineers. If you visit Japanese facilities, you will see the big robots working. And you need engineers to fix those,” he said.

After a day of informative speakers at the Asia Conference, the crowd at the UC Auditorium enjoyed learning about a traditional tea ceremony in Japan.  Asami Nakano and Tae Maruyama worked together to prepare and serve three guests on stage. 

Ms. Nakano is the UTC Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator. She visits Chattanooga area schools to promote the art and culture of her native country.  Ms. Murayama has been performing the Japanese tea ceremony since she was 10 years old. She became an instructor of the ceremony in 1992 and a master in 2006.

Tea drinking ceremonies date back to the 16th century in Japan.  Historically, the host of a traditional tea ceremony was male, but in modern times more women carry out the duties of host. 

A tea scoop and a whisk fashioned from bamboo are used to prepare the tea, while a silk cloth is used to handle the hot tea pot and clean utensils.  No music is played during the ceremony, natural sounds are preferred.

Ms. Nakano explained in the room where the ceremony occurs, guests crawl through an opening so that no person stands higher than another, all are equal.  Hands are washed in the tea garden before beginning.

There are four principles of the tea ceremony:

?(wa)- harmony—Nakano explained a guest should “open your mind and get along with the host and other guests.”

?(kei)- respect—this includes thanking the host for making the tea and acknowledging the guest at your side.

?(sei)- purity—not only should you wash your hands, you should wash your mind and use this opportunity to slow down and refresh as you enjoy the presence of friends.

?(jyaku)- tranquility—the tea ceremony is helpful in achieving a stable and well balanced life.

One of the guests at the UTC tea ceremony enjoyed learning this ancient practice.  Bengt Carlson, Experiential Learning coordinator, confirmed that the green tea served was “pleasant to drink.

Tae Maruyama and Asami Nakano during a traditional tea ceremony in Japan
Tae Maruyama and Asami Nakano during a traditional tea ceremony in Japan

State Releases 2014 District-Level TCAP Results

The Tennessee Department of Education on Wednesday released district-level results from the 2014 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, which show strong gains in high school, and relatively constant scores in elementary and middle school. As seen in state results, districts did well in high school in most subject areas. Statewide, growth in 3-8 reading dropped slightly ... (click for more)

Women Entrepreneur Symposium To Be Held Tuesday

The WE women entrepreneur symposium (formerly named Women At The Top Symposium or W.A.T.T.S) will be held on Tuesday, August 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Stratton Hall. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, Honorary WE Chairperson, invites all women entrepreneurs to a symposium featuring Sloane Scott, a.k.a. the “Digital Diva” of FLO Thinkery, as the keynote speaker, ... (click for more)

County Commission Chairmanship Up For Grabs After Exit Of Henry, Skillern

The chairmanship of the County Commission is up for grabs after the exit of two commissioners who have held the post in recent years. Larry Henry is moving on to serve as Circuit Court clerk. Fred Skillern was upset by Randy Fairbanks in the Republican primary. Most of the returning commissioners have their eye on the possibility of taking over as chairman, or at least getting ... (click for more)

PAST Act On Horse Abuse Stalls Out In U.S. House Despite 70% Support

Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY-01), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, issued the following statement today regarding the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, H.R. 1518:   “I regret to inform you that Speaker of the House, John Boehner, currently refuses  to bring the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to the floor for a vote.  His decision ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mark’s 50th Anniversary Toast

In the new book that celebrates the first 50 years of baseball’s Southern League, its splendid author Mark McCarter recalls that very early in his career as a sports writer, he was riding with his boss somewhere and mentioned that if the legendary Allan Morris ever needed help covering the Chattanooga Lookouts that he’d love to help. Today, as he looks back, he ruefully adds, “I ... (click for more)