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

Governor Haslam Launches Tennessee Promise At Red Bank High

Governor Bill Haslam was at Red Bank High School on Tuesday to officially launch the Tennessee Promise, a plan to give high school graduates the opportunity to earn a two-year certificate or degree from a state community college or technical college tuition-free.   Cleveland State Community College Sophomore Bryan Hidalgo spoke to RBHS about his experience as a first generation ... (click for more)

Jin In Tells GPS Students They Are A Force For Change

GPS girls were encouraged to see themselves as a powerful force for change on Tuesday during a Lunchtime Learning presentation by Jin In, the founder of 4GGL, a non-profit that partners with community organizations and schools worldwide to train and mentor girls in the poorest countries of the world.  With a vision of “a world where every girl is valued and supported to ... (click for more)

Storm Brings Heavy Rain, Wind Through Area

Severe storms brought heavy rain and wind north of Chattanooga on Wednesday evening. EPB crews were dealing with power outages in Brainerd, Soddy Daisy, Shallowford-Tyner and East Chattanooga. It was a very busy evening for emergency responders in Cleveland and Bradley County. The evening storm that passed through Wednesday brought a lot of heavy rain and wind that caused ... (click for more)

Man Robbed, Stabbed At Hixson Pike Bus Stop

A man was robbed and stabbed at a bus stop on Hixson Pike on Tuesday night. At approximately 9:30 p.m., officers were called concerning a robbery at 3800 Hixson Pike. Phani Tangirala, 22, was transported to a local hospital by HCEMS for treatment of a stab wound to the abdomen. Medical personnel stated that Mr. Tangirala appeared to have a non-life threatening wound to ... (click for more)

Black Creek TIF Decision-Who Guards The Hen House?

Citizens of Chattanooga were invited to give public comment before their own Industrial Development Board Aug. 15. They arrived to find foxes guarding their hen house.  Many thought the meeting was their opportunity to seek redress in the ill-conceived Black Creek Tax Increment Financing plan. However, they learned it was a sham orchestrated by both the past and present ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Coaches Vs. ‘Top 25’ Foes

The long-accepted measuring stick for a college football coach has been his win-loss record, with an after-glance at his win-loss record within his conference. But in Wednesday’s editions of the Wall Street Journal, writer David Everson, with the help of Stats LLC, used a much-tougher litmus test when he revealed the records of 65 major-college coaches against opponents that were ... (click for more)