Oh, and did I mention they wanted not one but two talks, plus a workshop???!
So the day began with a talk on Japanese tea. Fortunately I'd brought Boyf along as my chauffeur and general dogsbody for the weekend, so while I talked, he brewed cups of finest Japanese tea for the audience to taste. Everyone tried:
- gyokuro - bestest quality tea from the official suppliers to the Imperial family for the last 500 years (I'm good to my audience!!!)
- genmaicha - 'popcorn' tea - green tea with roasted brown rice for a yummy, nutty flavour
- sencha sakura - green tea with cherry blossoms and rose petals in, very sweet and delicious
To my great delight, nobody snook away during lunch, so I was able to give a talk called 'Seeing Dreams' about my adventures, mishaps and experiences in Japan. Usually the majority of this talk is about things like how to take a bath in Japan, which slippers to wear in the loo, and Japanese loos in general. In fact, I should really make a talk solely about Japanese toilets, it's such a vast and fascinating subject! But being a knowledgeable group I altered the talk and gave them a more in-depth look at some of the characters I've met and what I get up to over there. It was great fun, the group was very relaxed and they guffawed in all the right places, which is always a good sign.
As if they weren't Japanned out by then, there was still time (just) for a short workshop on kumihimo braiding. It was a pleasure to watch faces change from 'I can't do this' to 'this is actually quite easy and I'm enjoying it, ooh look, there's a braid coming out the bottom!'
I'm so pleased I was able to entertain the JGS and I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did. Days like that really are precious and it was wonderful to meet such a warm, welcoming group who, though knowledgeable, are open to learning more about different areas of Japanese culture.
Just plotting the next talk I can do for them...something about kimono and toilets, maybe...?