Just over a year ago (October, 2006) I spent 3 weeks in Japan——an amazing experience I will never forget. The Japanese are so incredibly hospitable, and I love their pervasive sense of peace, balance, and harmony: “never disturb the harmony.”
While in Arao, at the craft museum, I had the opportunity to make a mug from the Shotai clay. The process, while not very difficult, required patience and a good sensei. We were to make the mug, which would be fired and then shipped back to the USA. The whole firing and shipping process would take about 2 months after we left. I sincerely thought I would not be able to successfully make a mug, let alone have it shipped back to the my home without breaking.
However, in early December a package arrived from Japan: my mug! It turned out beautifully. I have it my in office to remind me of the good people in Japan. While making it, on the bottom, with a great deal of help, I carved my name in Japanese. I attached to it a rice paper sticker I received from my very gracious host family, Saburo Sakai-sans’ family, in Arao, at the tea ceremony that followed the making of the mug. The sentiment expressed: a cherished once-in-a-lifetime experience.