Not easy to manage such an event I can tell you! Ownership - a feature which became a line and a rule of thumb in the doctrine for clever management in most of the western world, has subtle deformations when it comes to the streets of the Paris of the East.
But in the end there was an overfilled room, a charming public, freshly fed with bits and nibs of super salty Korean junk passing for Japanese junk, wine provided by the friendly staff of Carturesti Verona and of course fresh high quality matcha and sweets provided by another friendly staff - the young and timid ladies from Urasenke Tankokai Romania - Luminis, dressed in beautiful kimonos and trying to act as hostesses accommodating the public which now was trying to find a comfortable position on the crammed chairs and pillows, readying themselves to grasp the meaning of Chanoyū - something which I knew it won't come easy to them.
The Partitas of Bach quietly playing in the background, accompanied by the dream like murmuring of Glenn Gould, dimmed lights, incense burning - all was set for the book launching to begin. And it did!
I asked the panel and the moderator before hand: "please, this is about tea, the book tries to be a humble servant of this magic ritual the meaning of which we try to dream about this evening! please focus on this!"
But from the goodness of their heart, things turned out a bit differently. The cult of personality seems a better entry door to the soul of the audience. And here I was, the "hero" of the evening, trying to change seats and refocus everyone on the real hero: Chanoyū - the ritual of preparing and serving tea to your fellow man.
During the long nights of December, snowflakes left outside in the cold of the night, reading the book on a comfortable sofa late after work, sipping perhaps a porto, maybe in a train going nowhere, maybe alone in a mall waiting for the others to finish the shopping, the reader will discover the meaning of some of the ideas which during the discussions about the book came across quite different from the day to day way of perceiving things and of perceiving ourselves.
Meeting Chanoyū is a challenge. I could see this clearly in the curious eyes of the warm people in the audience.
A brief demonstration of what a chakai is all about and here we were - introducing the book to the audience. Quickly the ice melted, people got involved and daring. Nothing could have been better than that.
The books left me and went away with their new owners. With some of them they will become friends. I do hope so. Thanks to the publishing house Paideia and to the event hosts - Carturesti - Verona, we made another small step in bringing awareness to a powerful culture about another powerful culture. I hope the reader will discover how many incredible things are common to both.
|The Venue - Carturesti Bookshop|
|Friend and Personality Andrei Oisteanu talks about the fortunate ones|
|Matei Georgescu and here Camelia Botezatu - director of the Paideia Publishing House kindly introduce the book to the public|
|Here left alone to handle the rest|
|Which we did - helped by my colleagues we offer a cup of tea|
|And now it is up to the public and myself to travel together on the Way of Tea|
|And it takes convincing|
|And more convincing|
|And the connection is made - the bridge connects now the two worlds|
|And all ends well when it ends well - Book signing|