AYF fellows received an opportunity to attend a lecture about understanding the complexity of the Japanese culture and The Way of Tea (sadō/chadō (茶道) by Peter Hamann, an expert at Japanese Tea Ceremony and Ceramics. He shared his knowledge and experience learning and mastering the Yabunouchi-style tea ceremony. He believes that the tea ceremony is an important underlying aspect of traditional Japanese society and valuable in any society as it reflects an appreciation and respect for objects of quality.

The tea ceremony emphasizes cultural traits, but also provides us with a way to relax while teaching us to appreciate a world of aesthetic beauty and history in an environment removed from the busy world in which we live. It helps us to maintain continuity in the Japanese cultural and artistic heritage.

Japanese tend to be more reserved when sharing their opinions. They might feel uncomfortable about telling their personal views to people whom they are not close with. In most situations, Japanese believe that in many cases, some things are better left unsaid (iwanu ga hana). Another common Japanese expression describes communication for Japanese hear one, understand ten (ichi ieba ju wo shiru). The idea is that if the speaker and listener understand each other, then it’s not necessary to explicitly state everything in words.

Peter Hamann also shared his knowledge regarding the importance of understanding Japanese culture from different perspectives in different situations. He believes that Japanese culture can teach us to give greater priority to the happiness and well-being of all people in society. It can enable us to be more sensitive to other people’s feelings in the way we interact with them and what we say to them.

Peter Hamann was born in 1956 in Basset, Nebraska. He took residency in Sasayama, Japan in 1982, where his passion for Japanese culture led him to study Yabunouchi-style tea ceremony under Master Chikuyuu Fukuda (Zuichikuan). Later in 2010, he obtained his professional license to teach different techniques of ceremonial tea.

Peter also also received a Certificate of Graduation from the Tekisui Museum in Ashiya, Japan in 1988, which was a full-time, two-year course in Ceramics. His works are exhibited in exhibitions and museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Shiga, Japan, and the Exhibition of Traditional Japanese Art Craft as part of a National Show.

He also enjoys making larger pieces, throwing rough shapes on the wheel, and then altering them after the porcelain stiffens. He greatly enough the physical exertion in making these pieces in combination with the extreme detail and sensitivity that is possible only with fine porcelain clay. No matter what type of piece Peter makes, his deepest wish and highest goal is to make pieces that people will enjoy viewing and using as much as he enjoys making them.