Would You Like a Drink of Tea?

The great emptiness in Salzburg

Filming for the drama series, “Anatani-wa Kaeru Ie-ga Aru (You Have a Place to Go Home to),” finally finished and I have been spending some time in Salzburg regaining my daily rhythm.

All the members of the staff were wonderful, including Masanao Takahashi of TBS, who has been offering me compelling proposals for the past two years, Mahoko Takanari, whom I met for the first time in many years, and Director Shunichi Hirano whose masterly direction gave the story its dramatic structure. There was also Hiroshi Tamaki, who gave an unrestrained and comical performance, with exquisitely executed timing, of my hopeless husband, who was a mixture of gentleness and weakness. Meanwhile, Yusuke Santamaria gave a rich and yet acutely sensitive performance of a pitiful, sad, cuckolding husband who was twisted in his domination of women, and Tae Kimura gave a superb and well-controlled performance in acting out the fragility, seductiveness and even the luridness of women. I was blessed with such a dependable cast. In acting the part of a working wife every day, I struggled with the realistic, down-to-earth and tumultuous script written by Satomi Oshima. I strived to cast aside my sense of shame and self-esteem, and free myself of all inhibitions in my effort to act out the capriciousness of my character, Mayumi.

Incidentally, I have been devoting myself to doing nothing all day but mowing the lawn, transplanting vegetation, and planting vegetables and herbs while in Salzburg. The days just speed by, and I am beginning to feel as though I am busier now than I was during filming. As I devote myself to the farm work, covering my head with the hood of a UNIQLO UV-cut parker, and further protecting myself with a wide-brimmed straw hat, I forget that I was playing someone else only the other day, and find myself returning to being just another human being.

While spending my days in such tranquility, I had an exciting experience today. I have been working with Ito En for many years, but they booked an entire Nanagatsu Okabuki show which is currently being performed at Kabukiza Theater, to which their valued fans and clients were invited, and I was assigned the vital role of serving them tea on this celebratory occasion.

I have been drinking Oi Ocha almost all my life, since my teenage years, to the point that I can almost say “I have Oi Ocha, not blood, flowing through my veins.” Ito En has been making sweet and pleasant-tasting matcha tea known as “Gunkaku-no Shiro,” and I served the tea in aka-raku tea bowl and other such bowls made by the 10th Kichizaemon Tan-nyu of the Raku family. This was all made possible thanks to the support of all the people of the Tea Ceremony Club at Ito En. The brief time I was able to spend with the 300 or so customers who came, had tea, and left, is an experience that I shall cherish and etch into my memory.

It may seem as though I am rushed off my feet, but I am once again off to Salzburg, as I pray that it has rained and my Japanese basil seedlings are doing well….

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