For ro-biraki, my teacher makes a light meal and we enjoy it together in the tea room. Not only is it an opportunity to eat my teacher’s delicious cooking and share communion with my classmates, but it also lets us practice our kaiseki manners.

I’ve been ill for the past couple weeks, so I couldn’t attend okeiko today. But my teacher and classmates, with a kind thoughtfulness that characterizes the Japanese, brought over to my house part of the meal, still hot. You can see in the picture chirashi sushi (on top includes nori, red ginger, egg, hijiki, salmon shred, and pickles) and shrimp based soup. I felt very touched.