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Friday, March 23, 2007


Sniff incense, reduce stress

And you thought tea ceremony, at around 10 years, took a long time to master?

News photo
Kodo practitioner Eriyo Watanabe surveys her implements.

How about the meditative ritual that is the art of kodo (Japanese incense ceremony), whose subtleties take a whopping 20-30 years to get the hang of?

Someone who definitely knows the ins and outs of kodo is Eriyo Watanabe. The founder of the Center for Arts and Wellness in Tokyo (in 2003), Watanabe is inviting the stressed-out and the curious who would like an introduction to this ancient tradition of "listening" to smells to attend two sessions on March 24 and April 24 (4,000 yen each, both 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).

The sessions, which include an incense ceremony and lecture conducted by Watanabe, take place in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. They are intended to encourage relaxation and reduce stress in attendees and will be conducted in English.

The same center is also organizing incense ceremony and calligraphy sessions in Tokyo on April 21, May 26 (2 p.m.-5 p.m.) and March 25, April 1 and 15 (4 p.m.-7 p.m.). Admission to each session is 7,000 yen.

At the March 24 and April 24 sessions, Watanabe, who holds a Masters in art, dance and music therapy, will give a lecture on the history of Japanese incense ceremony, a tradition that dates back 1,400 years, and discuss various aromatic woods. Watanabe describes her ceremony as a "modernized" form of kodo.

At the incense ceremony and calligraphy sessions, there will be a calligraphy demonstration after each ceremony and attendees will be able to practice this art themselves.

Reservations are required (e-mail eriyo@arts-wellness.com). For more info on these and other forthcoming sessions, visit arts-wellness.com

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