If the world were to end tomorrow, what would be your last supper? If I were asked that question, I would answer "Cha-kaiseki. Of course, home-style cooking with a large group of people would be hard to bypass, but if I had to choose, I would say Cha-kaiseki, which is served in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.

Cha-kaiseki is a multi-course meal with a Zen-like spirit, in which the main dish is matcha (powdered green tea) served at the end of the meal. The meal consists of one bowl of soup and three dishes, an additional side dish, a simple and light soup, an appetizer made of ingredients ranging from murine or mountain, pickles, and a cup of thick tea.

In 1999, the year before I launched FF, there was a worldwide prophecy of the world's destruction. This of course did not happen, but I thought it would be a good time to enjoy a Cha-kaiseki. I visited Ryuunan (a dragon cloud tea ceremony house) in Shinjuku for a tea-ceremony course. As the last guest of the restaurant at the end of 1999, we enjoyed the meal in a quiet and dignified manner.

Since tea does not taste good when drunk on an empty stomach, kaiseki cuisine was invented to enjoy the true taste of tea. Cha-kaiseki is not something that anyone can just show up and eat, as there is a certain order of eating and a proper etiquette that must be followed. Before I went, I attended a seminar to learn about it. There, we were taught not only the etiquette, but also the spirit and attitude of the tea-ceremony meal.

At the beginning of the seminar, the host (the teacher) talked about the scroll hanging on the wall of the tatami room, which she had chosen for today's guests (the students). Written in a calligraphy, the scroll read, "Mu Ichibutsu" (nothingness). Do you know what that means? I imagined that it meant that there is not one thing in this world that is the same as another. But it was not so.

It meant, "Nothing in this world belongs to you.”

That what you think you own is actually something that has been "entrusted" to you only while you are alive. It must be returned when you leave this world; and even when you’re still of this world, if you do not take good care of it, it will leave you.

I realized that there are some things that I paid for with my labor, with my money, which should have been completely mine for all to see, but which have somehow disappeared from my possession over the years. (Of course, they were not stolen. ) What does that mean, I found myself wondering. Everything I have ever purchased, acquired, or received, all of it in fact, should have come to far more than everything I have now.
In the case of clothing, I have lost some, shorn some and torn some; some garments I can't even remember where I put them. If I had been more mindful of them, more conscious of them, and treated them with care, they might not have left me. I wondered, if I had had the idea of "keeping them" at that time, would I have lost them? Or would they still be with me?

It is the same with relationships. How many people have I met so far, including those at work? Hundreds?
And compared to that number, how few people am I still connected with? Of course, unlike things, the other side has its own will, so I don't think I could have prevented it 100%. But I do believe that 80% of the cause is me, including work relationships, acquaintances, friends, and lovers.

When we think of something as “my own property,” no one complains if we treat it badly, so we tend to treat it with less care. If it is considered as temporarily "entrusted," that it must be returned at some point, we are more careful in our treatment of it and take better care of it. When we realize that our connections with people, as well as with things, are not eternal but have an expiration date, we can appreciate and cherish the time that they have been with us.

The phrase " Mu Ichibutsu " was a word that settled in my mind as if it had cleared up a question I had been pondering a long time.

And I believe that if the leaders of this world shared this thought, even a little, there would be a little less territorial strife and war.

Isshi KANAMARU 10.2022

明日世界が終わるとしてあなたの最後の晩餐は?そう問われたら自分なら、茶懐石 と答えます。

空腹ではお茶が不味かろうとお茶本来の味を楽しむために考案された懐石料理、茶懐石とはあくまでも主役は最後に点てられる抹茶であり、そのもてなしは一汁三菜、 進肴、箸洗い、八寸、香の物、そして濃茶と進められる禅の心得があるとされるコース料理。

FF を立ち上げる前年の1999年、当時世界的予言で、まことしやかに囁かれていた世界滅亡、もちろんそれは起こりませんでしたが、一度は食してみたかった茶懐石を戴くには適時かと思い立ち、新宿「龍雲庵」さんに出向き、1999年年末その年のそのお店の最後の客人として、しめやかにおごそかに食してきました。


そこには「無 一 物」と書かれた書がありました。



「あなたが所有していると思っているもの、それはあなたがこの世に生を受けている間だけ、” 預かっている ” ものであり、あなたがこの世を離れる際は返さなければならないもの、そしてこの世でもあなたの ” 預かり方 ”が悪いと、それはあなたの元から離れていってしまう」という意味でした。

以前自分は、労働力を払い対価を払い誰が見ても ”完全に自分のものになったはずの物” が長年の間、いつの間にか自分の手元から消えている物がいくつかあることに気付き(もちろん盗まれたわけでは有りません)、それはどういう意味なのか?とふと思ったことがあります。今まで購入したもの、手に入れたもの、戴いたもの、そのすべては、実際今持っている全てのものよりもはるかに多かったはずなのに。
洋服で云えば、無くした物もあれば落とした物、破けて捨ててしまった服、あったはずなのにどこに仕舞ったのかさえも思い出せない服、色々あります。もし、もっと、それらを大切に思い、意識を配り大事に扱っていたならば自分の手元から離れずに済んでいたのでは?と気づかされる。もし、当時、”預かっている” という発想を持てていたら、失わず、、、もしかしたらまだ自分の手元にあったのでは?と思うのです。


” 自分のもの ” と思うと邪険に扱ったりしても誰にも文句は云われないので、ついついその物に対しての扱いが丁寧ではなくなったりする。” 預かりもの ” と考えれると返さなければならないので扱いにより気を配りより大切にしなければならないと思う。物はもちろん、人との繋がりも永遠ではなく期限があるのだと自覚出来ると、自分のそばにいてくれているその期間をより愛おしく、大切に思う。

「無 一 物」、その言葉は以前から思っていた一つの疑問をすっきりと解いてくれたかのように自分の心の中にはやさしく、しっくりと収まった言葉でした。