Huybrechts Tangetsu-an (淡月庵) Tyas Sōsen (宗筅)
As a Japanology graduate of Belgium’s Leuven University, Tyas Sōsen relocated to Japan in order to pursue post-graduate studies in the literature, history and culture of 17th-century Japan at Kansai University, Osaka, from which he received a Master of Arts degree. In order to deepen his understanding of Japan’s complex cultural traditions, he has trained in kendō, karate, and jōdō, and studied both nō performance-practice and the rite-of-tea (sadō).
By now a fully-qualified instructor in the Way of Tea as taught by the (warrior-style) Enshū school － thereby having become the youngest foreigner ever to have achieved this rank within the school －Sōsen instructs both Japanese and foreign pupils in ‘tea-ceremony’. He also conducts demonstrations, lectures and workshops concerning the tradition, philosophy and aesthetics of the-rite-of-tea.
Sōsen is also the first Belgian to have become certified as a Nihoncha (Japanese tea) Instructor. Having thus become an expert in all aspects of Japanese tea and tea-culture, he, at The Tea Crane, offers his personal selection of organically-produced Japanese teas.
Gibbs Kyūgetsu-an (汲月庵) Stephen Sōshun (宗駿)
For half his life, Stephen Sōshun has trained in, practiced, and taught, the rite of Tea – in addition publishing and lecturing extensively on its history, values, methodology, and contemporary relevance. Now an official Junior Assistant Grand Master of this school of Tea-praxis (and the first non-Japanese citizen ever to attain this rank), not only has he won no few admirers among Japan’s Tea-aficionados, regardless of school-of-praxis; he has also successfully implanted a similar passion for this discipline in the hearts of numerous foreign exchange-students – as one of whom Sōsen himself began, a decade ago, to become likewise an adept.
Tyas Sōsen’s unflagging efforts to spread better awareness of Tea “ceremony” is integral to his vision of the importance of (particularly Japanese) tea, as a healthy beverage contributive to social bonding, and an aid to spiritual refreshment. The paradoxical combination – of unbroken meditation with considerate alertness to the needs, comfort and delight of others – characterizing this rite being something of which he feels contemporary society to be in sore need, through constant workshops and presentations he strives to make the Way of Tea accessible to as many as possible – not as a performance, but, ultimately, an attitude to [OR a stance towards] being alive.