Andreea Hoșman – CSRJ-AH Alumni

Posted: 13/12/2021
Category: CSRJ Family

Some highlights about you
My name is Andreea Hoșman and I am currently a full-time mother of an adorable 1 year old girl. I can say that it is a paid job only with small hugs, kisses and shouts of joy when you enter the room, but it is not a small thing.

Before this, I studied International Business at the Romanian-American University and at the same time I was a volunteer at CSRJ since my first year of college. From the 3rd year, I started working first in a travel agency, then in the international office at the Romanian-American University, and then I moved to a completely different field, namely IT. I currently hold the title of Software Tester, but as I said, for now I have a 2-year “vacation” in which I relearn how to play and enjoy the sun’s rays, the colors of autumn, the rain, the snow, the music, sand pits, etc.

Andreea Hoșman

What attracted you about Japan, how did you come to study Japanese?
My fascination with Japan began when I was little, with the anime I could see on TV: Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Digimon, but everything remained just a fascination until high school when I participated in a presentation organized by CSRJ and held by Șerban Georgescu. I remember that after that presentation, almost all my colleagues and I, of course, were smiling at the idea of starting a Japanese language course. But not everyone has embraced this idea. My sister and I and two other friends showed up at CSRJ when the next beginner courses opened. I couldn't wait for Saturday to come so I could attend classes, I really liked them. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made. And that's how I discovered CSRJ.

You practice Aikido. How has practicing martial arts helped you to develop?
Throughout life, various doors open, it is up to us whether we want to cross their threshold or not. New Aikido classes opened at CSRJ in October 2011 and, despite the fact that I had never practiced martial arts before, I said yes, I want to participate. I started from "a flower that's constantly grinning" as Sensei liked Sabin Dumitrescu to caress me, to a little warrior with a black belt 1 Dan.

Practicing Aikido has given me a lot of confidence, it has shown me that I can, even if I'm scared. I learned what it means to be patient with yourself when you feel frustrated and afraid of getting hurt. I learned how to put pride aside and accept the simple fact of not knowing. It was a rather difficult and frustrating process to notice the movements that the sensei was showing us in front of us and then when it was my turn to do them, I didn't know which was the left and which was the right. I also have two hands, two legs, a head, a body, but they didn't seem to listen to me at all, especially when I had to roll on the left side. However, I did not give up. I have shown that I can overcome the obstacles I have faced. I looked with longing and jealousy at my colleagues who could perform ukemi (rolls) or techniques as if without any effort, and only when I stopped to look outside and start to see myself and to look inside, I managed to pass to a higher stage.

I consider Sensei Sabin Dumitrescu one of my mentors, a person from whom I learned and am learning what discipline, passion, effort dedicated to a path, a lifestyle means. But not only that. It is one of my examples of a happy family, a simple and happy life. I am extremely happy to have him almost as both a sensei and a mentor.

Can you tell us about meeting Kazuko Diaconu Sensei? How did your tea journey begin?
I remember it as if it were yesterday. On the first day we started the Japanese classes, the Japanese teacher of that time, sensei Bogdan Opreanu, informed us that in the afternoon of that day there will be the Tea Ceremony classes given by sensei Kazuko Diaconu. I knew absolutely nothing about the tea ceremony, I had never heard or seen anything like it, but I and a friend decided to attend.

In the first course we went more to see what was happening. We looked at our older colleagues with fascination, but we understood absolutely nothing of what was happening. At one point we were served green tea. I thought I was drinking the worst drink, green, with the taste of nettles, spinach and with a not very pleasant smell. However, we went back the next time, and the next time, until we didn't stop.

Kazuko Diaconu sensei was a severe but correct teacher. I learned the basics of the tea ceremony very well, and they can be learned very well through the role of a guest. It's been a year of learning how to be a guest. Honestly, I got bored during this period, but now that I look back I realize that I learned a lot just by observing. Then came the moment when Kazuko sensei told me I was ready to do a temae, a ceremony. My heart was pounding and I kept repeating to sensei that I really like being a guest and I can wait, but sensei was determined for me to do the ceremony that day. I was told that I was doing pretty well for the first time, but one thing I do remember. I couldn't stand up after the ceremony was over. That was the moment when I saw Kazuko sensei smiling, and that smile changed our relationship to a closer one.

Thanks to Kazuko sensei's recommendation, I was able to join the Midorikai program of the Urasenke Tea School in Kyoto for a period of one year. In the summer of that year, Kazuko sensei welcomed me into her family, cooked for me, showed me Tokyo. I felt like I had reached my grandmother in Tokyo.

I would also like to share with you a little story that happened with Kazuko sensei in Tokyo. On one of our walks, we stopped to eat ramen at a restaurant recommended by sensei. While I was eating, I told sensei that I would like to offer this ramen, as a thank you for taking such great care of me. I never thought she would enjoy this little gesture so much. He told me it was the best ramen she had ever eaten, because I offered it.

I miss Kazuko sensei very much and I remember her fondly.

You spent a year in Kyoto, at the Urasenke School, studying tea ceremony. How was this experience?
I think I will never get bored of remembering and talking about this experience. It was extremely difficult, but very beautiful. I experienced Japan like I never imagined I would.

An ordinary day as a student at the Urasenke Tea School began at about 6 o'clock in the morning when I had to wake up, I ate breakfast quickly and then had time to put on my kimono. At 7.30 I was at school to clean the classroom and make tea for the first person of the day. Every day I had 2 courses, either theoretical or practical. After finishing classes, I had to clean the classroom, and then be in the school canteen at 12.00 for lunch. I wiped the table and chair before and after the meal. At 12.20 I was in the tea room and I had to prepare the utensils, the tea, the coals for the ceremonies that were to be done that day. At 4.30 pm I finished my tea room classes, then went to dinner and hurried back to my room to change into samue (cleaning clothes) and go back to school to clean the tea rooms and toilets. After completing all these tasks, I went to study with my colleagues for the next day.

By the time I got used to this strict program, I went through the phase of fascination, then denial, then frustration, then acceptance, and then I came to enjoy this routine. It was not at all easy to keep up with the new information that appeared every day, with everything that was required of us, with the fatigue I felt. But life as a tea student in Urasenke also has its advantages: I was able to see the set of Urasenke tea rooms (it is closed to the public), I was able to attend zazen meetings held by a monk in it's temple (the temple is closed for public), I was able to attend numerous tea meetings held not only by Urasenke but also by other schools, I had special classes in which I learned how to prepare kaiseki (traditional food served during the tea ceremony) and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets).

I had the opportunity to experience the city of Kyoto, the changes specific to each season through the most sensitive art. Even now I have moments when I can't believe I had this experience.

Andreea Hoșman

How did you feel about Japan from the perspective of participating in the Cultural Program? Is it different from the one experienced as a student on a scholarship?
In March-April 2016 I participated for the first time in the Cultural Program. In about 2 weeks, we managed to see around 11 cities (I hope I'm not mistaken). We visited Asia Pacific University in Beppu, translated a presentation by the Director of International Relations at Takayama City Hall and were later guided into the city by City Hall representatives. Ikebana master Tenkei Nomura was our host in Kanazawa, and we were greeted with gold powder tea upon our arrival in the city. I loved it.

Japan experienced through the Cultural Program is one of a more special tourist, I would say. Why special? The reason is that we have the opportunity to enter certain places where a tourist would not normally enter, such as a university, a town hall or simply to sit down to eat with representatives of the Toyota company or with a great master of ikebana.

Both experiences are definitely worth it.

You teach the tea ceremony now. Please send an invitation to our readers to cross your threshold for classes.
The tea ceremony or way of the tea is not just about tea. It integrates architecture, ceramics, kimono, cooking, bamboo sculpture, meditation, history, Japanese aesthetics. It is a complete art form. Looking at the tea ceremony from the outside, it can be perceived as strict, difficult to understand and complicated. But in our classes, we will take things step by step and study them together in a way that is more understandable to those born in the West, but that will bring you even closer to the Eastern mentality and aesthetics.

We are a small group, but very passionate, who meet every Sunday morning (with small exceptions, of course) to study and learn new things about the Tea Ceremony. We warmly welcome you!

You met your other half at CSRJ, you proposed to in Kyoto, during the Cultural Program. What makes the Center atmosphere special?
What makes the Center special? I have a very simple answer: the people. I have 4 more special people and very dear to my soul, Șerban Georgescu, Diana Peca, Kazuko Diaconu sensei and Chinatsu Kawamoto sensei. They were the ones who believed in me when I couldn't do it. They were the ones who pushed me from behind to put myself in various situations so that I could grow. I am extremely grateful to them.

The center is the place where my life changed not for the better, but for SO MUCH BETTER. It's the place where I grew up, I gained confidence, I met my half, I met my passion. 100% one of the best decisions I've ever made. In addition, I am very happy to be part of the CSRJ family as a tea instructor where I also hope to make a small difference among my students.


Photos: Andreea Hoșman©
Personal Archive

Related Posts

Hey, like this? Why not share it with a buddy?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *