…chado (tea ceremony) lessons continue with the introduction of my new fall tea bowl, which features two orange and one green Japanese maple leaves floating on an autumn breeze. It could also be a river, which is perfect for here and now, for enjoying tea as the seasons change in our little Japanese house along the Hikichigawa. The cherry trees’ leaves are turning yellow one by one and dropping into the water and along the road. I can breath easiest when strolling along the river banks feeding koi and inhaling the cool damp river scent. The three pinnacles of Japanese Finishing School are tea ceremony, ikebana and fan dance. So to complete my chosen curriculum I’ve expanded my Japanese dance education beyond summer Bon Odori and Awa Odori and met with three other wives to take tradition Japanese fan dance lessons! We donned hapi coats and learned how to bow and unfold our fans correctly, then launched into two hours of Sakura, Sakura, where our fans mimicked cherry blossoms falling from the trees and blowing in the wind. I’ve observed fan dancers holding a position while they swiveled their heads around and made pointed eye contact almost over their shoulders. Most of these dancers were in their 80s. This is also part of our routine so I asked what this action meant. Our beautiful elderly teacher, wrapped in her tiny kimono, giggled and explained. We hold the fan just below our face and make eye contact with someone on the right, a little to the left, then on the far far left to signify, “The cherry blossoms are gorgeous but I am three times as gorgeous!” So the eye contact is Traditional Japanese Fan Dance Flirting! Love it!