‘This is the moment’ is one possible translation for the Japanese phrase, ‘一期一会’, or ‘ichi-go ichi-e’. It originates in 茶道, ‘sadou’ or tea ceremony, and describes the ideal way to experience the ceremony. Since we have a Tea Ceremony Club and a traditional tea ceremony house at school, it comes up sometimes and is a challenge to translate. It’s one of those phrases that doesn’t work well when translated literally; ‘one time, one meeting’ or ‘one encounter, one meeting’. What does that mean? It means to convey the need to approach an experience as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to respect the people you meet and to honour the moment. It was even used as the Japanese title for ‘Forrest Gump’!
My favourite translation is the one I have chosen as the title of this post, but I am going to use the Japanese original too. I included it in one of my updates after the Great East Japan Earthquake, which is the official name in English for the March 11th 2011 quake. After the earthquake, even with the stress and anxiety that became our daily life there were so many times when people showed the best of themselves, reached out to friends, to people they didn’t know, to make a connection.
Sometimes there is a moment in a day, a chance to meet someone, do something, hear something new, and it makes the day just a little bit sparkly. I’m thinking about the small things that I couldn’t have anticipated, that were really very small, but made me smile, made me feel a connection with someone, made me stop and think. I often think, I should tell someone about that, I should remember how that felt, and so now I will; here on my blog.