BEYOND THE PUSH/PULL: November can be a month with many demands, and those demands are, more often than not, centered around the approaching holidays. On the one hand people are lining up various social obligations and must-dos, all while reading that keeping a sense of calm, and an inner light of peace, is essential during this hectic stretch of the year. There are, however, those harder-to-find festivities that both fulfill the "get out of the house" part of the season as well as the "connect with your sense of calm" bit that is the other side of the coin. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony at Hakone Estate and Gardens is one such serene scene, and the very final one for 2016 is on the near horizon.
SUNDAY, NOV. 20... is the date, and joining the venerable ceremony is seven dollars (in addition to your entrance fee). The service "demonstrates the Omotesenke family style of tea preparation and serving, one of the three traditional methods used in Japan for centuries." It is a contemplative moment, one that gives attendees an understanding of a beautiful tradition, one that lives on. Furthering that contemplation, and the theme of connecting, is the chance to stroll around the gardens before or after the tea service, taking in the autumnal changes to both tree and shrub while pausing to admire a water element or bridge. If you miss this chance to partake in the Hakone tea ceremony, take heart: The April-to-November happening is a staple of the warmer months at the Silicon Valley landmark.