BELLINGHAM - "Chado: the Way of Tea" will give people a taste of Japanese culture and history as part of this year's Whatcom READS!
The free event begins 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Bellingham Public Library.
Shelley Thomas, a Maple Falls resident who has been studying the way of tea for about 20 years, will give a public demonstration of chado.
The event is being funded by a $250 grant from The Japan Foundation.
Whatcom READS! encourages all county residents to read the same book as part of a countywide book club experience. This year's book is "Snow Falling on Cedars" by David Guterson.
A novel set in 1954 on a fictional Puget Sound island, it focuses on the drowning of a white fisherman and the Japanese-American man charged with murder in his death. The subsequent trial stirs up deep anti-Japanese sentiments that remained from World War II.
As they have done in the past, Whatcom READS! events tap into and expand a book's themes, while exploring cultural influences on the region.
"It was a way for us to explore aspects of Japanese culture," said Suzanne Carlson-Prandini, a library clerk who helped organize the Feb. 13 event, adding it would provide "some different doors into the story."
People at the downtown library will get a glimpse of chado, which is one of the Japanese ways of training and is centuries old. It has been described as touching on nearly all aspects of daily life and teaches how to live in balance with others and nature.
To Thomas, "Snow Falling on Cedars" brings up the "timeless and thought-provoking topics of morality, prejudice and resentment."
"I am hoping that after giving some history and background into the way of tea - including the four principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility - people will come to appreciate the way of tea as a discipline that can transcend these kinds of difficult but limiting barriers to bring more respect for all beings into the world on a daily basis," she said in an email interview.
IF YOU GO
What: All-ages presentation of "Chado: the Way of Tea." The event is part of Whatcom READS! program, with David Guterson's "Snow Falling on Cedars" as this year's book. Associated programs focus on Japanese themes and ideals.
When: 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Where: Lecture Room of Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Ave. in the downtown.
Details: Call the Bellingham Public Library at 360-778-7323 to learn more about the "Chado: the Way of Tea" event. More on Whatcom READS! is at whatcomreads.org.