Calligraphy by Gadjin M. Nagao, Professor Emeritus of Indian Buddhist Philosophy, Kyoto University.

Tekisuijuku (滴水塾): A History of a Name

Established in the Fall Semester of 1985, the Tekisuijuku (滴水塾) serves as the center for Japanese studies on the Whitman College campus. It also serves as a home for students interested in speaking Japanese and learning more about Japanese culture. In the spring of 1984, a group of Japanese language students worked with Professor Takemoto to petition the administration to establish a house devoted to Japanese studies. The petition was approved and everyone referred to the new residence hall as the "Japanese House." However, the name sounded a bit strange. So, just before the opening of classes in the 1988-1989 academic year, Professor Takemoto placed a small wooden sign next to the door of the Otis Street House that identified it as Shōfūan (松風庵 or "The Wind in the Pines Hut"). In the world of the Japanese tea ceremony, the term "wind in the pines" remembers the sound of the water boiling in the kettle; it also serves as a reminder that beauty in life often appears in places normally shunned or in things that people consider as slight and insignificant. The name, suggests, too, the life of a scholarly, poet and hermit in a modest hut, renouncing secular pursuits and awakening a profound compassion for other people and beings who share a similarly austere existence.

Molly Luna ('91) and Debra Horton ('91) hold up the new "Tekisuijuku" sign written by Professor Gadjin Nagao. On the right is Mitsuhiro Matudaira, the native speaker. Kneeling in front is Mayako Takemoto and Ayako. (May, 1989)

This sign, however, disappeared during the winter of 1988, before this name became officially recognized. In May of 1989, Professor Takemoto's father-in-law, Gadjin Nagao (Professor Emeritus of Kyoto University) visited Walla Walla on his way back to Kyoto after spending a semester as a Visiting Professor of Buddhism at the University of Calgary. When he heard that the original sign had disappeared from the "Japanese House," he suggested that the house be renamed "Tekisuijuku."

Learning that the name Walla Walla could be understood as "many small rivers," Professor Nagao suggested the use of the word "Tekisui" (滴水 or "drops of water falling into pools and small streams"). Tekisui echoes the name of a garden located in front of a famous tea room on the grounds of Nishi Honganji, the headquarters of Shinshū Buddhism in Japan. This tea room and pavilion has close connections with the Yabunouchi School of Tea which represents the style of tea that Professor Takemoto practices and teaches; and the Nishi Honganji is the temple where Professor Takemoto was ordained as a Buddhist priest. The word "Juku" (塾) refers to a residence or place devoted to "studying." Professor Nagao named the house and wrote the characters on a wooden sign now preserved inside the Tekisuijuku. A new sign written by the calligrapher Fujii Yoshiyasu will soon identify the house from the outside. Beginning the 2005 fall semester, Tekisuijuku residents will live in a new house on the corner of Stanton and University.

Molly Luna ('91) and Debra Horton ('91) pose with Professor and Mrs. Gadjin Nagao, Professor Takemoto in front of the "first" Tekisuijuku at 106 Otis Street right after the sign was made (May, 1989)

Current and Former Residents of the Tekisuijuku

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2010-2011:

  • Carli Ing, RA
  • Yamamoto Chiyo, Native Speaker
  • Josephine Hoyne, Sam Mehoke, Sara Portesan, Maia Singhal, Sarah West, Spencer Wharton

The 10-11 Tek residents

From left to right: Sara Portesan, Maia Singhal, Sam Mehoke, Spencer Wharton, Chiya Yamamoto, Carli Ing, Sarah West, and Josephine Hoyne in front.

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2008-2009:

  • Jason Shon, RA
  • Omoto Noriko, Native Speaker
  • Roman Goerss, Carli Ing, Hanna Kahl, Sunn Kim, Sam Zimmerman

The 08-09 Tek residents, from shortest to tallest: Omoto Noriko, Hanna Kahl, Carli Ing, Sunn Kim, Jason Shon, Roman Goerss, and Sam Zimmerman.

The Tek residents on the porch of the Tekisuijuku

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2006-2007:

  • Matt Magnuson, RA
  • Kōjirō Adachi , Native Speaker
  • David Fernandez, Jessica Martinez, Jill Morita, Jason Shon, David Thylur

The 2006-07 Tek residents at the 2007 Carlstrom award, left to right:
Jessica Martinez, Jason Shon, Matt Magnuson (RA), David Thylur, David Fernandez,
Seancey Pierce, and Adachi Kojiro (native speaker), with the Carlstroms seated in front.

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2005-2006, Fall:

  • Elizabeth Brown, RA
  • Kōjirō Adachi , Native Speaker
  • Avi Conant, Lydia Eberly, Joanne Ishikawa, Mark Schnepper, Ruby Sparks

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2005-2006, Spring:

  • Elizabeth Brown, RA
  • Kōjirō Adachi , Native Speaker
  • Chris Fade, David Fernandez, Joanne Ishikawa, Mark Schnepper, Ruby Sparks

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2003-2004:

  • Elizabeth Ingram, RA
  • Wakana Mizomae, Native Speaker
  • Karen Acree, Laura Bartholomew, Aaron Bell, Elizabeth Brown, Lydia Eberly, Rosalinda Mendoza

"Gatsu, gatsu" or the sound of Tekisuijuku residents (Fall, 2003) chomping on watermelon in front of the Tek. Standing from left to right are the "neat" eaters: Lydia Eberly, Liz Ingram, Laura Batholomew, Aaron Bell, Liz Brown, and Wakana Mizomae. The resident with the embarrassed smile is Rosalinda Mendoza and the resident with the fierce expression is Karen Acree.

Tekisuijuku Residents, 2002-2003:

  • Lisa Dodobara, RA
  • Wakana Mizomae, Native Speaker
  • Laura Bartholomew, Lisa Johnson, Diana Kusunoki, Kenta Nakano, Shawgi Silver, Christine Yang

Tekisuijuku Residents, 1996-1997

  • Lindsey Rindflesh, RA
  • Satomi Ueyama, Native Speaker
  • Ashley Davis, Tom Lapham, Rachel Hunderford, Kristina Northcutt, Nathan Welch

Tekisuijuku Residents, 1994-1995

  • Micheal Gates, RA
  • Satomi Ueyama, Native Speaker
  • Eriko Aoyama, Ben Keim, Vicky Hirano, Robert Shwed

Native Speakers and RA's:

  • 2010-2011: Yamamoto Chiyo (Native Speaker) / Carli Ing (RA)
  • 2009-2010: Omoto Noriko (Native Speaker) / David Abramovitz (RA)
  • 2008-2009: Omoto Noriko (Native Speaker) / Jason Shon (RA)
  • 2007-2008: Kimura Shoko (Native Speaker, Fall Semester) / Alex Waxman (RA)
  • 2006-2007: Kōjirō Adachi (Native Speaker) / Matt Magnuson (RA)
  • 2005-2006: Kōjirō Adachi (Native Speaker) / Elizabeth Brown (RA)
  • 2004-2005: Hana Yamada (Native Speaker) / Diana Kusunoki (RA)
  • 2003-2004: Wakana Mizomae (Native Speaker) / Lisa Dodobara (RA)
  • 2002-2003: Wakana Mizomae (Native Speaker)
  • 2001-2002: Yufuko Kurioka (Native Speaker)
  • 2000-2001: Harumi Tsujino (Native Speaker) / Jaime Oberlander (RA)
  • 1999-2000: Masashi Obata (Native Speaker)
  • 1998-1999: Maki Yamashita (Native Speaker)
  • 1997-1998: Maki Yamashita (Native Speaker)
  • 1996-1997: Satomi Ueyama (Native Speaker) / Lindsey Rindflesh (RA)
  • 1995-1996: Satomi Ueyama (Native Speaker) / Rose Spidell (RA)
  • 1994-1995: Satomi Ueyama (Native Speaker) / Micheal Gates (RA)
  • 1993-1994: Mutsumi Kanuma (Native Speaker)
  • 1992-1993: Mutsumi Kanuma (Native Speaker)
  • 1991-1992: Tomoko Sato (Native Speaker)
  • 1990-1991: Shintaro Sasaki (Native Speaker)
  • 1989-1990: Tomoko Sato (Native Speaker)
  • 1988-1989: Mitsuhiro Matsudaira (Native Speaker)
  • 1987-1988: Mitsuhiro Matsudaira (Native Speaker)
  • 1986-1987: Rie Nakamura (Native Speaker)
  • 1985-1986: Rie Nakamura (Native Speaker)
  • 1984-1985: Etsuko Asano (Native Speaker)Living in Tekisuijuku (page maintained by Res-Life)