Midorikai is a program for non-Japanese speakers to study tea in Kyoto for one year.
Today students from all over the world apply for this scholarship. The scholarship covers everything a student needs to stay in Japan for one year.
Midorikai accepts students twice a year, April and September.
Students at Midorikai spend their mornings from 9-12 having classroom lessons in subjects like Japanese History, Japanese Poetry, Noh, Zen, Tea utensils, Tea history and so forth. But also once a month Midorikai recieve a lecture from one of the Gyoute-sensei about a tea related subject.
After dinner there are usually chores to be done untill about seven or eight in the evening.
The program allows for student to take a second year after having been back home for some time. Their curiculum is the same as first year students but in addition they do the Shikaden temaes. And might be allowed to Kengaku some or all of the Okuden and Betsuden temaes.
During this one year the students gets to participate in a lot of anual and seasonal events. For instance Robiraki, Hatsugama, Rikyuki. In adition you get to study in the very best of environment, with good teachers and appropriate dogu for all seasons.
At the moment (2007) there are about 8 students in this program.
To apply for this program you have to contact your local Urasenke Branch or Affiliation. Before you apply you should know that Midorikai is not a one year vacation in Kyoto, it is a hard program with a tight schedule. You should be prepared for the study to take all available time during the week, and often the weekends too. But it is well worth it. People who would like to join Midorikai program should also know that there is Mongen which means you HAVE TO be back in the dormitory before 10 p.m. and you are not allowed to leave it until morning. Summarize: you study from 9 a.m. till 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. you have to back in dormitory. (you have 2 or 3 hours free a day)
In 1970 Hounsai established classes for non japanese speaking students in Japan. In 1973 it was given the name Midorikai. (The official founding papers where amusingly enough signed on April the 1st). Later in 1976 it became a part of Urasenke Chado College.
It started out as classes for people living in Japan, students would attend classes three out of five days a week. But over time it developed in to a full scholarship program for studying tea, and with that studends started attending all days a week, since they no longer needed to keep a day job to support them selves. At this time it was a three year program. But that was made away with over time so to day it is one year, with the possibility of returning later for another year. (Students who wished to attend two concequtive years have not been allowed to do so for some time).