Glenn A. Sorei Pereira is an instructor of chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony. He has been performing tea ceremony at The Art Complex for the many years, both for adults and children. He imbibes teaching tea with his wonderful humor to delight all those who have experienced the ceremony.
Originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, of Portuguese descent, Glenn now lives in Boston, where he holds weekly classes for anyone interested in studying tea. His students include both Japanese and Americans from all walks of life coming together to learn both the role of host and guest at a tea gathering. Besides teaching these roles, Glenn also instructs students in flower arranging, cooking and other tea related subjects.
In 1981 Glenn was introduced to chado, the way of tea and immediately began his studies. In 1982 he received a scholarship to enter the Midorikai program of intensive tea study at the Urasenke Professional College of Chado in Kyoto, Japan. Sen Genshitsu XV, Great Grand Tea Master of the Urasenke School of Tea in Kyoto, gave the scholarship to him.
After graduating from the Urasenke Professional College of Chado Glenn returned to Boston where he continues his studies of tea along with teaching. He now does lectures and demonstrations at many schools, universities, social clubs and art galleries throughout New England bringing the way of tea to many people. Glenn travels to teach intensive training workshops for tea groups throughout the United States. He also returns to Japan each year to further his studies in tea.
In February of 1993 Glenn received his chamei, professional tea name, from Sen Genshitsu XV. The name given him was Sorei, meaning beautiful, bright, clear, fine, and serene. In November of 1997 he received, junkyoju, an associate professor degree and in December 2002 he received, kyoju, a professor degree also from Sen Genshitsu XV.
In February of 2013 Glenn became ceritified to teach tea in the Japanese School system.
In June of 2017 Glenn received the Foreign Minister of Japan’s Commendation. It was in recognition of outstanding contributions that he has made to the promotion of Japanese culture in the United States.
As a missionary of chado, Glenn continues the wishes of Sen Genshitsu XV and Sen Soshitsu XVI, to create peacefulness through sharing a bowl of tea. This sharing of a bowl of tea also fosters a great relationship between both countries.
When did you know you wanted to study chado?
In 1980 I received a gift certificate of 10 lessons to study tea. No knowing anything about it I didn’t act on it until 9 months later September of 1981. The reason being was that although I had a great interest in Japan I knew nothing about the tea culture. I went to the first lesson with no intentions of going to the other nine. To my surprise I fell head over heels in love with it.
Was there a particular pivotal moment?
Yes, it was at my first lesson on September 9, 1981. The teacher was very knowledgeable and excited to talk about chado with me. His excitement about it was infectious. When he asked about my background and heard that I was from Portuguese decent he seemed even more excited to tell me about the Portuguese influence in Japan and chado. I knew by the end of that first lesson that I wanted to continue to study and one day to become a teacher as well.
Who are your biggest influences?
Allan Sosei Palmer, without a doubt, that gave me that first lesson.Also, the 15th generation Grand Master Hounsai Daisosho who gave me the scholarship to study in Japan at Urasenke and the present 16th generation Grand Master Zabosai Oiemoto. I return to Japan yearly and both continue to set such a good example of what a good chajin (tea practitioner) is- through not only words, but actions.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from the Grand Masters both past and present. Other teachers and students inspire me. They all make me want to continue my studies and be a better instructor of tea.
When hosting a tea gathering my choice of utensils is inspired by seasonal events, nature, culture and my own personal taste.
What do you do with your knowledge of the tea ceremony?
I am the current Chief of Administration for the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Boston Association. Besides teaching, I as well as other teachers and members of our group, do lectures and demonstrations throughout New England. We are especially busy with local schools of all levels.
Privately, members host tea gatherings for friends and family.
Can you describe the process of what you do?
That’s a tough question. The serving of tea, as simple as it may seem to most people, is actually quite complex in its preparation. It would depend on whether you do a full tea gathering, which would be about 4 hours or just invite someone over for a simple ceremony. The preparation time would be anywhere from a few hours or even less to possibly weeks or even months to organize and prepare.
How is Covid-19, (social distancing, wearing masks, lock downs, shutdowns affecting your work and your life?
Due to mask wearing and social distancing getting together to share tea is currently difficult. All demonstrations and in person classes have been cancelled due to Covid-19. We have however held some classes and events using Skype and Zoom. I’m happy to announce that all our members are safe and healthy. This is due to tea practitioners being extremely disciplined when following rules. Also, purity* is one of the principles we follow so we seem to be always cleaning.
When returning to the tearoom, hopefully soon, we will have new rules and restrictions to keep everyone safe.
For example: In a full tea gathering the host makes two teas. The first is koicha, which is a tea with a thick consistency. The host makes a bowl with enough tea for up to five guests to share. The second tea is called usucha, which has a thin and frothy consistency. This is made for each guest individually.
There is however a koicha ceremony that takes care of the shared bowl problem during a pandemic like we are now experiencing, which was created 100 years ago by the 13th generation Grand Master Ennosai. Rather than sharing the same bowl the host makes each guest a bowl of thick tea.
For more information about Urasenke Boston or to contact us please go to our website: urasenkeboston.org or Facebook- Urasenke Boston
*I mentioned that purity is one of the principles that we follow. Tea practitioners follow four principles; Harmony, Respect, Purity and Tranquility. These are explained on our website.