There is an oasis in the city dedicated to Japanese culture and aesthetics. KeiSui-An is a chashitsu, or tearoom, that opened in January as part of Globus Washitsu’s exquisite tatami mat complex. Located on Broadway where Chelsea meets the Flatiron District, KeiSui-An is the Globus family’s labor of love.
You may be familiar with the name Globus if you’ve ever attended a film screening at Japan Society. Each year the Globus family sponsors the Globus Film Series, bringing cutting-edge Japanese films to New York and introducing audiences to the hottest names in classic and contemporary Japanese cinema. Chances are you’ve seen Stephen Globus, third generation of the Globus family and one of three Globus brothers, at these screenings, dressed in his signature outfit of kimono and hakama.
Through KeiSui-An, Globus can share his deep and long-standing appreciation for Japan’s rich culture by making its finer points accessible to everyone in a relaxed atmosphere. He sponsors tea ceremonies in association with Tea-Whisk, a young company run by certified tea ceremony teacher Souheki Mori and her husband, Junya.
The Moris and Globus have a passion for introducing the beauty of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony to people living in New York. In the gorgeous space provided by Globus, Souheki Mori goes through the precise steps of the tea ceremony that have been handed down from generation to generation, which she practiced for more than 15 years. Yet Mori doesn’t want the process to be intimidating for novice participants, so she encourages guests to ask her questions, relax, and enjoy the moment.
Part of Globus’s goal of introducing Japanese culture to New Yorkers is to form partnerships with local Japanese-related companies such as Tea-Whisk. Another is Miya Shoji, the high-end furniture and shoji screen store that built Globus Washitsu and Chashitsu using materials imported from Japan. With Globus’s vision, Miya Shoji recreated the Japanese tearoom. By stepping inside one is transported straight to Japan and the time of Sen no Rikyu, the man who had the most profound influence on the concept of the tea ceremony.
At a recent sakura-themed tea ceremony performed by Mori at KeiSui-An, Globus introduced the small group to yet another collaborator, Katsuya Nishimori of the floral design shop Florisity. Nishimori provided a stunning arrangement of fresh cherry blossoms that allowed guests to enjoy two of Japan’s time-honored traditions: the tea ceremony and o-hanami, cherry blossom viewing.
In addition to tea ceremonies, Globus is starting an artist-in-residence program. Shakuhachi player Akihito Obama was one of the first participants, staying in Globus’s ryokan-style apartment and performing an intimate concert at KeiSui-An. As of yet there is no formal application process for the artist-in-residence program, and Globus continues to define the parameters. The program is one more way for Globus to open his tatami mat rooms to the public for the full appreciation and enjoyment of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture.
Globus created Washitsu and Chashitsu to encourage dialogue between Japanese people and Westerners in New York. As a result, he truly has created an oasis in the city.
For more information on upcoming tea ceremonies and other events at KeiSui-An, “like” the Globus Washitsu Facebook page.