Tea Ceremony Experience

I enjoyed participating in the tea ceremony experience last week. This event was hosted by the local government and the local tea ceremony club for both international and domestic people. It has been held several times through the year as an international exchange event. People from China and Thailand joined it this time, and we had a good time together.

As you know, tea ceremony is one of Japanese traditional cultures. It is called “sado” in Japanese. I’d like to explain about it today.

The spirit of tea ceremony is based on Zen Buddhism. As Zen was known in Japan, the tea ceremony became popular in 13th century. After that, “wabi-cha”, austere beauty, was invented by Sen-no-Rikyu who was one of the most famous tea masters in Japan in 16th century; which became the origin of tea ceremony today.

In a tea ceremony, a tea master invites guests and serves Japanese traditional tea called “matcha” following the traditional way. The master of the tea ceremony must prepare not only tea but also tea implements, flowers, confectionery and so on, to entertain guests. In spite of a tea ceremony is held in a tea room, the master takes care of a garden outside. And guests try to feel a thought for hospitality and appreciate it when having tea.

Before having Japanese tea, you will be served Japanese confectionery first at a tea ceremony. They are usually traditional and seasonal sweets that much with bitter green tea perfectly. You pick it and place on a piece of paper called “kaishi” in Japanese. The sweet is beautiful so that you can enjoy its appearance as well as its taste.

Then the tea master makes the tea and serves it to you. You will pick the tea bowl with your right hand, put it on your left hand, turn it twice clockwise, and enjoy drinking the tea.

“Sado”, tea ceremony, is based on the spirit of Japanese hospitality.

Well, there are many tea cultures all over the world. For example, afternoon tea in United Kingdom is one of them. People enjoy light meal with tea before dinner.Or dim sum in China, that is also eating snacks while drinking tea. I think it is one of tea cultures, too.

I like English tea, Chinese tea as same as Japanese tea. When I went to Hong Kong, I visited an authentic tea shop. The owner made various kinds of Chinese tea in a traditional way. It was a great experience for me!

Well, what about your country? What kind of tea do you usually drink? If you have a unique tea culture in your country, please let me know.

And when you come to Japan, a tea ceremony experience is highly recommended. It is my pleasure to guide you to those places. I’d like you to enjoy having Japanese sweet, tea, and feeling Japanese traditional culture.

Thank you for reading my blog.
See you!

Yoko Yoshida, a member of iTWS japan LLP

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