[Cultural Exchange] Japanese Tea Ceremony (茶道)

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
[Throwback] Another throw back post dated back in late November where I went for the Japanese Tea ceremony class which was part of the hands on experience from my cultural class.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Upon arriving at the Japanese Tea ceremony class site at Ootsuka, which was actually housed inside a private apartment just like the flower arrangement class. Looks like you can actually convert your living accommodation to an office space if you are living in a privately developed place.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
The owner of the school is a spirited old lady above 70. Here’s the link to the school in the event you are interested to have some alternative experience if you ever visit Tokyo. We paid 2000JPY per person for the 1.5 hours class which was thoroughly enjoyable and I admit that I did learn lots.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
First off, before we start we would have the greeting and the obligatorily bow.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Off we go to the roof top garden, be careful of the entrance as it was built really low as in the past Japanese were much shorted. (As I am typing this, I remembered how painful it was for me when I knocked against the entrance when exiting, ouch!)

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
It was a beautiful day then with blue sky and red maple leaves.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
First, we start off by washing our selves like our mouths and hands at this stone basin that was infront of the special tea house. This is to cleanse yourself before you enjoy the art of the tea ceremony.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Next you take off your shoes and crawl through the small door into the special tea house.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Upon entrance, you would stop to marvel at the art piece and flowers on display at the floor bed. The flowers displayed are usually those of season and the arts hanged could have some meaning. For example ours was to mean 一期一會。

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
You have to use special tissue paper for the tea ceremony so Japanese ladies have this special pouch that held a small fan (can be used during the warm weather) and the special tissue paper where it is for your to wipe your hand and mouth and also served as a plate for the dessert.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
First they would serve a really sweet dessert before they start making the tea. You would hold the plate of dessert and show it to the person sitting on your left and say, Sorry I would eat first. The person on your left would say, please go ahead. Then you move the plate of dessert back to infront of you and take it out and place it on your special tissue paper. Then you pass the plate of dessert to the person on your left.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
After we were done with our dessert, the lady boss started making tea for us which was a delightful sight of cultural spirit.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
After she was done with making the tea, she would serve it in front of the guest. The guest does not drink it immediately but to rotate the bowl in clockwise direction for 3 times before drinking it. After drinking, the guest would use her thumb and index finger to wipe off any tea traces from the bowl (then clean your fingers on the tissue paper). Next the guest would proceed to admire the bowl, which usually is a piece of porcelain art before returning it.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Even the tea powder container was said to be really expensive and of historical value.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Then we proceed to crawl out of the little tea house and made our way back to the main room.

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Here we are served lighter tasted desserts (it was tough trying to shake out only 2 candy balls…..)

Japanese Tea Ceremony Class
Learning out how to stir the tea right. MY conclusion was, leave it to the professionals. There was a distinct taste between her tea and mine. LOLx

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