We had a New Year’s tea ceremony workshop last weekend! We offered a three day program for this workshop to learn more about the Japanese beauty built through traditional tea ceremony culture. Next one will be on February 15th.
All attendees learned more from the teacher about “Omotenashi spirit” than we had expected. In the above picture you see camellia, green bamboo log and willow. The teacher prepared (cuttings etc) and brought them to the lesson room in the morning on the day of the workshop to welcome attendees with an “Omotenashi spirit”. We actually had more than one hour for preparation, but it wasn’t enough!! Was hard to welcome guests with an Omotenashi spirit!!
I am a total beginner when it comes to tea ceremony. I helped the teacher to prepare for the workshop. But you know what? Under normal circumstances, it is unheard of that anyone not experienced in tea ceremony would help the teacher – I was told and felt lucky to have such a good experience! I didn’t even know that it is prohibited to touch a kettle (as in photo above) with bare hands because it may cause rust. In spite of limited preparation time, she explained everything step by step.
Thank you, Nameki sensei!
Poured hot water and setting completed!
Now it’s time to start. The teacher explained the meaning of a tearoom, how to bow and greeting formally, how to open a fusuma (Japanese style door in a tatami room), and how to use chop sticks “beautifully”.
This is called “Hanabira Mochi” which is eaten in Kyoto only at New Year’s time. A stick-like shape of burdock root filled with miso bean jam. It looks so tender in color, doesn’t it? We also had some dry sweets!
This tea is called “Oh-buku-cha” with gold powder, and is also only drank during special tea ceremonies around New Year’s time in Kyoto!
The teacher was mixing tea quickly.
Creamy! (This is mine. Bubbles should disappear…)
In my opinion, we can tell you about the heart of Japanese people without the tea ceremony culture. And even for us, this workshop gave us a deeper understanding of the tea world. We learned so many things, too many to list! We are so glad that all attendees had such a fun time!
Many people, especially younger generations, think that learning tea ceremony requires high levels of entry because of very strict traditional rules. Our teacher is full of enthusiasm to share the knowledge of tea ceremony among young people, so she allows a casual attitude during lesson time. We could enjoy her lesson from the heart!
She also teaches tea ceremony to elementary school students, and she says they do better than adults! Can you imagine that little girls and boys make tea beautifully to welcome you? If you have the chance to visit Japan, don’t forget to experience traditional Japanese tea ceremony!