Japan: tea ceremony

This is the third post about Japan after the introductory and cuisine ones. Today I want to tell you about classic Japanese tea ceremony which I was lucky to participate in during my visit to Japan in Apr. 2010.It’s best to quote Wikipedia to give you an understanding of cultural meaning of tea ceremony in Japan:

Tea ceremony developed as a “transformative practice”, and began to evolve its own aesthetic, in particular that of wabi. Wabi, meaning quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste, “is characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry [emphasizing] simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and [celebrating] the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials

But let me show you the pictures from the one I actually experienced and provide few brief explanations.

The place itself was very beautiful with large windows to garden:

Japan: the place and nature

There are lots of rituals prior the ceremony itself but I will omit them for brevity.
Japan: tea ceremony, teapot

Before the beginning we were offered some traditional sweets:
Japan: tea ceremony sweets

This is the equipment that is used for tea preparation. Napkin is for cleaning the dishes which symbolizes the purification.
Japan: tea ceremony

I like the hand on the right:
Japan: teapot

We are being guided through the process of the right way to hold spoon, open container with tea and through all the other details:
Japan: tea ceremony

The tea that is used in tea ceremony is my beloved matcha, powdered green tea:
Japan: tea ceremony, matcha powder

After addition of hot water at about 50-60 degrees Celsius matcha needs to be stirred:
Japan: matcha stirring

That’s what you get as a result and finally drink:
Japan: tea ceremony, stirred matcha

Actually matcha itself is used in many other ways, including even cakes. Another but obviously less traditional way to drink is by combining it with milk. This is the combination that I enjoy on the picture below:

Japan: matcha with milk

Other posts about Japan:
1 post: First impressions and pictures;
2 post: Cuisine and food;
3 post: Tea ceremony;
4 post: Devil is in the detail;
5 post: Temples, palaces and gardens.

Hope, you enjoyed reading it!

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