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 the 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:
There are lots of rituals prior the ceremony itself but I will omit them for brevity.
Well, you need to be the Captain Obvious to state that Japan has a very original and delicious cuisine. Variety of fish and seafood, unusual soups, seaweed, sashimi and of course sushi. Everything is fresh and delicious. You will like it if you’re open-minded in the first place.
Fortunately, we had an opportunity to try it all: the authentic cuisine in the expensive traditional restaurants, cheap fast-food-like cafes and a regular bento (Japanese lunch box) in the shinkansen (Japanese high-speed train). And all were good.
My plans to visit Japan turned into reality! Thank you all for your recommendations! If I were to describe the trip in one word I would call it unforgettable. We usually slept for 4-7 hrs a night trying to experience as much as we could.
Let me answer expected questions right away. How did I get there? Well, have been a PhD student in Higher School of Economics during the last year and a half. As I surprisingly still didn’t get kicked out I decided to participate in the organization of the student exchange with the Japanese Masters and PhD students in June 2009. Took days off at work and helped guys to get around the city and see lots of cool things.
Then, there was a long delay with no news. So, I saved some money and vacation days at work. But after 10 months the reciprocal trip was organized! And it was organized on the breath-taking level!