"If man has no tea in him,
he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty."
-- Japanese Proverb
"a Japanese ceremony consisting of the serving and taking of tea in accordance with an elaborate ritual"
|once upon a japanese tea ceremony in fukui-shi|
this afternoon, i took a very short break and attended a summer tea ceremony. we ate mochi and drank green tea, prepared and served according to japanese tradition.
by observation, i learned some key points...
they bow every time they approach to serve or to retrieve items from the guest, the guest acknowledges every time with a bow
they turn the tea bowl 2, 3 times before serving the tea to the guest, the guest does the same before and after drinking -- this has everything to do with aesthetics and not superstition
the guest who gets served first receives his tea in the most valuable bowl. with significance comes great pressure because all eyes are on this guest (trick: know where to sit and avoid the first chair. for this matter, know which is the "first" chair.)
the teapot, the tea whisk, the tea cups, all have their stories. all things related to the tea ceremony, including the chabana (tea flower arrangement) and the wall decor (calligraphic scroll), are meticulously chosen and done.
the host is usually female. it is a rare occasion when a male is the master of the tea ceremony.
the hosts don't just master the art, skills, grace, and discipline required to perform the various tasks that they do, they also speak with a higher degree of politeness -- definitely more polite compared to the already polite japanese form (there's "casual form" for everyday conversation with friends and equals, there's polite form, and there are also more polite forms.) because the tea ceremony is also about respect, the guests are expected to adhere to this level of politeness and exhibit social finesse.
lastly, i can't serve tea the japanese way. i just have ideas on what the hosts and guests do. even for the role of mere guest, i still have a lot to learn about the tea ceremony. this goes with saying that a whole lot more is expected from me if i were to be a host.