Today, I had the chance to experience one of these "imports": the traditional tea ceremony.
Today's ceremony was in honor of Tanabata. At the risk of seeming like a Japanaphile tourist, I will say that it was really a wonderful experience (apart from having to sit seiza for 20 minutes, which was nearly impossible for me).. There were so many rules to the ceremony itself and of course I didn't know any of them. The majority of Japanese people who haven't studied the art of the tea ceremony don't know much about these rules either. Two of the women I went with today today me that this was their second time attending a tea ceremony ever in their lives. And they were born and raised in Okinawa (and they are from my parents generation). Some people study tea ceremony their entire lives. It's a beautiful art form. The elements of Zen are in every movement and every visual aspect of the ceremony itself. It's very cleansing.
|The cookie has a fan pattern imprinted on it.|
Wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets beautifully designed) are served before the matcha and compliment each other (sweet and bitter). I couldn't eat the wagashi unfortunately.
|Receiving the tea and then bowing in acceptance of it.|
|Hibiscus in the ceremony room. Viewing the flowers is part of the performance.|
|Cleaning up after the ceremony.|