I have been quite lucky, and I will tell you why… 🙂
Because I have been to a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Yay…!
If any of you think that a British Tea Party is some serious business, you might want to rethink that, once you’ve been to a Japanese Tea Ceremony.
The British one is a party to begin with, on the other hand… the Japanese one is a ceremony… as in… ceremony. 🙂
Apparently, there’s no special occasion for having a tea ceremony. Such ceremony is more of a hobby thing. Meaning: some Japanese-traditions-&-heritage-aficionados will get together and carry out the tea ceremony. Sadly not many Japanese youngsters are interested in continuing the traditions but the elderly would normally do so.
To give y’all a rough picture on how serious this is… The personnel who were to serve (and attend) a proper Japanese tea ceremony should take a full course/study on how to do it right.
Yup…! A course about drinking tea… (so stop whining about your French or tennis course! *Lol) 😀
Now let me begin describing… I won’t get too detail. No worries here… 🙂
- Before it all started, the guests will be provided with some Japanese traditional little snacks –to be had before drinking the tea.
- Once started, the master of the tea ceremony must prepare the powdered green tea in a cup –that looks like a small bowl (no handle on the cup). A pinch of this powder is mixed with some hot water and then whisked gently (with a delicate bamboo whisk) until it forms some froth (no sugar at all! Eeeek….) 🙂
- The master will hand the prepared tea cup to the guest, and the guest must receive it with both hands (using only 1 hand is out of the question, and you’ll be out of the window :D). Both hands must hold the cup in a particular way with left hand at the bottom of the cup, and right hand at the side of the cup.
- The guest will then turn the tea cup twice –clockwise, and look at the master.
- The master will say “Please”.
- The guest can drink the tea. Strictly speaking, the entire tea in the cup must be gobbled down within 3 sips (or 3 gulps depending on how full the cup is :D), and at the last sip (or gulp) the guest must make a ‘slurping’ noise –to be polite… as in showing the master that the tea is delicious! 🙂
- Once finished, the guest will wipe the rim of the cup (where the lips have touched) with their right thumb. Then, the guest should turn the empty cup twice –still clockwise, and then return the cup back to the master.
That is how it’s done in a nutshell. *bloody hell* would be the right expression if you’re amazed by it. 🙂
But it is a lot more complicated in real life… I know I make it sound too simple here (I hope my Japanese friends won’t start flattening my car tyres for my clumsy explanation of their custom. :-))
The point is… it is not just about drinking tea. It is about how socially accomplished you are. It is about relishing the entire activity. It is about enjoying the serving of the tea. It is about connecting with the cup (yes, it is… :-)). It is about respecting one another.
Now compare this with the Indonesian way of making tea… 😀
The Indonesians will put a whole lot of tea leaves into some boiling water in a big pan, and then add some monstrous amount of sugar into it. Stir well. Then add big blocks of ice. Stir well. Then put some of the tea into 1 litre plastic bags, drop a piece of plastic straw in each bag, and then tie the opening of the plastic bags with rubber-bans.
There you have it…! Best served chilled and drunken while walking down by some hot busy road in Jakarta. *Lol. 😀
I am blessed to ever experience such a thing like a Japanese tea ceremony. It was lots of fun… lots of it…! Such a day couldn’t have been better… It just couldn’t… 🙂
Dian Retno Wulandari. Life is sweet, even without sugar sometimes…
PS: Happy birthday to Inoh Chung Ryu. Thanks to Mika Hattori, Fumi Shigetta, and Keiko Mapperley for the experience. Thanks to the host Michelle Potin, and other attendees: Dorcas, Erie, Darunee, Rubaba, Farina, Grace.
PS: Happy Chinese new year… Gong Xi Fa Cai…!