After the annual general meeting this morning, we moved to another location to have a tea ceremony workshop. Tea ceremony is the most popular cultural experience in Japan.
The theme of today’s tea gathering was “summer.” As I received an explanation about the consistent theme reflected in the entrance of the tearoom adorned with bamboo, seasonal flowers and hanging scrolls placed on the alcove, utensils, and sweets, it felt quite fascinating.
Let me briefly introduce the etiquette I learned as a review.
After entering the tearoom and waiting for a while, the host enters, and the ritual of preparing tea begins.
Once the Japanese sweet is served, you politely say “O-saki ni shitsurei shimasu (Pardon me for going ahead)” to the person next to you.
Then, you transfer the sweet onto the folded paper (Kaishi) in front of you, pick it up with the paper, and break it into an appropriate size. The sweet is enjoyed before drinking the tea.
Next, the tea is served. Again, you say “O-saki ni shitsurei shimasu (Pardon me for going ahead)” to the person next to you, place the tea bowl in front of yourself, and bow to the host.
Hold the tea bowl in your left hand, place your right hand beside it, rotate the tea bowl twice in a clockwise direction, and drink the tea with both hands. This is done to avoid touching your lips to the front of the bowl.
After finishing the tea, lightly trace the area you drank from with your right thumb and index finger, and wipe them with the Kaishi paper.
Then, rotate the tea bowl twice counterclockwise to return it to its original position, and place it back on the tatami mat. After appreciating the tea bowl, turn its front towards the host.
Even with the same tea, the one prepared with care and attention tastes much more delicious, doesn’t it?