What is tea ceremony?
Tea ceremony is the act of making matcha according to a set traditional etiquette and serving it to guests. Powdered matcha and hot water are placed in a bowl and stirred with a bamboo bamboo whisk.
The tea ceremony is more than just enjoying tea. It is also about the etiquette of entertaining guests, the space of the garden and tearoom, tea ceremony utensils and other artifacts, kaiseki cuisine, and all other artistic elements. It is one of the most popular forms of Japanese culture.
Wagashi (Japanese sweets) served with tea are also popular. Tea made with matcha (powdered green tea) has a slightly bitter taste, but wagashi (Japanese sweets) soften that bitterness.
"Ichigo Ichie", which expresses the spirit of the tea ceremony, means "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." It is filled with the heart that we should treat each other as a person we will never meet again, and offer the best possible hospitality.
Tea bowls are indispensable utensils used in the tea ceremony to serve powdered green tea. The tea ceremony is characterized by the custom of appreciating the tea bowl.
-Chasen (tea whisk)
This is a tool used for making Matcha. Metal and plastic tea whisks are also available.
-Natsume (tea caddy)
A type of tea utensil used for serving Matcha, named after its resemblance to jujube nuts.
-Sensu (folding fan)
A Sensu is used for greeting people.
Paper used to hold the sweets served at the tea ceremony. Plain white paper is preferable.
Etiquette in the tea room
In the tea ceremony, accessories and other decorations are removed before entering the tea room. This is an important way to avoid damaging tea utensils.
Next, enter the tea room, but bow first before entering the tea room. When entering or leaving, be sure to sit down before opening the shoji. When you enter, greet the host with "Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu.(Thank you for this ceremony.)"
When you receive sweets, take the sweets on a piece of kaishi paper. After taking sweets for yourself, greet the person in front of you by saying, "Sho-ban shimasu" (I will accompany you), and the person behind you by saying, "Osakini"(I got it earlier). Always use both hands to hold the bowl of confectionery.
Next, how to receive tea.
After bowing and saying, "Otemae Choudai Itashimasu"(Thank you for the tea), take the tea bowl with your right hand and place it on your left hand. The bowl should be turned 90 degrees so that the front of the bowl is facing you.
The tea is drunk in about three sips. When you have finished drinking the matcha, look at the tea bowl. Place the tea bowl on the tatami mat and admire it from a low position.
The tea ceremony has an image of being strict in its manners and high in its standards. However, by forgetting about time and immersing oneself in the slow and relaxed atmosphere of the occasion, not only the guests can open up to each other, but also the host and the guests. and by forgetting about time and immersing oneself in the atmosphere of the place, guests can open up to each other as well as to the master and his/her guests.
There are many places in Japan where you can experience the tea ceremony, so please try it.