By Yoko Ishii
August 30, 2020 (IANSlife) The Japanese Tea Ceremony, also known as the Way of Tea, is a more than just a ritual practice of a set of rules laid down by Japanese Tea Masters during the 16th century. It is one of the Japanese arts of refinement and several schools are dedicated around the world, to teaching the true principle of the tea ceremony - harmony, respect, purity, and tranquillity.
The ceremony epitomizes peace and harmony which centres around the guest. It is believed that the meeting the guest is a special occasion and it maybe a once in a lifetime opportunity which may never be repeated. As a disciple of the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, I have been committed to spreading the intricacies of this art form ever since I was in the University in Tokyo, Japan many years ago. Allow me to take your through the steps of this wonderful ceremony to which I have gladly dedicated a large part of my life.
An invitation needs to be sent to the guest preceding the ceremony.
The tableware and homeware which will be used during the sublime event are handpicked and an accompanying meal is planned and prepared depending on the time of the day and season of the year on which the ceremony is hosted.
The tea room and surrounding areas are thoroughly cleaned before the guest arrives. When the guests arrive, they are welcomed graciously with careful attention paid to the comfort and delight of the guest. The door of the tea room is ceremonially opened and the guests enter the room.
The meal or an array of sweets are presented to the guests depending upon the solemnity of the occasion and the time at which the ceremony is being conducted.
The implements which were selected beforehand are then displayed before the attendees. We take great care to maintain this order of presentation:
We first present the Mizusashi, or cold-water vessel. Then we bring in the Furo, a small stove made of clay.
Next, we introduce the Chawan or tea bowl followed by the Chasen or handcrafted bamboo tea whisk, and the Chashaku which is a handcrafted bamboo tea scoop used to measure and place the tea in the bowl.
We then present the Natsume or tea container. Lastly, we bring the Kama or kettle.
We then begin to make the tea, and the one who prepares the tea is called Teishu, who enters into a tranquil and meditative state of mind to make the perfect cup of tea; this brings a sense of peace and balance to the entire ceremony and the guests.
Makaibari Tea is very popular in Japan for its refined and aromatic flavour and aroma. As the tea ceremony has been created to make the guest feel special and welcome, we often serve Makaibari Tea to our guests, students and visitors. They appreciate and like the tea very much. They are always curious to know the origins of this tea as its delicate feel is very desirable in Japan.
The tea ceremony needs to culminate into feelings of serenity, harmony and tranquillity in our guests. People from across cultures, religions and linguistic backgrounds are drawn to the Japanese Tea Ceremony as they experience genuine quietness of the soul and peace in their hearts. Makaibari Tea instils the qualities of stillness and calmness on the mind of our guests and also brings about harmony.
I hope that my endeavour to introduce you to my Japanese tradition of the tea ceremony has been successful. I have done my best to adhere to this marvellous custom and I sincerely do hope that someday the Japanese Tea Ceremony can be experienced in its true form by you.
For those who are interested in understanding the subtleties and preferences of Japanese tea in your home country, I would encourage you to try the Tokyo Blend available on www.luxmiteain. It is a lovely whole leaf green tea from Makaibari Tea Estate and tastes fresh and delicate, earthy with hints of rice and corn. This tea has devoted connoisseurs in Japan even though we harvest some of the finest green teas on the planet.
The writer Ms. Yoko Ishii is President of Makaibari Japan Company
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