One fine day in winter, my friends and I were invited to tea gathering. Masako conducted the tea ceremony at her own tea room in her house. Most guests have a long experience of hosting a tea ceremony. I was a little nervous at first, but they kindly instructed me how to proceed and had a great time.
JAPANESE TEA GATHERING
It was conducted in the follwoing order :
Obento box lunch ➡ Guests attend the tea ceremony at the tearoom ➡ Appreciate the hanging scroll and flowers ➡Appreciate kettle and charcoal. ➡ Master enters the room with tea container and tea bowl. ➡ Master begins practice ➡ Master offers to take sweets ➡ Japanese sweets were served ➡ Koicha (thick, richly-colored powdered green tea) served ➡ Appreciated tea cup and other utensils ➡ Dried confectionery served ➡ Usucha (light green matcha tea) served.
First we had Obento box lunch at the living room and chat over lunch box. Main topic of the conversation was coronavirus! After lunch we attended the ceremony at the master’s tearoom upstairs.
While Masako was preparing the Koicha (richly-colored powdered green tea), we enjoyed Japanese sweets, Sakura Mochi, a sweet pink rice cake filled with red bean past.
The master made the appropriate choice of confectionary for us, as cherryblossom is almost in season now. It was sweet and delicious! Then we tasted thick tea. After tasting a tea, we appreciated tea cup and utensils in turns.
Next dried confectionary, salty cookies, were served to us while Masako was preparing light green tea. Normally, dried confectionary is eaten when partaking of light green tea, fresh confectionary is provided with the fuller-bodied green tea.
It was a refreshing and pleasant time with new friends. By engaging in formal act of serving and receiving tea, our mind and spirit is refreshed, and gain insight into the cultural and social dimensions of Chanoyu.