Thursday, November 25, 2004

Tea Ceremony Club

I had Tea Ceremony Club (chado-bu?) after school today.

I kind of look forward to it as a kind of relaxation and 'zen' time-out time after school. Although now it's getting colder and a lot darker earlier, it doesn't seem as tempting. But as soon as I get into the 'zen' mode, I'm always glad I ended up going.

Today was particularly eventful. Tea-sensei looked gorgeous, as always, in a stunning kimono, perfect hair and gentle smile. She gave me a present! It was a 'fukusa-basami' - a tea purse which you use to carry your 'sensu' (fan), 'fukusa' (silk cloth used in the making of tea) and 'kaishi' (delicate paper used for eating sweets). It was so pretty. Apparently all the tea ceremony girls get one and Tea-sensei made them herself using the cloth from one of her old kimonos! Now that's authentic for you!

I was also taught how to pour and make the tea. I even got to wear the special apron (which was a crossover halterneck-like top - think playboy bunny outfit and that's about it). One of the 3rd year girls taught me while Tea-sensei was teaching one of the 2nd year girls. My tea was green, hot and frothy - yummy! We also had these delicious red bean jelly-like slices to compliment the tea. The setting was perfect, so tranquil and peaceful...that is until the band club started going. The tatami room has beautiful old-skool, Japanese paper sliding doors and when the windows are open you can hear the band club practising in the other building. So there we were making and drinking tea when the silence was broken by the opening bass beats of Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby (too cold! too cold! hahaha). I nearly choked on my tea as I couldn't help but burst out laughing. It turned out to be another song but I swear the opening chords were identical.

I had found out that all the previous ALT's at my school were part of the ESS club and the Tea Ceremony club, so naturally I think it was assumed that I would do the same. Ofcourse ESS, it being the English Speaking Society club, but I first had doubts about Tea Ceremony club. I mean sure, I've done tea ceremony before but I didn't think it was such a big deal. But now after being accepted as one of the club members and learning all the intricate motions and amazing form that is 'the way of tea' - I love it!

I even have a book entitled "English for use in 'the way of tea'" which helps me so much in learning what to do and say. There are so many rules to learn and remember, such as how to enter a room, how to cross the tatami with which foot, how to bow, when to speak, how to speak, how to observe and appreciate the flowers and cups, how to fold the 'fukusa'..etc..

Some education from my book kids (as it's written word for word):

The Way of Tea os one of Japan's cultural traditions.

In Japan, a highly developed spiritual culture has matured through a bowl of powdered green tea.

I will be happy if you are able to feel the heart of chado behind the form or procedure of drinking tea.

The basic principles of chado are expressed in the words harmony, respect, purioty and tranquility.

In chado, spiritual purity is essential.

By learning chado, we seek to obtain an ultimate peace of mind.

The Grand Tea Master* teachers the thought of "Peacefulness through a Bowl of Tea."

Chado is also deeply influenced by Zen thought.

The spirit of chado is universal.

*Speaking of the Grand Tea Master. It reminds me of one music show I watched on TV. It was hillarious! It was a rap, hip-hop group which b-boys breakdancing and guys in ninja outfits and the MC was called Sir Scratch-a-lot! hahaha the DJ behind was on the decks and there was this huge mofo vinyl spinning around projected on the wall and he was pretending to scratch it. Then to finish it, they all got into a line and joined arms to do the electric wave thing. I couldn't stop laughing - it was simply classic.

Okay back to tea.

love & antioxidants


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