- May 29, 2015
This is another extra piece on what has been going on outside classes.
On 20 May, we had the cooperation of the Hosei Chanoyu Club, an official university circle, in holding a tea ceremony for the Erasmus students. Participants were the four Erasmus students, and their student acquaintances.
The tea-ceremony room is a space where Japanese people feel at ease, yet it seemed to them rather an exotic place, and when the sliding doors were closed, they joked that they had been shut away somewhere unknown...!
The tea ceremony begins with the serving of okashi, Japanese cakes. The cakes served on this occasion portrayed goldfish swimming in water. They were cakes giving a sense of cool that befitted the season of approaching summer. Japanese cakes are of course to be enjoyed for their taste, but they are also for enjoying with the eyes. Their were voices among the Erasmus students exclaiming that they had never seen such beautiful cakes.
Then came tea. When we drink the tea, we turn the design on the tea bowl away from us so that we do not touch it with our lips. Although this is an awkward movement, they successfully put these manners into practice. It is also the rule that wrist watches should be removed for the ceremony. This is to enable the tea master and guests to value the time they are spending together, unconscious of the ticking of actual time. On hearing this explanation, the students were happy to comply.
After the real tea ceremony, and special to this occasion, the students were allowed to try making tea by themselves using bamboo whisks. It is extremely difficult to create the fine froth in the tea, and they greatly admired the ability of the club member instructing them. Having tried a taste of the tea they themselves had prepared, the ceremony came to a close.
The scroll that was hanging during this tea ceremony read "Ichi-go ichi-e", which means, "treasure every encounter, as it will never recur". For the Erasmus students and their first experience of the Japanese chanoyu (way of tea), this occasion of the tea ceremony might prove one such encounter.