Japanese Culture：From Japan to the World
Many of you who are studying Japanese may also have an interest in Japanese culture. Responding to such needs, We Japanese Languages School offers cultural experience sessions that enrich your language learning experiences. In today’s post we’ll have a look at one of those courses, the “sadō (Japanese tea ceremony) session”, which is very popular amongst our students.
■ The tea room and the theme of the session
Each tea gathering has a specific theme.
For instance, the theme of this session is “Hinamatsuri”, a special Girls’ Day celebrated every year on the 3rd of March. Oda-sensei, our professional sadō teacher, prepares a “kakejiku”, or scroll painting, that matches the theme of that session. The message on the scroll pictured here wishes all children good health and happiness.
Also ones you see in front are peach and canola flowers. Such pink and yellow color nicely convey the essence of the festival.
Unfortunately, We doesn’t have its own tea room or “tokonoma” (alcove), but according to Oda-sensei, any space can transform into a tea room if there is a befitting theme for the guests and the season.
The spirit of Japanese hospitality, or “omotenashi”, is what counts!
■ Sweets and bowls
Sakura-flavored rice cakes and cubic rice crackers.
Today’s featured dish is “ochatsuke” (tea broth with rice) in line with the theme we are introducing. The dish has a refined sweetness which goes very well with a mildly bitter green tea.
Preparing and sipping the tea
First, the “chasen” (tea whisk) is used to gently mix the “matcha” (green tea powder), and tea until the powder is well dissolved. Then, the chasen is whisked back and forth very quickly until the tea is prepared.
At the very end, the whisk should be raised from the surface of the tea in a circular motion. The tea is now ready to be sipped.
The most important thing when preparing tea is to put your heart into it！(^_^)/
You can show your appreciation for the tea by raising the tea bowel slightly before you sip.
You can also express how delicious the tea was by making a sipping sound while you drink the last drop.
Showing gratitude through subtle actions rather than words – perhaps this is a uniquely Japanese value.
Useful expressions for tea ceremonies
|お招きありがとうございます。||Omaneki arigato-gozaimasu.||“Thank you very much for inviting me.”|
|楽しみにして参りました。||Tanoshiminishite mairimashita.||“I have been looking forward to meeting you.”|
|お心遣いに感謝いたします。||Okokoro-zukaini kansya-itashimasu.||“I really appreciate your hospitality.”|
|すっかり楽しませていただきました。||Sukkari tanoshimasete-itadakimashita.||“I have enjoyed from the bottom of my heart.”|
Showing consideration for others
|お先に失礼いたします。||Osakini shitsurei-itashimasu.||“Excuse me for going before you.”|
|お相伴いたします。||Osho-ban itashimasu.||“I will join you.”|
|お茶をいただきます。||Ocha-o itadakimasu.||“Thank you for the tea.”|
|季節にピッタリですね！||Kisetsuni pittari-desune.||“Oh, it is just in season!”|
|綺麗なお菓子ですね！||Kireina okashi-desune.||“What a beautiful sweets!”|
|本当に素晴らしいですね！||Honto-ni subarashii-desune.||“This is fabulous! “|
With the aroma of incense and fresh tea in the air, our tea ceremony session was a fabulous success! By taking part in Japan’s traditional arts you can forget the hustle and bustle of the city; it’s sure to relax you and leave you with a warm feeling. We look forward to seeing you at We’s cultural experience sessions where you can have a first hand experience of Japanese culture and traditions. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the Japanese tea ceremony while meeting Japanese students – an opportunity that is not to be missed!