T is for Tea

To be fair, I switched the topic of today’s A to Z Challenge post from what I had originally planned it to be, but only because today, coincidentally, two books on tea ceremony arrived at my door, not unexpectedly, I should add. When I get the idea for a story, the first thing I’m likely to do is hop on Amazon and buy a bunch of books about whatever it is I’m planning to write about. For research purposes. Yes. Really, any excuse to buy more books is fine with me. I am finding, though, that my collection of non-fiction books about Japan and Japanese culture is growing rather large. I can’t help but wonder if this will continue when we move back to Canada, or if it will peter out with distance.

In any case, last weekend Alex and I were invited out to attend a tea ceremony at Kitano Tenmangu and while sitting in seiza and trying desperately to focus on the ritual and ignore the burning pain in my legs, a spark of an idea came to me. The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a lot like many of the martial arts I’ve practiced. There’s a strong concentration on virtues like beauty, respect and attention to detail. The intricate way every motion is carried out adds the same sort of spiritual flair I’m used to in budo. Alex and I took a single class in tea ceremony years back when we first moved here, but though the class was very affordable, it was sadly too far away from where we lived to make it a regular thing, so sadly, we don’t have many Stories from a Tearoom Window to share with you. Not yet, anyway. Give me a few months and I might have something decently slashed and edited enough to be allowed into the public eye.

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16 thoughts on “T is for Tea

  1. It might not be directly in point but have you read the Hare with the Amber Eyes which has a collection of Netsuke at its centre? It is a great read as well as incorporating a degree of Japanese culture.

  2. I was fascinated by the tea ceremony when I was in Japan and sat (uncomfortably) through three of them. The beauty of the stylized motions entranced me, and I wish I had time to learn them.

  3. Not Japanese – but there used to be a Chinese tea shop in Glasgow with a huge menu and a ritualised way of serving each type of tea. John later bought some sort of set of implements which sit in splendour in the dining room as we have no idea what to do with them! The shop didn’t last long, possibly we were the only people to go there.

    • Another cool Glasgow building disappears. ;__; you’re not going to have a town soon! I don’t know anything about Chinese tea, but I’m not immune from buying interesting cultural things that I have no idea how to use. There’s this really cool international homeware shop near our house that sells things from all over the world. Alex and I go there all the time and buy things we have no idea about. They just look neat. 😛

    • As long as you do everything everyone else does, you’re fine. We went with someone who studies under the teacher who was performing the ceremony, so we were pretty set, but the other tea ceremonies we’ve been to, we pretty much just sat and watched and when we were given our tea and our snacks we drank and ate and that was it.

  4. Strange perhaps coming from an Englishman but I can’t stand tea in any of its guises. I just can’t drink the stuff.
    Trekking in Tibet a few years ago, we stayed in tea houses along the route, and even through it was incredibly cold at nights, I had to sleep with the window open, the smell was just too much.

    • I understand. I’m a coffee woman myself, and my partner is into the tea. I suppose hot bitter water has its advantages… but I haven’t found them yet.

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