Friday, August 31, 2012

Homegrown Tea Ceremony

    Yesterday was a special day for Prissy and I.  We had a homegrown Japenese tea ceremony in our yard. We were hoping to be able to use the tea house at the Botanical Garden during the Japanese Festival in St. Louis but Prissy is on a tight schedule and had to leave for her next stop.

     We did make do though and although it wasn't the perfect ceremony it was very special for us.  St. Louis' own kimono-san, also known as the Garden Geisha (and my daughter) performed the ceremony for us.  Believe it or not, I have never been able to attend the yearly ceremony at Shaw's Garden so this was Prissy and my first experience.

     Prissy and I really enjoyed this ceremony.  Prissy of course had been coached and practiced her part before we began.  I really enjoyed learning about each part of the ceremony.  Every implement involved has a special meaning and every move made by the tea master is very precise.

          The ceremony began with a tray of sweets,  this was a single strawberry sliced into thirds and skewered with a special bamboo "fork" which looked a bit like a ships or.  Next  the implements that would be used to make the tea were purified with hot water.  This also serves to warm the bowl and soften the bamboo whisk.

     The special bamboo spoon used to take tea from the tea caddy is made of a single piece of bamboo and symbolizes human form of the tea master and when it is being purified for the ceremony it also helps to purify the tea master and clear their mind of everything except the ceremony.

    The green macha tea was placed into the bowl very carefully and then the hot water was added.  Next the tea master whisked the tea and then offered it to me.  I was supposed to finish the tea in three swallows.  Can I just say - ewww nasty.  I obviously fail at tea ceremony, the taste of the macha was over powering and not to my liking at all.


          After the ceremony each item was again cleaned and the waste water was placed into a special bowl.

      Each item for the tea ceremony was carefully selected.  The tray was a five mountain tray (it had a gracefully curved edge that had five raised "hills" and was decorated with a plum colored flower motif.  The bowl used to serve the tea had a purple flower on the side.

      The kimono was plain and simple.   The motif was plum colored and the flowers on the butterfly were used for late summer early fall although it could be worn in early summer because of the plum blossoms.
The fan used to create a separation between the tea master and guest also matched kimono.

     My daughter is not a true tea master but has been learning from a tea master for a number of years and is very humble about hosting a tea ceremony.

     This was a very special experience that we shared together; one that I shall remember always.  My thanks to the Traveling Teapot and everyone that has made this possible.


Linda at Friendship Tea said...

Beautiful post! This was a very special time for The Traveling Teapot, your daughter and Matcha tea. I agree with you. Matcha Tea is not my thing.

Ingrid said...

Arigatou gozaimasu! Thank you so very much for this beautiful posting. What a delight, I love matcha tea, especially when I need a pick me up, quick and very efficient. But there is so much more to it, even done quickly, one still slows down to prepare it and the benefits of "eating" the tea is worth to start appreciating it's unique flavour profile.

It is quite an honour to be taught by a Sensei... congratulations to your daughter. Ingrid

Joyce said...

This was very interesting. Loved all the creative photos and the dialog/story writing was clever and fun! Thank you. Joyce Wilkens, author of book Teacup Art...and Reflections.

Marilyn said...

How lovely for this humble plum teapot to experience such a beautiful day of tea with you and your daughter. Every thing looked just perfect.

marthae said...

Another very special month for the little purple teapot!
Loved how your family enjoyed participating and sharing in its journey.
What a beautiful ceremony to end its time with you.

amherstrose said...

Such a special and meaningful time to share together.

I love the tea ceremony and always enjoy the calming nature of sharing tea in this setting.

Just beautiful.

Mary Jane