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120627-12.jpg On the 27th of June, E Class held a tea ceremony (sadou), led by Tokui-sensei. The host (teishu), Tokui-sensei was dressed in a complete kimono ready to show everybody the way of tea. She was really beautiful!

Before the ceremony though, the class learnt of the history behind the tea ceremony, the tools of the trade, and the proper etiquette during the ceremony. Then on to the ceremony!

The tea ceremony normally goes like this:

- the tea is prepared by the host
- while the tea (ocha) is prepared, the guest has some sweets (wagashi). The sweets normally follow a theme, in this case the theme was summer (natsu)
- then the tea is served to the guest (okyakusama)
- before drinking the tea, the guest appreciates the tea bowl (chawan) and rotates it clockwise twice
- the guest drinks the tea, and the last sip is accompanied by a slurp, to signify the tea was delicious (oishii). then the tea bowl is rotated counter-clockwise twice
- the tea bowl is handed back to the host, and the host cleans up
- and finished!

What's interesting is, during the whole ceremony there isn't a lot of talking involved if compared to other tea or coffee drinking practices. The tea was delicious, but as some of the class discovered, a bit on the hot side! Please take your time, okay?

The sweets were delicious as well, but looked too good to eat! For example one was called Futatsu Boshi (Two Stars) symbolising Tanabata where the maiden Orihime and the prince Hikoboshi was separated by the Milky Way (Amanogawa) and could only meet on the 7th day of the 7th month every year. And on the sweet there were two stars, actually separated by a Milky Way of sprinkles! How sweet (pardon the pun) is that?

After the ceremony was finished, the class then got to try being the host for themselves, which proved to be not as easy as it looks. But everyone had a lot of fun, and it gave them a look into one of the most famous parts of Japanese culture and came out of it with a better understanding of what makes the Japanese spirit and way of life.

So with that said, put on your kimonos and hakamas, let's have a tea ceremony together next time!

Hareif from E Class

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