I have recently read a couple of interesting books “Samurai Williams: The adventurer who unlock Japan” and “The Tale of Murasaki: A Novel.”
Both books talk about remarkable historical figures, who have had a significant impact in shaping Japan’s identity as such. And to my surprise, in both books, the “Japanese tea ceremony” is mentioned, almost as a coincidence.
So, I decided to join a “Japanese tea ceremony” to experience this ritual first hand. And my scepticism was overthrown by the sacred atmosphere that surrounded the room as an invisible veil had covered it all leaving only our naked souls exposed to what whatever might happened.
I was first, presented with some sweets to help me stand the bitterness of the tea. They were hand-made, beautifully-shapen and, as I confirmed later, nectar of Gods.
Then, the preparation of the tea itself begun, a girl, whose skin resembles the white snow of Akita, with gracious and precise movements started folding and stretching a piece of cloth. Such movements had the audience in a trance. We all fell under the spell of her. She pours tea powder into a bowl and whisks it with intensity and reverence. Then she slowly pours water into the bowl.
Once she finishes with the preparation, a handsome young man passes the bowls around.
He sits the bowl before you and reverently bows before leaving. We turn the cup three times clockwise. And drink the tea in three gulps.
I feel as if a spell has been broken and I can hear the traffic sounds, and people outside in the street again.
I’m asked to eat the sweets I had been given previously, a very polite reminder that it was time to leave.
Life goes on.