Tea Ceremony and Arashiyama

Today I’ve been to a chadō ceremony with my ceramics class. which stands for Way of the Tea , traditional tea ceremony. The event took place in a traditional center of some kind, about 4 subway stops from the closest subway to my dorm. I know this because i took a subway back from there. but in order to get there i joined two more girls to a cheerful drive in the teacher’s car. One of them was the TA, the other just didn’t know where that center was, like me.  phew.

The place was very Japanese. At the entrance, a nice toothless grandpa with a lot of free time stopped us for a conversation(/lecture) about how Japanese the place is. he wasn’t even a staff or anything. He talked and talked, and our TA did her best being engaged.  Then he said it’s great to have pretty ladies coming to visit the place, and he looked at me as if I was a fine vase of flowers.

Inside we met the rest of the group, even though all Japanese they all looked a bit anxious to the old setting. Three Kimono wearing ladies directed us to sit at a long table. I do not want to sound egoistic, but I think they were a bit surprised to see me.
From one side of the table set the “guests/customers”, from the other the “hosts”. when the host side realized what they were, they looked a bit more anxious. In front of them, there were all the tea making and ceramics things. very elegantly organized.
I was a customer in the first round. but I wasn’t very good at it. I was the only one who didn’t eat the okashi served.  some other ‘customers’ stuffed the thing in their mouth, wanting to be done with the necessary step. but I just didn’t. bad customer. I did bow to my host though.
The Kimono lady at the head of the table was talking and talking, explaining how to thank for the thing before eating it, how to eat it, how to thank after eating it, and how to very carefully and gracefully take care of your napkin after you are done.

At some very early point of the whole thing, even before i became a host, i noticed how all the people in the room were waiting for me to make mistakes. i received a very special treatment. Our teacher placed herself behind me, watching every movement i made, she even asked me if i was alright, twice. Our TA who sat to my right was having loads of fun showing me how to do it all the right way, even when it was very unnecessary.
Which was funny for two main reasons. first, the whole point of the tea ceremony is to have a relaxing cup of tea. second, most of my classmates were doing no better than I did. but I’m not offended or anything, it was quite charming of them to care.

Anyway now I’m going to skip to an unrelated event from almost two weeks ago! please keep up with it.

Arashiyama, a really lovely, much less crowded part of Kyoto.

excited baby

I love these things.

control your fire

god of the mountain 

An empty Shinto shrine,  not a soul was there.  These were pretty little stones, just resting there. Each comes in a nice little bag. It says each one costs 300 yen and there is a place to leave your money at, you know what to do.
I doubt this deal would work in Israel 🙂
Same principle only with vegetables. Nobody is there, take the vegetable, leave the money in the basket. We trust you.


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