Sunday, April 19, 2009

A traditional Japanese tea ceremony

Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are apparently hard to come by nowadays.  Luckily for us, my mom's old coworker invited us to one.  Though it was considered 'traditional,' it was also very modern at the same time.  That is, this was a special tea ceremony for children and adults alike!  It was lots of young mothers and their babies -- and us.  ;)  But it was super fun and interesting to experience.
First we all sit on the tatami mats.  I attempted to sit on my knees for a while, but I got tired pretty quickly and resorted to Indian style.  Here you can see the young ladies serving us tea.  They were part of a tea-ceremony class, and apparently they have to do this in order to pass their class.  They wore gorgeous kimonos, but if you look carefully, each one has a Disney hankerchief tucked in her robe!

The matcha was made in these special bowls!  They are Mickey bowls, especially designed for this tea party!  Do you see the Magic Kingdom logo?  We each received a cup of matcha and a small manju with strawberry (?) bean paste inside.

Here are Oto and Shiho!  :)  Shiho was great; she knew that we would be unprepared for this ceremony (meaning we are supposed to wear white socks!) -- so she packed us socks.  She also packed us napkins and small bamboo skewers for the Japanese sweets.  If you don't bring your own napkin, you're in a bit of a pickle, since they don't provide plates for you.

Then we went to the adjoining tatami room, where a lady played the zither (?) for us.  She first played some traditional songs, and then she played fun ones for the kids -- "It's a Small World" and the Mickey Mouse March and the Disney theme song!  She was great.
A really interesting experience -- we are so happy we had a chance to attend one of these!
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