Green and Frothy? (Japanese Tea Ceremony)
On the last day of the program we attended a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Located on the 65th floor of the Yokohama Landmark Tower, the view from the window was amazing. When we first arrived we were lead down a small hallway filled with small rocks and there were bigger stones placed to walk on. We were lead to a room to put down our bags and then lead to the tea ceremony room. Before entering there was a window view of the city, it was an amazing view. Our ceremony host told us on a clear day you can see Mt. Fuji. We all took a few pictures and then took off our shoes and headed to the room. To start the ceremony our host brought out sugar treats, one shaped like a flower and the other shaped like a leaf. She told us depend on the time of the year they serve different shapes. Seconded she brought out a rose shaped sweet filled with a red bean paste. We were to eat these before the tea was made. They were the sweetest item I have ever eaten, the first sugar shapes were easy, like a piece of candy, but the rose was hard to eat. But I finished it, out of respect for the ceremony and our host. After serving the sweets the tea making part of the ceremony began. Since I was the closet to her I was served first. The green tea is made from hot water and a green powder. When making the tea, the host performs a very detailed movements and gestures. Once the water is added to the powder it is whisked the make a green frothy liquid mixture. When the tea is made she sits the bowl in front of you. You first bow, pick up the bowl with you right hand and rest the bowl of your left. You bow once more and then turn the bowl a quarter of the way counter-clockwise (so that the design of the bowl shows). After that you bow once more and take your first sip, the host ask you if it taste fine, you answer, and then continue to take sips until the tea is finished. Honestly, green tea taste like 90% water and 10% green. When everyone has been served, she finished up the ceremony by performing clean-up movements and gestures. She then bows and the ceremony ends. It was so cute at the end because you giggle and told us she was very nervous to serve us. We then took a group photo and I got a single photo with the host and she presented us with origami cranes. As we went back to get our bags, the host gave Dr. C a chance to make some green tea and the host had honors of drinking it. Very glad I got to experience a Japanese tradition, now I can say they I have had some high-class Japanese green tea.