JICA Yokohama Participants Experience Tea Ceremony

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Date & Time: Sunday, March 11, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Spot: Tea Ceremony Room at JICA*1 Yokohama International Center
Visitors: 6 JICA Yokohama Trainees and staff (1 each from Vietnam and India, and 4 from Japan),
Guides: 6 KSGG members
Language: English

First, we gave a brief lecture on the history and the basic spirit (harmony, respect, purity, tranquility, once-in-a-lifetime, and so on) of the way of tea. Next, we showed how to drink tea and pass around sweets, and we also taught the Japanese way of “being mindful of the others”. And then we explained why we have to turn a tea bowl, and so on, asking questions to the participants. After we explained the basic manners, they experienced the tea ceremony, entering the tea room, taking a close look of the scroll, flower and tea utensils, and seating themselves. Although two of the male participants struggled to sit on the tatami for a long time, they tried to concentrate on the tea ceremony, as they had learned that every action at the tea ceremony has a meaning. Young Japanese staff who were to be posted in Brazil were extremely eager to learn how to introduce Japanese culture to local people. I will be happy if they use this experience for their activity in Brazil. After a break, this time, overseas participants tried to make tea in front of the sunken hearth following the example of the host. All participants were fully satisfied with precious experience. One of the foreign trainees said, “It was my first time hearing that tea ceremony is not only the act of having tea. I have learned a lot”. I was pleased that everyone understood that the way of tea (Sado) is traditional Japanese culture and a composite art form in some way.

*1 JICA: Japan International Cooperation Agency