Friday, September 25, 2015

Aki Matsuri Tea Ceremony by Chanoyu Omotesenke Seattle

Aki Matsuri took place on September 12th and 13th in Bellevue, Washington. This two day festival spotlights Japanese culture and arts through performances, demonstrations, workshops, and more.

Visitors could view tea ceremony both days with a demonstration by Chado Urasenke Tankokai Seattle Kyokai on Saturday and by Chanoyu Omotesenke Seattle on Sunday.   These demonstrations highlight just one portion, usually greetings and usucha (thin tea) preparation for the guest, from an event that would typically take several hours.

I attended Aki Matsuri on Sunday and viewed a beautiful Omotesenke tea ceremony.  Omotesenke is one of the two most popular tea schools in Japan with an aesthetic of rustic, untreated wabi (beauty).  Chanoyu, which we understand to mean "tea ceremony", literally means "hot water for tea".

The scroll reads "wa kei sei jaku" which means harmony, respect, purity, tranquility.

The first demonstration was with Kyoko Matsuda (Omotesenke instructor) as the host and Yukari as the guest.  Before the chawan (tea bowl) is brought into the room, the host and guest will bow to each other.

Though all tea utensils are cleaned with great care before a tea ceremony, the natsume (tea container) and chashaku (tea scoop) are again symbolically cleaned with a folded fukusa (silk cloth) during tea preparation to show consideration to the guest.

Water is poured into the chawan with a hishaku (ladle) from the tetsubin (tea pot) once to warm the chawan and again to make the tea.  At the end of the tea ceremony, cold water will be transferred from the mizusashi (cold water container) into the tetsubin to replenish and revive the water.

Kaori was host to Emiko and two special guests for the next demonstration.

As the demonstration ended, the audience was treated to a tea sweet and freshly prepared bowl of matcha.  The sweetness is ideal to mellow out out the bold astringency of the tea.

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