Friday, April 13, 2012

Sadou (茶道)

A quick post about my tea ceremony class!  I'll be writing in bullets:

  • There's probably over 20 of us in the class, when the tea room can only house 10 people at a time.  This means that the class is split into 2 groups, and for the most part we all just chat, drink tea and eat snacks.
  • As one group practices, the other group usually waits in the "waiting room" and is taught a little bit about sadou's background and what the sweet that day means.
  • Before you drink the bitter matcha, you eat a really sweet Japanese sweet called okashi(お菓子).  It's one of my favorite parts about the class - they're so good! 
  • Since we just sit around most of the time, the class is also really loud.  Not at all soothing or serene at all (unlike what most of us picture sadou to be).  This even gets on our sensei's nerves sometimes, I can tell.  Especially when we should all be watching carefully how each of us make the tea, etc.
  • Each week we have the chance to put on kimonos.  The sensei's are really amazing at this - normally it'll take over 30 minutes or more to wear one, but the teachers can do it with in 5 minutes (granted - they aren't letting us wear everything that's required for a kimono).  It's a fun experience - but it makes doing sadou a bit harder because you cannot get up so easily.  Plus, the sensei corrects your posture more because you are wearing a kimono (so basically they tell you to straighten your kimono when you sit).  At the end of class (and even during the middle of it), people get their pictures taken in them.
  • Last week, we got to do a cherry blossom viewing (ohanami お花見).  It was cloudy, but it was pretty nice to sit outside with a large red paper umbrella.  However, because of the class size some sat on red cloth (which kept on sliding around) or a blue tarp.  So, overall . . . not too must aesthetic value in our class.
  • I learned that someone in Nagoya (or in the area) makes some of the best tea (ocha お茶).  
  • On average, a normal tea ceremony takes over 3 hours to finish (it's like a whole day experience, actually.  There's a lot of waiting and ceremony to the practice.  I remember back at OSU learning that people will sometimes even give invitations by hand still.

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