Flower Arranging and Tea Ceremony… the best class ever
I’m taking a class called Experiences in Japanese Culture, where the students go on excursions and participate in Japanese cultural events. It is such a fun class! Today we did Ikebana, which is the Japanese art of flower arranging. We went into the mountain and collected materials (branches, berries, flowers, etc.) and brought them back to arrange them into beautiful pieces. Here is my creation:
I’m not sure if I captured the essence of true beauty in Ikebana, but I had a great time trying!
In the previous class we experienced tea ceremony. It is a very intricate event in which people quietly sit in a traditional Japanese style tea room on their shins and politely offer each other tea and sweets. There is a rule for every single movement during the process, from the way in which you hold the sweets on a special type of napkin, to the way you drink the tea. The tea has a bitter taste that slightly shocks the senses but cleanses the soul and the sweets, or wagashi, have a delicious taste.
One phrase that I used often during tea ceremony was “Osaki ni,” which means “I’m going before you,” and it’s used when you are about to drink the tea. There are also other phrases used to show respect to the tea maker, the people sitting with you, and the tea itself. If you ever plan on visiting Japan you absolutely need to experience tea ceremony. It is one of the many beautiful aspects of Japanese culture. Here are various pictures from that day:
Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of the tea itself but if you’ve ever seen wasabi that’s served with sushi, it resembles that green color. Truly an interesting experience.