Yesterday, to commemorate the longest time I have spent in Tokyo in years, I decided to organize a private tea ceremony at the Chinzanso, one of Japan’s most famous luxury hotels. I did this just to relax and purposely slow down my usually never-ending Travelife. After all, the tea ceremony is a social event, but it’s really all about achieving inner peace, calm and joy.
EVEN THE WEATHER’S FINE
I had to spend 30 days in Japan for some bureaucratic reasons, and I’ll write more about this later on. For now, let me just say that it has been a fairly pleasant summer so far, and partly because the weather has been fairly cooperative. It’s been a pretty comfortable summer — and without the oppressive heat, it’s so easy to appreciate the rituals of a Japanese summer.
THE BEST TEA CEREMONY OPTION
FOR VISITORS TO TOKYO
So yesterday, I arranged for a private tea ceremony at a historical tea house on the beautiful Chinzanso estate. There are several places in Tokyo where foreigners can book a tea ceremony experience. In my opinion, the Chinzanso offers one of the best tea ceremony experiences because you can actually have the ceremony in one of a handful of historical tea houses on the estate.
THE FATHER OF TEA IN JAPAN
The one I chose for my tea ceremony experience is a listed cultural heritage property that was modeled after the tea house of Sen no Rikyu himself. Sen no Rikyu is the father of tea in Japan.
A PURIFYING BEGINNING
To start things off, I had to go through a routine of cleansing to enter the tea house. So I washed my hands at a fountain right outside the tea house. After removing my shoes, I kneeled and worked my way into the tea house, where the tea mistress had prepared a lovely scroll and a vase of flowers for the occasion.
Even the tea bowls used were chosen with thought.
DON’T WASTE CHANCES
The scroll for the ceremony yesterday said something about a chance meeting of significance, that is never coming again. I guess what it’s trying to say is that you should appreciate each moment because it’s special, and not live a life of missed opportunities. In other words, it’s best to live a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife…
AN AQUARIUM OF A SWEET
The tea ceremony mistress gave me
a lovely sweet resembling fishes in the sea
I was given a sweet that was again chosen carefully just for the occasion. It was a jelly-like sweet that resembled an aquarium, and when I looked closely, there were fishes “swimming” in it. This sweet was chosen because we were having the tea ceremony in the middle of summer, and looking at fish in water gives people a feeling of coolness.
That’s me, doing tea…
Both the sweet and the tea were lovely. The sweet for the tea ceremony was purposely very sweet, supposedly to take away the bitterness of the matcha green tea. Meanwhile, I try to have matcha whenever possible, as it’s supposed to be loaded with anti-oxidants. It really was a most wonderful way to spend just another afternoon in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.