NAIST Japanese Tea Ceremony

The NAIST Tea Ceremony Club (茶道会, sadoukai) held a traditional tea ceremony last November 15, in a Japanese-style room (和室, washitsu) within the University Cafeteria.

A reservation and a small fee (~JPY500) were necessary to participate in the event. Registration can be done through e-mail, by responding to the public invitation. Participants have a choice of thin tea (薄茶, usucha) or thick tea (濃茶, koicha). A reservation ticket will be provided, indicating your preference. I chose to attend the ceremony with the thick tea.

Reservation ticket for the Tea Ceremony event

On the day, about eight participants were welcomed into a Japanese-style room by two staff members. While one member was preparing tea, another member was providing and explanation about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Sweets for tea. We usually eat this before drinking tea
Sweets are usually eaten before drinking tea.

Printed instructions and illustrations were provided on proper tea etiquette. The staff also provided clear explanation and demonstration, allowing any first-timers to enjoy the event without much fuss.

How to drink teas in Tea Time
How to drink tea!

The procedure for drinking thick tea differs from the usual thin tea. One large tea bowl is prepared for multiple people.  If there are three participants, an amount for three people will be prepared in the same bowl. If there are five participants, the tea for five people will be prepared. The tea is drunk little by little in the large tea bowl. After drinking, the lip of the bowl is gently wiped clean, then passed on to the next person. As I sat at the very end, I drank the thick tea last. The thick tea was bitter for me.

Tool for brewing tea
One of the tools for brewing tea

In the end, I took pictures with everyone who joined the ceremony. It was fun to listen to stories about tea, while drinking the tea itself.

Participants and staff
Participants and staff

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