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The Art of Movement: The Japanese Tea Ceremony

Tea Culture

When you consider the art of tea to be more akin to dance choreography and elements of spirituality than to a sachet of tea you dunk into hot water from a stovetop kettle, then you may be able to begin to understand the deep foundations of required focus and known movements inherent within the traditions of a Japanese tea ceremony.

The Japanese word for tea ceremony is chanoyu. This literally translates as “hot water for tea,” but the Japanese tea ceremony is about much more than the temperature of the water. The Japanese tea ceremony practice is considered spiritual.

Preparation plays a large role in Japanese tea ceremonies. The host must prepare the room, the garden, the tatami (traditional Japanese carpets used on the floors of Japanese homes), the space, and their own mind. Guests also require a certain level of preparation for the event. They will need to tidy up—so to speak—their hearts and mind and be willing to be open to the endeavors from the world that may surface during the ceremony itself.

Learning to adequately prepare the matcha, powdered green tea, serve it to four to five guests, and usher these individuals who are drinking the tea away from the hustle and bustle of the world takes years of dedication to the craft and the practice.

For those who do host Japanese tea ceremonies the way they were conducted back in the sixteenth century, these individuals certainly have a love in their heart of tradition, custom, and of the tea itself.



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