Sitting in bed, eating my Baumkuchen, and trying to get caught up on posts here before heading out for the day. I’ve been in Japan for a month now and it still boggles my mind to think of. One of the first weekends here I went with some people from work to Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo where they were hosting multiple traditional tea ceremonies. We participated in a tea ceremony for beginners.
The traditional tea ceremonies are a cultural experience like no other in Japan where each action by both the tea maker and the tea drinker is defined and has a purpose to it, from how you turn the bowl to the tools being used, to what you say to each other.
First we watched the masters prepare the matcha – green tea powdered mix – and then they helped us prepare a cup of matcha for our partner. Before you prepare the tea you have a little red bean paste sweet. It almost had a brownie taste and texture to me, but not too sweet. Just right. After the ceremony we actually saw the raw beans at a market stand.
Then the fun began with trying to make the matcha myself. The key is to make sure that you very rapidly move the tea whisk back and forth to create frothy bubbles.
Afterwards you are able to enjoy the fruits of your partner’s labors. Matcha is not for everyone – it does have a strong taste. However, I love green tea so truly enjoyed the slightly sharp taste after the semi-sweet red bean paste treat. All in all it was a lovely expereince and I have a great appreciation for the people who spend literally years training to be a grand master in tea ceremony.