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Soothing tea

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Dr Genshitsu Sen XV, grand tea master of the Urasenke School of Tea, performs a traditional tea ceremony in the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor on Tuesday. Pearl Harbor survivors along with honored guest participated in the ceremony that was held to honor Americans who lost their lives when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941.

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This is a scene showing the best of the spirit of Japan. I am grateful to whoever had the idea to hold this ceremony.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Simply elegant!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Very Tranquil.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I highly recommend participation in a tea ceremony at least once.

I can't help wondering if the grand tea master here is also capable of fixing air conditioners.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

One thing I don't like about participating in tea ceremonies is having to sit seiza for long periods of time. It's excruciating! The people in the photo are lucky to be able to sit on chairs. The lady on the far right looks like she's either listening to Lady Gaga or listening to a interpretation of the tea ceremony steps.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Look at the expressions of rapt joy on the faces of the onlookers. How thrilled they all seem.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The tea ceremony is a joke.

No one should be born into a family and then be promoted to a living god artist due to birth.

Spinning a bowl of over glazed low quality clay with a a dirty bamboo whisk is not an art.

Kids can do it.

Foreigners think it is some little grasshopper ritual. And take pictures and show them when they go home. Duh.

Chanoya is silly.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Please do not make insulting remarks about something you do not understand.

One thing I don't like about participating in tea ceremonies is having to sit seiza for long periods of time. It's excruciating!

Agreed! I recommend an "express"/exhibition tea-ceremony - I attended one in my city. Only lasted 20 minutes - not too long to cramp up, or fall asleep - and long enough to get the photos of the "masters" in their kimonos at work, drink some decent tea and scoff down a few sweets. Tea Ceremony: Check.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

With you on that one, ihavegreatlegs. Overrated, especially when a dude is doing it. If it's a nice looking gal, then there's something to salvage from what is essentially a snore-fest.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

This is beautiful. Sen no Genshitsu is not just some dude, but the top of the top. Would agree that this was made possible by ambassador Roos attending the Hiroshima commemoration. A serious display of goodwill, indeed.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This is Japanese culture. Maybe it is difficult for me to learn it. I know "Senno Rikyu. He is famous for "Tea of Sengoku era". I want to be great man like him.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Tea Ceremony is one of unique Japanese customs that all japanese respect and try at least once in their life. The elegance, simplicity and sophistication match perfectly with japanese culture and people. It is very technical and takes at least 20 years to master, but is also simple. Maybe the foreigners cannot understand how important the ceremony is for all japanese.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

All them tables and chairs is not traditional. They could at least have laid down a couple of tatami for him to spread his stuff on, even if they kept the chairs for the guests.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The elegance, simplicity and sophistication match perfectly with japanese culture and people.

Ha! Tell that to the mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging slobs I had the pleasure of teaching till recently.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

茶道

I very much understand it. I have made pots for it with my raku kilns...by the way, real Raku is not the Western sense of raku. I am sure almost 99% of the posters here do not know that. The ritual is over rated, and when visitors come to Japan and are forced to do this Special event, then they are paying way too much.

If people want to visit Japan and become little grasshoppers, first thing to do is to drop the BMI down and start sitting on the floor, as we do for most of our cultural applications. We use our feet as much as our hands, especially when building kites, making daruma and all other cultural/arts.

Kids can definitely do this Chanoya, or ChaDo the way of tea. If that is insulting then I am sorry. All the tea ceremony Men I work with love teaching kids. They find them keen and quick to learn.

All the other cultural and art except dancing in Japan are unique and difficult to master. 茶道 is not.

Wabisabi is. Most people do not get it.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I did not realize this at first, but Dr. Genshitsu Sen is the author of a book I proudly own and have read many times, Tea Life, Tea Mind. (The author is credited as "Soshitsu Sen XV.")

I believe that mastering the ceremony is as easy as mastering one's own mind.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I think it looks cool the first time you see it. But I can't help thinking it seems like a lot of unnecessary fuss just to make a cup of tea. (I mean that in a respectful manner).

Maybe I could start the 'Toast Buttering Ceremony" whereby I turn the simple 20 second task of buttering toast into a 15 minute performance.

I suppose the real question is, "does it really taste any better" if not, what is the point?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The Japanese tea ceremony, Chado is a complete aesthetic experience and includes all aspects of life from art, architecture and landscape design to philosophy, poetry and spirituality. Tea is way more than just a beverage. Drinking tea in Japan is an altogether different experience. For the Japanese, tea is a cultural weapon, a spiritual experience and an expression of refined approach to life. Over the centuries, the ritual has developed into a work of art and perfectionism became so quintessential to Japanese culture. Serving tea is an extremely elaborate procedure that involves extensive studies. Although it has to be meticulously practiced, but perfection is practically unattainable not unlike the highest ideals that one is tries to accomplish but seldom achieves during a lifetime. Hence the study of Chado is a never ending process on the path to spiritual enlightenment, harmony, and awakening of one's awareness.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Chanoyu to wa tada yu wo wakashi cha wo tatete nomu bakari naru koto wo shiru-beshi

Sen no Rikyu

I'm not a cultured person, but I can enjoy tea without ceremony or being a "grasshopper", in any setting.

To each, their own way.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

One Samurai scholor came to Rikyu one day; a great master of Japan Tea Ceremony, asking how to become a master like him to calm his mind. Rikyu quietly looked at student's eyes while he was pouring tea in his cup. He quietly responded to him and said," you came here, but your cup is too full and I cannot add any more tea to your cup".

The Tea Ceremony is not just preparing tea, through meditation in tranquility, hamorny and peace, we will be able to reach the ultimate enlightment in life.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I need to add the most important part to the above;

through the meditation in tranquility, harmony and peace while we are preparing tea, we should be able to retain a mind of "Mu" emptying our mind and soul. When we are in "Mu" state, we should be able to calm ourselves, and start accepting the truth in life the way it is. Then to the ultimate enlightment. I hope you will be able to join the ceremony someday. You will love it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Chanoyu is anathema to consumerism.

Tea arrived here the 12th century, along with Zen Buddhism, brought back by the monk Eisai (Eisai Zenji):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisai

One aspect of tea drinking evolving from a daily necessity of monastic life into a "ceremony" practiced housewives in the Muromachi era and warlords in the Warring States era was to convey that there was more to life than fighting and avarice. Enjoying a cup of tea in good company with some aesthetically pleasing pottery and interesting calligraphy or the like away from the world at war, so to speak, was very important to restoring a sense of order to peoples lives in a turbulent world.

I would say that this tea ceremony in Hawaii including victims of Pearl Harbor can be seen in a similar manner, even if the setting is a grand gathering instead of an intimate retreat.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If you don't understand the depth and beauty of the tea ceremony, the fault is yours, not the tea ceremony's.

So, please don't blame the tea ceremony for your shortcomings.

-1 ( +5 / -7 )

Wow, a lot of "thumbs down" for people who appreciate tea ceremony. I, for one, never got into it, but I am respectful towards people who do. Perhaps that's a bit too much to ask for some on JT :)

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

i love this picture, though i wonder if the taste of tea made by a hereditary grand master is better than the tea i make. I like making and serving tea, this is real pleasure for me. i think I have reached admirable professionalism but sure I would like to taste the tea by a grandmaster!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I strongly recommend re-reading the Emperor's New Clothes.

Anyone who feels the need to justify a lifetime of dedication, study and paying through the nose before they are able to demonstrate how sensitively they appreciate this unique cultural event should sign up for my course on how to put on a pair of trousers. It also takes a lifetime of expensive tuition for no perceptible result, and I guarantee that by the time you have received instruction in the exquisite minutiae involved in an apparently simple task, you will look as miserable as everyone in the picture above.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tea Ceremony is painful to sit through. But, that's the spirit of it. Endure, stick to tradition, simplicity. Yet, my Starbucks barista can whip up just about anything ... she's a treasure - and cute to boot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We already requested earlier that readers refrain from making snide comments on this thread.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh no, it's that drip Steve who endlessly complains about the waitresses in suburban Cali's Vietnamese cafes. Run for your life!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Steve, sorry that our snide posts got erased. Try to rephrase what you said about your wife and her tea and sandwiches being better than a chado exhibition at Pearl Harbor. If said more politely, the mod might just go for it.

I liked the comment from ubikwit about this being anathema to consumerism. The 12th century days before cheap nomihodai and buffet gorging in Japan and Honolulu are hard to even imagine these days.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I absolutely can not believe this happened. This ceremony occurred above the tomb of thousands of American servicemen. If you believe I am out to lunch, I suggest taking a poll of the victim's families. Their opinion does not matter vs this publicity stunt by the wife of a former Governor? An absolutely incredible lack of sensitivity. The Visitors Center would be much more appropriate. There were survivors present but what about those who have not forgiven?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I work there and I wish I knew this was going on, I would have loved to have seen it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Alohano - don't you know that Japanese are only the victims of WWII? Read your JHS history textbooks. When the Enola Gay dropped her payload, the peace-loving Japanese were all performing tea ceremonies and writing haiku. We must all forgive and forget - but don't forget to talk about the Hiroshima survivors only in tones of hushed reverence.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Re my previous post: Apologies - something did not seem right when I submitted it but I had limited time - "koto" should have been "moto"

Chanoyu to wa tada yu wo wakashi cha wo tatete nomu bakari naru moto wo shiru-beshi

or 茶の湯とは、ただ湯をわかし茶をたてて、飲むばかりなるを本を知るべし

It means that the understanding the tea ceremony is nothing more than boiling the water, putting in the tea and drinking it.

Anyway, it's good to see some posters above appreciate drinking tea. I prefer drinking it outside and enjoying some scenery, in a garden or in the mountains. The ritual has little significance to me but I don't find any fault with it.

I can only hope Japanese traditions for a long time to come.

@RAINkyutech, you already are great man if you think like that. Now that you have started, don't stop!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a story told by Dr. Sen:

A disciple of Sen Rikyu once asked him this question: "What precisely are the most important things that must be understood and kept in mind at a tea gathering?"

His answer was: "Make a delicious bowl of tea; lay the charcoal so that it heats the water; arrange the flowers as they are in the field; in summer suggest coolness, in winter, warmth; do everything ahead of time; prepare for rain; and give those with whom you find yourself every consideration."

The disciple, somewhat dissatisfied with the answer because he could not find anything in it of such great importance that it could be deemed a secret of the practice, said, "That much, I already know...."

Rikyu answered, "Then if you can host a tea gathering without deviating from any of the rules I have just stated, I will become your disciple."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

His answer was: "Make a delicious bowl of tea; lay the charcoal so that it heats the water; arrange the flowers as they are in the field; in summer suggest coolness, in winter, warmth; do everything ahead of time; prepare for rain; and give those with whom you find yourself every consideration."

I want to organize a tea gathering because I can do all this... to perfection. I can make green tea, herbal tea, black tea, white tea, oolong and so on. I can make people around me feel relaxed and soothe their pain and stress, I can make them forget their worries and reach calmness and spend wonderful time either in silence or with good conversation, never boring, bring an unforgettable experience to people appreciating a good cup of tea for health and pleasure. I am just an ordinary woman that can do all this. Nothing special.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I want to organize a tea gathering because I can do all this... to perfection....I am just an ordinary woman that can do all this. Nothing special.

I have indeed come across some people who've fancied themselves as being "perfect" in any number of areas. And it's true that upon basic investigation there is actually nothing special about them at all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

am just an ordinary woman that can do all this. Nothing special.

Humbleness; a self awarness in tea mind teaching when we discover what the truth is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And it's true that upon basic investigation there is actually nothing special about them at all.

yabits, i bet you have not tasted the tea I make, if you have had the chance you will not speak like this. You would have reached another level of enlightment. I wonder why all my posts collect all the negatives, what is wrong in excelling in making tea, it is a thing that can be learned if you have interest in tea quite easily. i do not want to diminish the achievement of the tea grandmasters but i am sure that I know more than him about tea because I know the herbal tea effects on mind and body and he can only meditate over a cup of green tea.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I wonder if he also makes a mean cup of coffee. After all, being a tea master doesn't mean that's all you're allowed to drink.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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