Second year high-school taking students Global Studies performed at a Japanese tea ceremony. They learned how to lift the tea after they received it and how to fold the Kaishi paper. Usually, students do not have many chances to sit in the seiza position and feel numbness after sitting, but they were able to learn an important part of their country’s culture.
JET teacher Mr. Diego Velasco
On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a special Japanese Tea Ceremony class at Keimei. Immediately, I recognized some of my students and vice versa; names are still hard for me at this point, but once the ceremony started and we began making the tea, with so many of us sitting together in one place, we couldn’t help but to start talking, and it was great hearing from some of my students for the first time.
About the ceremony: the ceremony itself was so methodical that I could see how much thought was put into each and every move. From the turn of the cup, to the brushing of your fingertips on the wax paper. Everything had an order, a rule, and better yet a purpose. Each participant put so much work into the process that it was impressive, but even more could be said for the host or hosts (like the teachers) who worked through the proceedings so assiduously that they can be called no less than practiced and certainly masterful.
So much about the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony appeals to me. Probably, this has to do with its emphasis on peace, tranquility, and order. Potentially, also, is the fact that we have nothing like this in the United States, or Ecuador for that matter. Given the opportunity, I would participate in them again and again. And not just to observe an important facet of Japanese culture (or to drink delicious matcha) but also to improve at it. Personally, my tea ceremony skills still have a long way to go.
JET teacher Ms. Ieasha Galloway
When Ms. Kohata invited me to observe a Japanese tea ceremony, I was a bit nervous. I’ve heard of the meticulous nature of Japanese tea ceremonies. How every movement was deliberate, from the way the cup was placed in front of you to the order in which you sit down. I’ll admit, it was a little intimidating but I took comfort that I would be just an observer. But that wasn’t the case. I would participate in the ceremony too.
I was so afraid of making a mistake and ruining the ceremony. However, once the students entered the room and took off their shoes, smiling at me, I was put at ease. They assured me that it would be okay. We sat down and listened to the instructor explain what we would do and why we would do it. Lucky for me, the student next to me spoke English and was so eager to translate for me since my Japanese is limited. After eating some sweet snacks, I was served tea in a beautiful cup. In that moment, I became hyper-aware that I was in Japan. I was surrounded by nature, in a historical building, enjoying a tea ceremony with my students who were learning another language as I learned about another culture.
After, it was my turn to prepare the tea. The students were so happy while whisking the matcha, helping each other and taking in the moment. As I served the tea, making sure to follow the steps, I wasn’t nervous or scared. I was relaxed, I was happy. It was serene. I’m glad I had the chance to participate in such beautiful ceremony and share that memory with my students.