The tea ceremony (chadou, sadou,chanoyu) is a very special event in Japanese culture. The tea ceremony expresses Japanese philosophy and aestheticism. That is the mix of wa-harmonization (between human and environment), sei-soul purity, kei-respect to the others and jaku-quiet. This ceremony is often held to welcome the honourable guests or in special cases (hanami, friends’ meeting and family gathering).

The teahouse is arranged simply. There are no decorations in the teahouse except for an alcove called a tokonoma where a scroll painting (kakemono) is hung. This hanging is carefully chosen by the host and reveals the theme of the tea ceremony. Commonly, when the guests come, they will be taken to machiai- a waiting room and serve a cup of warm water. After that, guests are taken to a garden leading to the teahouse. The garden is designed in typical ways of the tea ceremony. The quiet side path makes peaceful feeling. Some pine-trees stand for the long-lived. Bamboos represent for the power and recovery. The rocks in a straight line image the waterfall. The way to teahouse is always low, so everyone has to lower their head. This is also a humble gesture. Coming into the room, people spend some minutes to enjoy the decoration and feel the host’s preciseness.

Before starting the tea ceremony, the guests are served a lovely sweet cake having shapes and colors according to the season or theme. During this period, the host leads the visitors to some moral valuable stories. With a special tea set, the host will show his skill in brewing tea. There are also many strict rules for the tea drinkers. Although rules in the tea ceremony are very serious, millions of people from many social classes are join in the training classes on over Japan. A learner can master the basic laws to hold a complete tea ceremony after 3 years.

In short, the tea ceremony is a symbol of Japanese culture. When learning tea ceremony, everybody must learn the politeness, humbleness, fineness, carefulness, and so on. Therefore, this learning is not only for relaxing but also moral lesson. It is one way to respect and preserve the national character of Japanese.


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