And now….we will take a look at how the Japanese Tea Ceremony progresses:
Before the ceremony begins, the guests wait in a waiting room called a machiai until the host is ready for them. When ready, the guests will then wash their hands and mouths from water found in a tsukubai (stone basin) as a purifying step.
The guests enter through a small door, which requires them to bow in humility as they enter. The host greets his guest with a silent bow.
The ceremony begins with the host cleaning and preparing each of the teas serving utensils. When this step is finished, the host adds three scoops of matcha (green tea powder) into a tea bowl and a little water. The host then uses a bamboo whisk to mix the tea into a paste. Then more water is added until the tea is thick like a soup.
The host then presents the tea to a guest. They exchange bows. The guest admires the bowl, rotates it and then takes a drink. The guest then wipes the rim of the bowl with a cloth. The tea bowl is then passed on to the next guest who repeats the process. This continues on to each guest until all have had a drink of the bowl. The utensil is then returned to the host who will clean the bowl and refill it with.
During this time, the guests may carefully and respectfully examine each utensil using a cloth when handling them. Once the guests have had their fill, the host will then gather the utensils and the guests will exit with a bow. Then the ceremony is formally completed.
It takes years to master the art of this ceremony. At first glance, it all seems so simple. However, each movement is practiced over and over again until it is perfected with a graceful tranquility. It’s awesome!