The practice of the Japanese tea ceremony is a graceful and meditative one, meant to open up the senses. Gigi sat the kids down to explain that one of the purposes of the tea ceremony is to remind guests of the beauty and value in simple, small things that might normally go unnoticed, such as the sound of water pouring, the feel of a bamboo mat, the look of a leaf, or the sight of gentle movements of the host’s hands.
Before entering our “tea room” (our sound tent), we washed our hands in a bowl, signifying our purification of worries and “dust” from our normal lives. Gigi demonstrated some of the deliberate movements and steps of a tea ceremony- cleaning the bowl and utensils and preparing the matcha green tea. The children sat silently and attentively, watching each step closely. As the honored guests, the kids had a chance to carefully pass around the chawan (tea bowl) to smell freshly whisked tea. Each of us then got to sip on our own caffeine-free japanese teacup of cinnamon and lemon tea!
The kids described some of the subtle sounds they noticed: “water pouring”, “tea dropping into the cup”, the whisk stirring, and the handkerchief being pulled taut.