Another tea ceremony

There are so many ways to drink tea.

Tea set, some of the tea selection and mikan fruit

More chilled atmosphere than the previous time, this tea sampling was followed by a delicious Vietnamese-Korean dinner (pictures of which I accidentally deleted). No rules, no cup turning, and no bowing included. Just friends, chilling and talking.

Master at work

If you buy tea that’s worth 200yen for 52grams and import water recommended for tea, I guess you are a tea master?

Special water for special drinks

Drinking tea does not have to be in perfectly harmonized environment, it can also be harmonized with the atmosphere.

Drinking from small cups allows room for more tea varieties

We sampled some 7 different teas, including Chinese green tea, Japanese sencha, Chinese black unflavored, and white tea (my favorite).

Delicious Vietnamese ice coffee was also sipped and sniffed (ahh, the aroma!)
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Tea ceremony

Next quarter I will have a course called the Japanese Traditional Arts, but impatient as I am, I already went to see (and participate in) the Tea Ceremony circle’s practice.

Tea master and his pots

The circle gathers twice a week to practice the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Some of the members have been practicing for several years, and they still have a lot to learn and remember!

Matcha in the making

I tried to follow the ceremony rules as best as I could, though with the language barrier it was a bit challenging. I tried the okashi as well as the powdered matcha green tea, which was foamy and definitely not like your regular cup of lipton (not that I ordinarily would ever drink Lipton, but matcha was something quite unique).

Apricot cream daifuku, and some thingys whose purpose remain unclear to me

The okashi (traditional sweets served before eating) was delicious sweet mochi. I have to admit, it was a bit of a challenge to get the mochi to my napkin with the chopsticks, since all the club members were staring and making notions of my left-handed work.

26 bows and counting

The tea ceremony had 2 tea drinkers besides me, then one person making the tea, another talking (apparently something about the tea and okashi), and third person was serving the okashi and tea. There was numerous bowing and cup turning – in my turn, I was supposed to bow to each and ask both my sempai (seniors) if they wanted to have my tea, and then ask the tea maker as well. Unfortunately I forgot the phrases as soon as I uttered them out.

Sensei in her beautiful kimono

I truly wish I spoke Japanese and would be able to understand the meanings of the ceremony – after few months the secrets will hopefully start revealing. Until then, I will drink my tea without any fuss of turning the cup around and bowing 14 times before drinking. Maybe next time I will understand what is happening and why – maybe one day I will get to foam my own tea as well.

Tea-making gear

Gym class hero

After attending the gym guidance few weeks ago, I received my gym membership card and thus am eligible to use the APU gym. As long as I have my gym card, student ID card and a towel with me, and I wear my brand new 200yen indoors sneakers, I am good to go.

Check in before you go. There are several rules and guidelines to remember

When entering the gym, one must sign in and give their cards to the security officer. After that, you receive a locker key.

Nice pink style on the machines

The gym is equipped with some basic machines: few treadmills and bikes, some machines for arms and legs, plus free weights. There is also two mats for stretching, ab/back workout or practicing sumo steps.

Even though I don’t understand the different features of the bike, the main point is clear (on the scale)

I have to admit, that I do feel rather big in the gym, too. Back home, I felt like an insect compared to all those pumped up bodybuilders, but here the biggest guys are hardly my height.

Best thing about the gym: Japanese music from a boombox in the corner!

Confession: I have been to the gym only twice, even though in theory I would have the time to go there every day. I am in desperate need of a reasonable workout programme.

Japanese delicacies

Interesting product encounters from Beppu:

Monkey snot candy, a regional speciality
Poop gummy
Nice stick. Probably has a filling, too
Deli heart sandwich filled with spaghetti, mayo, potato salad and ginger – maybe seaweed, too
Powdered beer

The last one is from China, Beijing airport.

Rather almondy walnut crunch

Unfortunately I have to admit that I have not tried any of the pictured above.

Christmas came early, from Finland

Last week I found out that something is coming my way to Beppu, from Finland. Yesterday was my lucky day, but unfortunately I missed it. Instead, I found this on my mailbox.

 

Clear instructions on how to receive your mail

 
For a while I thought I would have to go all the way to Beppu to get my package, but then I recruited a Japanese friend to call the yuubinkyoku (post office). And, like a Christmas miracle (yes, I know it is October and the weather is still +20), they promised to deliver the package on the same evening.

I received a call 40 minutes before the agreed delivery time, and just like that, it was Christmas for me!
 

This is Finland (and some Goji berries)

 

Wasa näkkileipä/knäckebröd (the Swedish girls got knäckebröd from Ikea in Fukuoka last weekend for 300y small pack, expensive!), two packs of Finn crisp bread (now I will have to find something to put on it!), 4 grain (oat, wheat, barley and rye) groats for making porridge, instant apple-cinnamon porridge, loads of Moomin-stuff (raisins, gum, pastilles), candy (Fazer’s best, plus salmiakki) gum, and best of all: some raw chocolate, cocoa nibs, mulberries and goji berries.

And let’s not forget the 4 crossword puzzle magazines!

Can’t escape the Finnish

With these omiyage, I will survive until Christmas!