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
Advertisements

AP House ceremony

Exactly a week ago I finally got in to the AP house, tired of travelling and sleep deprived, too. What a week it has been, every day filled with new things, events, people and information!

Today we had AP House welcoming ceremony for all the new residents (I think there is over 1000 of us). First in the Millenium Hall, there was few speeches and an entertaining video about the AP House rules. After that, we went to the cafeteria to enjoy a buffet and performances by Yossha-Koi dance circle and the Japanese drum circle.

Impressive drumming

The RA (Resident assistants, two students on each floor who are responsible for, well, almost everything) had prepared many dance performances for us, all of which were surprisingly well practiced! In Finland, there is no way you’d see guys dance (6 dance routines in a row) – specially if the dance includes feminine or otherwise sexually charged moves. Vive les cultural differences!

Gagnam style, once again!

Today was the first time I ate pizza with chopsticks! The menu was international, like the residents in AP houses. We were truly welcomed to the house, and even though I’ve been here a week learning all the manners and everyday life, this event made the house seem even warmer and friendly, if possible.