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
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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.