This weekend, Yoshimi from work invited me out again to go tea ceremony-ing with her!
We went to a little place in Kyoto that teaches lessons on most of the aspects of chadou, Japanese tea ceremonies. They taught us how to enter a traditional tea ceremony setting, how to receive tea – the whole shabang. I’ve actually been to several traditional tea ceremonies back home, so I knew for the most part what I was doing. The best part, however, was definitely the flower (/plant?) arranging part of the day!
They talked to us about wabisabi, the Japanese art concept that involves balance in arrangement and execution. Floral arrangements should have a perfect balance – what that balance is depends on each arrangement, though! They showed us several arrangements that had been done by their professionals, paired with some early spring time-related calligraphy.
They let us pick out a plate to put our arrangement on, and then gave us free reign over this huge selection of fruits and vegetables, nuts, flowers, leaves – any plant you could think of, they probably had. I wanted to keep mine relatively small (I was a little nervous about being there at all, surrounded by all these very serious Japanese people), so I just took a couple of things, and it didn’t take me long to arrange them in a way I liked. But once I was done, I got to watch Yoshimi and her friend arrange theirs, going back to exchange items, trying to balance things against each other. It was a lot of fun – I could honestly do that all day. They told me my arrangement was very “nihonteki” – “Japanese-ish” is a good translation. I thought everyone’s looked good!
I loved to see everyone’s designs – it really was an amazing experience! I’ll have to get the name of the place from Yoshimi, and maybe go back sometime! (Though they only spoke Japanese, so be wary of that.)