Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Japanese tea cermony inside a 100 year old house from Kyoto @ Boston Children's Museum !?

A while back our friend Nao had mentioned she was taking a Japanese tea ceremony class and had asked my wife and I if we wanted to visit. I've always wanted to sketch a tea ceremony and she mentioned that her teacher (Sensei) did not have any issues - great!

She mentioned that the class took place inside the Boston Children's museum. This felt odd since in my mind I could not find a link between Japanese tea and the Children's museum.
Once inside, another thing that amazed me was that there was an actual 100+ year old Machiya house brought over from Kyoto Japan! To commemorate the 20th year anniversary of sister city relationship, Kyoto had sent Boston this traditional urban house which once belonged to a silk merchant family in Kyoto’s Nishijin neighborhood. So the tea ceremony class took place inside the 2nd floor of this Machiya house!

The first tea ceremony lesson we watched was an advanced class taught by Glenn Sensei.
He's been studying tea ceremony since 1981 and it was quite inspirational watching him teach and explain through many stories and detailed reasons on the why of every movement/procedure in the act of making/serving tea.
My image of a tea ceremony was this very quiet atmosphere where one was not allowed to talk but both Glenn Sensei and Miho Sensei made it a very friendly environment encouraging people to ask questions and saying it was ok to talk.

Next we moved to the smaller room next door to watch Nao take her class taught by Miho Sensei.
She even encouraged me to squeeze in the corner so I could get a better view to be able to sketch!

Here's me quietly sketching in the corner.
Note the white 'Tabi' socks that I'm wearing. Wearing a pair of clean white socks was a requirement for coming to the tea ceremony so I wore my brand new pair of traditional Japanese socks.

Lastly I had Tea made by Nao and a 'Wagashi' (Japanese confectionery) made by Miho Sensei which was just amazing! The tea was really good too and Nao mentioned that Glenn Sensei only selects the best.

We were about to leave and my wife showed Miho Sensei my sketches then everyone gathered around to take a look. Glenn Sensei and the class in the next room even postponed to come take a look! Everyone seemed to have liked it and I was thrilled!

If you're ever in town or is interested in Japanese Tea, I would encourage you come visit (Urasenke Boston). They were very welcoming people and I sincerely felt they just wanted to share good tea and a nice moment with people.

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