A Silent Performance, An Eternal Tradition
The ceremony of tea, called chado and means the ‘way of tea’, is a very revered tradition in Japan, an art form that transcends the actual experience of drinking tea. The tea ceremony is also called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese.
In Kyoto, there is an exclusive program – the Urasenke – that educates students in this traditional art. The students train for ten years to become masters in the art of traditional tea ceremonies. They are used to conduct these ceremonies among national leaders and distinguished guests. Uji, another city south of Kyoto known for its shrines and temples, is also famed as one of the finest producers of green tea in Japan. Traditional tea ceremonies are famous here and are held in ceremonial tea houses.
Green tea, called Matcha, is prepared and served in an almost choreographic ritual. The host of the ceremony shows his respect and generosity to his guests with every movement and gesture, starting with the preparation of the tea, to its pouring into intricate designed bowls, even to the choice and placement of the tea utensils, even to the choice of the kimono. It is not just a matter of drinking tea with guests, but includes carefully selected aesthetics, attention to detail and all the predefined gestures involved in a labor from the heart. Bowing is common throughout the ceremony, from after pouring, after sipping, at the end of the ceremony, among others. Now due to the tea’s bitterness, Japanese sweets are served to balance the taste.
A full-length formal tea ceremony involves a meal (chakaiseki) and two servings of tea (koicha and usucha) and lasts approximately four hours. One has to focus on the senses and live in the moment, avoiding small talk and gossip and limiting conversation on the ceremony, the utensils and decor used. Hence, almost a silent performance, steeped in long tradition.
Remembering Tradition with every Cup of Tea
We may not conduct traditional tea ceremonies at Wild Wasabi Sushi, but we hold tradition dear to our hearts whenever we serve you tea at our Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood. Come by Wild Wasabi and enjoy green tea in a relaxed, contemporary setting.