I entered the tea room through a shoji, which is a room divider made out of washi paper pasted over a bamboo wooden frame (pictured below). The first thing I noticed when I walked into the room was the smell. In a traditional tea room, the host burns okou, which are incents burned to purify the room. For this reason, it is considerate to not wear perfume of any sort when coming into the room. Of course, I just happened to have overdone my perfume today… whoops. I would describe the scent as almost spiciliy sweet. it was a mildly strong presence in the room
My teacher then performed the tea ceremony for us. It was fascinating to watch; every movement was calculated, and routine. There was a specificity in not only the making of the tea, but sitting, standing, and the words she used to offer us the tea. The tea itself was delicious. To be honest, I expected the tea to be quite bitter. In actuality, it was surprisingly mild. I would even describe it as creamy, from the layer of froth on the surface of the liquid due to the quick mixing of the tea.
Hopefully you enjoy this description of my first Japanese Tea Ceremony class! I can’t wait to master the basics of this process, and bring you all along for the experience. Until next time.