Japanese Tea Ceremony @ SB Botanic Garden Tea House

My experience with Japanese Tea Ceremony happened only once in Kyoto, Japan almost 15 years ago. I was working that day (taking pix and being a translator) and I took few pix during the ceremony although I was told not to (well, there was a big sign says “NO PHOTOGRAPHY”). Yesterday I was invited to attend a Tea Ceremony at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden by a Tea Master Kyoko Sokyo Kasai. It was a part of her Tea Ceremony class and there were three of her students and several other guests. Watching whole process of preparing, serving and conclusion of this tea ceremony was something totally different from what you normally experience from, let’s say Starbucks (or any other tea ceremonies for that matter).

I like the discipline of “sadò” (Way of Tea), which I told kyoko that reminded me of my training years of Kendo (Japanese Swardmanship/Japanese Fencing). She said to me, “anything with ( dò ) has similar approach, energy, as well as discipline.  AikidòKendòJudò, and Sadò…etc.  My living afar from Japan for a long time has definitely done something to me (inner self) as a Japanese person, but I am at the point where I can finally appreciate all sorts of things about Japan.

Kyoko is getting ready for her station

Kyoko explained it to us about this particular spot, I don’t remember them all.  I just remember it’s very deep! (the reason behind it, that is)

Everyone gets ready

Simple flower arrangement by Master Kyoko “Sokyo” Kasai

Master Kyoko “Sokyo” Kasai’s beautiful and tranquil Tea House “Shin Kan An” is located in Santa Barbara Botanic Garden which, later she told us, miraculously survived 2008 Tea Fire.

Master Kyoko “Sokyo” Kasai

Tea Ceremony begins

Piercing eyes of Master Sokyo Kasai

Very gentle touch and movement

Have your sweets before tea to maximize flavor of tea

Red beans and Chestnut yumminess is directly from Kyoto

Master Sokyo Kasai watches over her student’s touch.

Many of Tea Ceremony Equipments are beautifully constructed out of bamboo trees.

Japanese Tea Ceremony is all about the detail

Just beautiful to watch how things unfold

Sadò has very special touch for even opening and closing of a sliding door cuz of its gracefulness as well as respect for the guests

End of one tea session

Kyoko Kasai has this greatest smile on her face often but when she is watching her students do their things, her eyes turn into Master Sokyo Kasai – SHARP!

Master Kyoko “Sokyo” Kasai and her students

Entrance to the Tea House at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.


Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Japanese Tea House/Shin Kan An


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