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. Aikidò, Kendò, Judò, 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