I’ve been reading up on Chanoyu, or Sado, or Tea Ceremony, or The Way of Tea, or whatever you like to call it. One of my coworkers took me to her ochakai lesson with her mother and for the first time EVER I got to wear kimono! It was so exciting, and probably also very good for my posture. The obi is very tight and stiff, but not completely restricting, but the most difficult thing, I found, was standing up and sitting down without letting the undergarment show. I felt a little awkward, but I’m sure if I could practice all the time, I could easily get used to it. However, putting on a kimono by oneself is no easy task. I have a kimono, but I unfortunately do not have all of the appropriate underthings…yet. Don’t you love the tabi (socks)? They remind me of Ninja Turtle feet. Hee.
Also, I’ve been to ochakai before, but this was a lesson, and not an actual tea-meet. It was way more relaxed than the real thing, which made me feel a lot more comfortable and about 75% less awkward and foreign! You can learn so much about Zen philosophy from tea ceremony, and Japanese culture as well. If you want to learn more about the way of tea, I’d recommend reading “The Book of Tea” by Kakuzo Okakura. It’s all about the aesthetics and philosophy that are the tea ceremony itself. The book also includes the history of tea ceremony and talks about its earliest forms. The book also has a few anecdotes about the most influential tea master, Sen-no Rikyu, who broke apart his tea bowl and committed ritual suicide after performing his final tea ceremony.
“[tea ceremony] is an attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”
– Tenshin Okakura, The Book of Tea