Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tea for four: An Aussie demos Japan in Germany

Following the tradition of mixing cultures as much as possible (like the kendo exhibition of July) - and thanks to the fact that I'm muddled enough to try to keep up my Japanese language skills while I'm living in Germany - today saw four members of my language class (two Germans, a French woman and me) take part in a demonstration of the Japanese tea ceremony tradition to a group of Germans at the local Volkshochschule (literally "people's high school", or adult/community education centre)..

I'm a big fan of spreading the joys and intrigues of other cultures and the Volkshochschule Open Day seemed like the perfect weekend outing for me. I've been surprised at how much interest the local Germans I meet have in my experiences in Japan - and have even met quite a few who have been there, often through work (having plenty of automobile industry stuff in common) but also quite often as tourists.

While the main challenge for the four of us was to remain in a kneeling position for about fifteen minutes – something I could do comfortably during my two years in Japan, but a skill that has definitely been lost since – our Japanese teacher had to concentrate on the various complicated steps that make a tea ceremony correct. With gentle Japanese music playing in the background and onlookers sitting quietly fascinated it was a really meditative experience. It’s a far extreme from dumping boiling water over a tea bag in my messy kitchen, and thank goodness such extremes exist.

8 comments:

  1. Sounds wonderfully thought provoking. I've only ever seen such ceremonies on television, but I think I'd like to take part in something that is different than my own culture. Someday, I'll make it there.
    http://abookagirlajourney.blogspot.com

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  2. How neat that even in Germany, you can be part of something so traditional for you! Found you at the Rewind.

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  3. I could really use that today:) Sounds beautiful

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  4. The rituals of foreign cultures are fascinating and absorbing. The tea making ceremony seems particularly be about slowing down, pondering the moment and lifting the every day into an art form. Perfect! x

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  5. It does sound lovely - like a meditation almost - my kind of meditation where you lose yourself in calm action rather than attempting stillness.

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  6. How wonderful you could share it to a group in your new community. What a rich, diverse culture you find yourself in.

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  7. Love it! A community within a community, sharing traditions.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

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  8. Thanks to all you lovely Fibro visitors! If you ever find yourself with a chance to try out a Japanese tea ceremony, do it - rather special.

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