If you’ve studied Japan, you’ve probably come across a wonderful book called the Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo. In it, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony is explained. What one learns is that there is art in tea, and the tea ceremony is a reflection of life and culture.
This is the opposite of Dunkin Donuts drive-thru. A tea ceremony tales a while, and allows the tea drinker to relax and focus. Each move is deliberate. There is a right way and a wrong way to do each step. Each utensil is special and handled with care. Everything is shown respect.
What isn’t shown here in great details is the procession through temple ground and gardens prior to reaching the tea hut that the tea drinker must make, a journey that begins the process of mindfullness with sights and sounds of nature.
One of the artistic principles related to tea is that of wabi sabi. It’s an appreciation of the imperfection and temporary nature of all things, and is often expressed in the tea cups. A maker of tea cups might make a perfect cup, then introduce a dent or imperfection to make it perfect. The tea drinker will hold the cup and fingers will naturally find this indentation. It, too, is appreciated.
Grab some tea, relax, and enjoy the ceremony.