Tea Ceremony and K-Town

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Sakura preparing to enter to start her tea making.

Sakura preparing to enter to start her tea making.

In addition to traditional Japanese dance my host family also takes tea ceremony classes. I was able to watch and participate this past Saturday! It was amazing! In tea ceremony every movement you make is important. For example when you open the door, you open first with your left hand until it is right in front of you. Then you switch hands. This way you are never reaching across yourself. You also have to use a very formal Japanese speech. Most Japanese would not understand what is being said; nor would most Japanese know how to respond correctly.  What really intrigued me was the way they used a handkerchief throughout. They fold it in a very specific way. It looks simple; however it took me several times to do. You have to hold the handkerchief very specifically.

The Sensei is helping fold the handkerchief correctly.

The Sensei is helping fold the handkerchief correctly.

Kokoro practicing, and the delicious Japanese sweets!

Kokoro practicing, and the delicious Japanese sweets!

It is really beautiful. I now understand why the tea ceremony is described as an art, because like a dance it is preformed. Plus I got to eat Japanese sweets too. I love Japanese sweets.

The teacher also gave me a gift! It is a traditional teacup with Sakura painted on it. This is not like a traditional English teacup. It looks like a bowl actually.  It is beautiful! I am at a loss for words to have received such a gift. What an amazing way to commemorate the experience I had.

My Tea Cup!

My Tea Cup!

Later that day my church was having a special service at a different location than where usually is. I actually got a little lost getting there. But arrived safe and sound. After the service everyone was planning on going out for dinner. I had told Aya-san that I would be home for dinner, but had plenty of time to look around for myself. I was in fact in Korean Town. I really had fun looking around. I loved K-town in NYC, but this was so much larger, and much more fun. K-town in NYC is restaurants, a grocery, around 3 bakeries, a beauty shop, and a bookstore. K-town in Shinjuku is K-pop mania, in addition to lots of restaurants, venders, beauty product stores, etc. There were so many people looking around too. It was really high spirited and fun to walk around in. Also there were posters everywhere of famous Korean movie stars and K-pop idols. Even large screens showing music videos on the street. I did get a little something to eat. I couldn’t resist. It was like a doughnut/roll filled with anko (sweet red bean), which is fried in front of you. It was amazing. Also, I confess I am a Big Bang fan. This is a K-pop boy band, for those who don’t know. And for some reason Big Bang products did not have that large of a selection. This is really odd since they are a really popular group. However I did find a GD folder. I am more of a TOP fan, in the sense of my guy preference. GD is more an inspiration as a fashion icon. GD’s folder was a better picture though compared to TOP’s. So I bought the GD one.  I am blissfully excited to use this folder. My Japanese homework is already occupying it. Sorry for the fan girling, but I am so excited.

I asked if I could take this picture... so the guy was kinda posing for me. Hence the reason he seems serious in his flipping whatever these heaven on earth deliciousness' are called.

I asked if I could take this picture… so the guy was kinda posing for me. Hence the reason he seems serious in his flipping whatever these heaven on earth deliciousness’ are called.

the bottom image is on the folder I bought

This shows a little bit what K-town was like. Sorry for the tree photo bombing this image.

This shows a little bit what K-town was like. Sorry for the tree photo bombing this image.

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