The traditional arts workshop offered an array of Japanese customs. To begin, the lovely woman pictured below gave us a demonstration of ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arrangement.
Ikebana is a very philosophical tradition, emphasizing the beauty of the asymmetric and the changing of the seasons.
Next, we were given a marvelous performance on the koto, a Japanese string instrument.
The practice of the koto is truly unique. The performer presses on the strings to alternate between tones, creating an eerie and beautiful sound.
All of a sudden, we were wearing kimonos! It was an adorable process as the sweet women picked out the colors of our arrangement and tied the obi.
After being dressed, we practiced our calligraphy with traditional brushes and black ink. It’s harder than it looks!
Luckily, she was very patient and helped us write our names.
To conclude our lovely afternoon, we were shown the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. This is matcha, or powdered green tea that has been whisked with a bamboo tool in hot water. The frothiness was amazing.
To accompany our tea, we were given traditional Japanese sweets for the spring season! They were all so delicious and sweet with the bitterness of the thick matcha.