Jun 16, 2010

How I Came to Tea

I am very pleased to have been asked to be a guest contributor on this blog. Let’s start at the very beginning, because as Julie Andrews said in “The Sound of Music,” it’s a very good place to start.

I came to the world of the Japanese Tea Ceremony through my affection for loose leaf teas. I was living in the Seattle-area at the time and was looking to purchase some open-top tea bags from Teavana at the Bellevue mall. In the store, they were promoting matcha and green teas and I noticed a display with a unique looking wooden whisk. They had an iron kettle, a can of matcha and a book with the title “Japanese Tea Ceremony.” I took the book down to flip through it and admire the pretty pictures. I didn’t really understand what I was looking at but I thought to myself: “Wow that looks cool!”

A few years passed and I didn’t give studying tea much thought. I had moved to Portland and was visiting the serene Portland Japanese Garden for the first time. By fate, I happened to be there during a Tea Ceremony Demonstration. In that particular demonstration, the presenter requested a few guests to join her for a bowl of tea in the tea house. I was lucky enough to be selected.

I sat cross-legged and awkward in the tea room for the first time, and I knew I was in a special place. I’m not a particularly religious person (I consider myself to be a spiritual person) and that day I was surprised that being in a tea room gave me a spiritual experience. It made me feel small and insignificant. I know that’s a hackneyed expression, but it was a deep pulling in my gut that I couldn’t ignore. It was the same feeling I get when I look up into a starry, cloudless sky. I was feeling this spiritual tug and I just tried to pay attention to my host, listen to the presenter’s speech and soak up this rich and special opportunity I was given.

When it came time to have my first drink of tea, I was surprised by how GOOD it was! The foam just slid right down and the sweet – it brought out all the unique flavors of the tea. I knew tea could be good but MAN. This was like nothing I had ever tasted before. I knew right then I wanted to see what this Chanoyu was all about. And that, my friends, is what brought me to this cultural treasure.

1 comment:

  1. Karla,

    Welcome to the SweetPersimmon blog and thank you for your first post. I always like to know how people are introduced to Chado. I am looking forward to many more posts from you.