ISLAMABAD: How do you demonstrate a state of a relation?
Some do it by expressing it openly. Others prefer to show it through a gesture or even an exchange – words or other material items.
But the Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai and his wife opted to do so in one of Japan’s most profound gestures.
A cup of tea.
The envoy and his wife organised a live demonstration of Chanoyu or Sado, traditional Japanese tea ceremony, at his residence on Thursday.
The ceremony was primarily held to demonstrate an important facet of Japanese culture and its unique traditions.
However, with the year marking the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Pakistan, the ceremony was part of a series of programmes which the Japanese embassy will be hosting throughout the year to showcase Japanese culture and tradition.
The significance of the tea ceremony in this context increases since the central aspect of the ceremony involves harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity – thus the ceremony was in one way an expression of the state of Pakistan-Japan relations.
The ceremony, also called the “Way of Tea”, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of ‘matcha’, powdered green tea and the art of its performance is called ‘temae’. Wearing traditional Japanese dress kimono, Japanese ladies skillfully demonstrated the ceremony of making the tea.
He added that the act of preparing and drinking the powdered green tea is an art which requires many years of study to master.
The whole process is not just about drinking tea, but about the aesthetic of preparing and serving a bowl of tea from one’s heart, the ambassador added. “The reason behind holding a tea ceremony is to attain deep spiritual satisfaction, and silent contemplation while drinking tea,” Kurai explained.
“The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is a spiritual experience that reminds you to respect and appreciate others, to feel harmony, and to purify yourself in the tranquil environment,” the envoy said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2017.
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