NIGHT AND DAY
17Ian Thomas Ash, January 2017Prevailing here is a feeling of Wa-Kei-Sei-Jyaku, short for “peace, respect, purity and quietness” found in the teachings of Sen no Rikyu (1522 – 1591), who is considered to be the father of the Japanese tea ceremony. Adding to the esthetic of simplicity are the objects displayed in the room’s tokonoma, or alcove. The kakejiku, or scrolls, are changed depending on the occasion of the tea ceremony and the season, as are the owers that are arranged by Tanaka-sensei herself.Before the ceremony began Tanaka-sensei urged us to quietly pay special attention to the beautiful movements surrounding the purification of the tools and the making of the tea as this would lead to a feeling of peace in our hearts. The tea ceremony is not only good for the spirit, she added, but it is also healthy for the body as the sweets are made from beans and the tea itself contains vitamins A and C.As the tea ceremony concluded and with the sweetness of the bean confection coupled with the bitterness of the tea still lingering in my mouth, indeed a sense of relaxation and peace had washed over me. Partaking in a cup of tea is only a fragment of what one experiences upon a visit to the Toko-an....