特定非営利活動法人 桜茶meet
#6_茶の湯外交 「2020秋茶会Q&A」のご紹介 Chanoyu Diplomacy "2020 Autumn Tea Party" Q&A

#6_茶の湯外交 「2020秋茶会Q&A」のご紹介 Chanoyu Diplomacy "2020 Autumn Tea Party" Q&A

特定非営利活動法人 桜茶meet


This article introduces the questions and answers from the three sessions of the "Online Autumn Tea Party Connecting the World" (morning session, evening session, and night session). The autumn tea party was held by our organization at the Imperial Hotel on Monday, November 23, 2020. This article is organized into 5 different sections.


In this article, the "questioners" are main participants from Japan, the U.S., and Israel, and the "respondent" is Professor Sobin Koizumi who has been teaching about the spirit of enjoying tea at our organization since 2017. (click here for her profile). If you have any additional questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.



About Tea Culture


Q: "What is the difference between the “Chadou” 『茶道』and “Chanoyu” 『茶の湯』?


A: "Let's look at the history. About 800 years ago, tea came to Japan from China as a “medicine.” At that time, tea was more expensive than gold, so it was not available to the general public and became a "game of the upper class (aristocracy).” This was the beginning of "Chanoyu". On the other hand, about 400 years ago, “Sadou” was introduced into the Bushido (The way of the Samurai) to help the warriors to search the peace in their minds. The warriors who spent most of their time fighting were very strict about education, however, they needed something to support their personal growth. “Sadou” taught them how to be a person.


(For more in-depth information, please refer to this article ("What is the difference between 'Chanoyu' and 'Chadou'?" ). Our organization’s tea ceremony "Chanoyu Diplomacy"「茶の湯外交』is based on the concept of "Sakura,"「茶楽』 the tea ceremony which is easy to enjoy for everyone. Our goal is to create a tea that will serve as a "gateway" to introduce Japan to the world, or as a "catalyst" for people to take an interest in Japan.



Q: "Why did the tea ceremony, which was born in the Warring States period, survived up to this day?


After the Warring States Period, the tea ceremony was relatively stable until the Edo Period, but there were occasional periods of decline, especially after the Meiji Restoration. However, each time, the tea ceremony would rise again, thanks to the "Sukishas of the time." They worked hard to raise awareness about the tea ceremony.  However, after the war, the tea ceremony became more like a "culture school" because it was mainly for women, and those who were not satisfied with the tea ceremony stopped practicing it. It can be said that we are now in a serious "period of decline.


For more information about Sukisha, please refer to this article ("What does Sukisha mean? ). Our vision is to create “Sukisha Circle” throughout the world. We aim to spread the Japanese culture (which was born in Japan and has continued for hundreds of years) of “Peace and Wisdom” to the world.



Q: "What are the differences between different regions and schools of tea ceremony? / Why do different schools have different ways of turning tea bowls? /Why are there different schools?


A: Japan's tea culture began in Kyoto. In the past, tea ceremony varied from region to region, but now it is almost the same everywhere. The only difference is the "characteristics” of the school. What do I mean by school characteristics? For instance, the above mentioned, the "way of turning tea bowl" varies depending on the school. Even though the essence is the same, if you want to learn more about tea, you should choose a school that has the characteristics you like.


So, why are there different schools? If you go back in history, it is because the grandchildren of Sen no Rikyuu, who established the tea ceremony, each developed their way of the tea ceremony. As a result, the original “tea ceremony” was divided into different schools. Each grandchild became an Iemoto- the head of school. It may be simpler to think of it as "school = individuality.”


When you choose a school and enter the "way" of tea, there is a harsh world waiting for you. Therefore, I always tell people to enjoy the taste of good tea first. You can enjoy it on your own as you like, or share it with others. Without this 'enjoyment,' getting into the tea ceremony may become a painful experience along the way.


Q: "In addition to having fun, Israelis also tend to be interested in the "origin" of formal etiquette. If there is one thing you want people to understand about the tea ceremony what is it? / What is the way to get young people interested in this?


A: "It's about having fun. People who want to pursue something deeper will go deeper. Anyway, let them drink real Matcha and make it themselves."


②茶会について  About the Tea Ceremony


Q: "How many people can attend the tea ceremony? Do you make the tea yourself or have someone make it for you? Is it okay to talk during the ceremony?


A: "It depends on the tea ceremony. Traditional tea ceremonies are strict, and it is preferable to keep quiet. However, if the host is putting "fun" first, the atmosphere will be enjoyable. It can be done alone, with friends, or in large numbers (100 or more), in the morning or at night, whenever you want. However, I do not recommend drinking matcha at night because the caffeine in the tea will wake you up.


Even though, usually in the tea ceremony, the host makes tea for each guest the tea ceremony is a fun world where people can freely create and make tea for each other.



Q: "Do you eat at the tea ceremony?

A:「軽くいただいてからお茶を飲みます。と言いますのも、お茶は元々薬だったので、空腹の胃ではもたれると思われていました。本当はそんなことはありませんが^^ なお、お食事だけでなくお酒もいただきます。また、お茶は苦いと思われていたので、甘いお菓子もいただいてからお茶を飲みます」

A: "We eat lightly and then drink tea because tea was originally a medicine and was thought to be too strong for an empty stomach. This is not the case anymore. Also, tea was thought to be bitter, so we like to have sweets before drinking tea.


Q: "What is the relationship between music and a tea party, and does music even make sense for a peaceful gathering?


A: "It depends on the idea of the organizer. The tea ceremony is originally performed in a soundless world. It is to enjoy the sound of the air, the sound of hot water, and the sound of the tea whisk. But I don't want to say, "It has to be this way," because that is just the Japanese sensibility. I hope that tea can be enjoyed freely, without being bound by rules, while respecting the culture and values of each individual.

About Matcha


Q: "You mentioned Gyokuro, what kind of tea is used in a tea ceremony?


A: "Matcha and Gyokuro both have the same tea leaves, but the brewing method is different. Gyokuro is brewed by pouring warm water over the whole leaves, while with matcha, the entire leaf is grinded down to a powder.


Q: "Where can I buy good tea? A: "Where can I buy good matcha? If I am not familiar with tea ceremonies but want to drink good matcha, where should I go?


A: "In terms of really good tea, please come to Japan. If you drink tea and feel like "I want to know about this tea," please come to the place of origin. This is not limited to Japanese tea. When it comes to the tea ceremony, the environment such as the air, soil, and water of a place becomes important. If you are interested in Japanese tea, I would like you to try it with Japanese air and water.


As for how to find a tea that you like, go to a famous tea shop, they will offer you a variety of teas. First, try one kind of tea, then ask a tea shop and try different kinds of tea. If you find a tea that you like at a restaurant, you can ask, "Where is the tea from? and they will tell you. If you keep doing this, you will find the tea that you like. It's not about the price or the grade, but about what's best for you.


Q: "What do you think of the takeout matcha sold in American cafes?


A: "You are free to enjoy it after you know the true taste, and your enjoyment is enhanced when you know the true taste. I think it would be fun to taste Matcha with the sense that it is something really special.


Q: Where is the best place to visit in Japan, and is there a tea ceremony I can attend when I go to Kyoto?


A: "If you are in Kyoto, please come to Uji, which is known as the "home of Japanese tea.” Also, once a month, all the shrines and temples in Kyoto hold a tea ceremony that anyone can attend. Ask at the travel information center for more information. Also, any time you go to a place that says "Zakama" on it, they will let you experience a tea ceremony.

④抹茶の飲み方について How to drink Matcha


Q: "What is the temperature when drinking tea / how much hot water do you add? / Do you mix it with your wrist or with your whole arm?


A: "For really good matcha, boiling water will not spoil the taste. A lower-grade tea will lose its flavor if the temperature is not lowered. Also, the best amount of matcha and hot water depends on the tea and your taste. For the teas that I recommend, I recommend 2.5 spoons of matcha and 50 ml of hot water.


In tea ceremonies, people enjoy drinking small amounts of tea several times. Therefore, I serve it in small amounts. It is a form of hospitality to repeatedly ask, "Would you like another cup? It was scolded that it was rude to make too much. However, at a tea ceremony for a large number of people, I serve more tea to satisfy the guests at one time.


When I learned how to use the tea whisk, I used to use my wrist, but it depends on how the teacher teaches. I think it's fine to start with a form that is fun and easy to use. When you start to learn the "way" of tea, you will be asked to follow a certain pattern. It depends on the school, so there are no rules.


Q: "Why do you make a "SSS" sound when you drink?


A: "Originally, tea was so thick that it had to be inhaled to be fully consumed. Also, in the case of light tea, the last part of the tea is foam, so it is drunk by sucking it.


Q: "What kind of tea bowl do you recommend?


A: "A wide teacup makes it easier to move the tea whisk back and forth, so it is easier to make the tea.


Q: "Do you also spin teacups without handles?


A:"Yes, all of them. For bowls without handles, what should be considered the front part of the bowl is the part that is facing the guest when the host offers it. 


Q: "What are the most common mistakes made by beginners? (🇺🇸)


A: "What we introduce is not the 'tea ceremony' but the 'Chanoyu', so don't worry about the mistakes and just enjoy it. If you stick to the rules, tea will be hard. Also, if you worry about making mistakes, your attention will be on yourself. The heart of tea is to be hospitable to others, so if you try to enjoy yourself, the tea will be gentle.

⑤その他 Other


Q: "How can I participate in this meeting? How can I contribute?


A: We are looking for people who would like to learn together with us while supporting our activities by becoming members of the Sukisha.

特定非営利活動法人 桜茶meet
特定非営利活動法人 桜茶meet は「世界における日本の存在力低下」という課題に対し「茶楽(さくら)」をコンセプトとする茶会を通して相互理解を促進する「草の根×民間」による茶の湯外交を展開しています