PARIS – Visitors at a Parisian museum were treated to Japanese tea ceremonies and a talk on the history of the practice Sunday by members of the Urasenke school, one of the top three schools practicing the art in Japan.
More than 500 people attended tea ceremonies held Saturday and Sunday at the Petit Palais as part of the “Japonismes 2018” celebration to mark the 160th anniversary last year of friendship between Japan and France.
Visitors drank green tea and ate traditional sweets. They also listened as Reijiro Izumi, deputy curator of a tea ceremony museum in Japan, explain how tea culture — originally introduced from China — flourished and developed in Japan as its own tradition, after being influenced by tea masters such as Sen no Rikyu, who emphasized simplicity in his wabi style.
“The Japanese culture of clothing, food and living can all be summarized in the art of the tea ceremony,” emphasized Izumi. He explained that the art is expressed not only through ceremony itself but by other aspects such as the traditional small plates, the tea room’s architecture and kimonos worn.
“That the tea ceremony’s customs have endured feels mysterious,” said a 65-year-old who participated in a tea ceremony for the first time.
“I can’t say that I like the taste of green tea but it was a fantastic discovery,” said another participant.
“We would like to introduce the tea ceremony in various ways so that people will not have a fixed image of what it is,” said Izumi, grandson of the former grand master Sen Genshitsu.