I often drink matcha with my favorite tea bowl at home.
I prepare matcha by using bamboo whisk known as ”Chasen”.
And then I drink it by sitting seiza style on a tatami mat.
Matcha makes me feel relaxed, and it’s an enriching time for me.
I believe that drinking matcha is conducive to good health, body, and mind.
By the way, I have not practiced the tea ceremony.
So my tea time does not apply to the rules of the tea ceremony.
I get asked a lot, “Why don’t you practice the tea ceremony, even though you love Japanese culture?
Your mother has practiced the tea ceremony for a long time, so why aren’t you interested in it?”.
My answer is simple; I have not had a good impression of the tea ceremony.
The tea ceremony has often been introduced to the world as a representation of traditional Japanese culture, and many people seem to accept it beyond any doubt.
However, I have doubts about that.
I think there is a dark side hiding under the beautiful world of the tea ceremony.
It is “Vanity”.
Vanity is a kind of weakness in the spirit of human beings.
However, the tea tea ceremony stimulated the vanity of people.
In other words, the tea ceremony has been supported by the vanity of people for a very long time.
The world of the tea ceremony seems to conveniently use vanity as a source of money.
Vanity and money are closely connected, and it shows the ugly side of people.
So I cannot think that the tea ceremony is as splendid as many people think.
Acquiring a lot of detailed manners of for the tea ceremony and owning expensive antique tea utensils are misunderstood as being of significant worth, or “Chajin”.
Many people seem to get caught in this trap.
Furthermore such vanity requires more and more money.
The diploma in the field of the tea ceremony is like a papal indulgence in the middle ages, and people buy it in exchange for a lot of money. It is natural that money talks in the tea ceremony.
This is how the tea ceremony industry has grown.
People misunderstand the practice of the tea ceremony for proof of their highly aesthetic senses.
This misunderstanding results from their vanity.
I might criticized the tea ceremony mercilessly.
However, that doesn’t mean I have lost all hope about the tea ceremony.
What should we Japanese be proud of with regard to the tea ceremony?
The tea ceremony has a virtue, but it is inconspicuous because of the complicated manners and various tea utensils that attract people’s attention.
That’s too bad.
I think trying to find something beautiful is precious humanity, and the tea ceremony is one of helpful method to realize it.
So real Chajin always pursues beauty through practicing the tea ceremony.
A mental attitude towards beauty is more important than memorizing detailed manners, owning expensive tea bowls, and reciting the explanatory description of antiques.
The tea ceremony makes us try to attain a beautiful mind through the tea utensils, the artwork, the teahouse, seasonal flowers, and matcha.
I believe this is a virtue of the tea ceremony.
The beauty is not just a method to satisfy our vanity. I would like to stress it.
Many people practicing the tea ceremony seem to avoid facing what’s important by getting engrossed in superficial arrangements of the tea ceremony.
This is because that is easier for them.
Drugs work well when used correctly, but they can poison us if we use them the wrong way.
The same is true of the tea ceremony.
So unlike the majority of Japanese, I cannot freely praise the tea ceremony.