Watching a Japanese tea ceremony a few days ago, I was really impressed by the reverence and care that goes into the tea-making process. There is as much enjoyment in preparing the tea as there is in drinking it.
The items are carefully prepared and the ceremony is performed for the enjoyment of guests. Each movement is gentle, deliberate and precise. It can take years of practice to perfect the routine.
Japanese culture contains a number of ceremonies that are performed at pivotal times in life – birth, marriage and death. Their connection to their culture is very strong, as is their respect for nature. Art, beauty and taste are an important part of their daily lives.
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There are so many things we can learn from this culture; an appreciation of art, ceremony, poetry and music - not as a hobby or pastime but as an integral part of who they are.
Too often we barrel through our lives at a hectic pace and things that should be savoured and appreciated become a hurried habit. Appliances and convenience products make it too easy.
When was the last time you made yourself a pot of tea from fresh loose leaves or ground and brewed a cup of coffee without a machine?
When did you last lose yourself in a symphony or sit and enjoy at a piece of beautiful art?
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But we don’t have to set aside special time to appreciate art, beauty or nature. We can do as the Japanese do and incorporate it into our daily living.
‘Art is not in some far-off place. A work of art is the expression of a man’s whole personality, sensibility and ability’ – Shinichi Suzuki
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- Hang beautiful art on our walls. If cost is a problem this can be done with inexpensive prints or illustrations from old books and frames from op-shops.
- Start our morning with beautiful music instead of a rowdy breakfast radio show.
- Buy an inexpensive tea infuser. This works just as quickly as a teabag but gives a richer fresh-brewed flavour.
- Connect with nature whenever we can. See more on this.
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