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Authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony in Chennai


14 March 2024

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On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, a unique and immersive event took place in Chennai: an authentic Japanese tea ceremony conducted by renowned Tea Master Norie Ohga Sensei and her dedicated disciples. This was the first time such a ceremony had been held in Chennai, offering participants a rare opportunity to experience the rich cultural heritage of Japan.

The event was hosted by Dahlia Authentic Japanese Restaurant, Chennai. It's Master Yamauchi-san and Ms. Revathi. The tea ceremony commenced at noon at the Hayakawa Japanese Language School and Culture Center. The presence of the Chief Guest, Mr. Masayuki Taga, the Consul-General of Japan in Chennai, added to the significance of the occasion. The event was partly conducted in his honor as he prepared to retire from service. Ms. Mami Teraoka, a Researcher/Advisor from the Consulate- General of Japan in Chennai, also graced the event with her presence.

The tea station was meticulously set up on a red carpet, featuring an array of authentic utensils. These included the tea caddy (cha-ire), bamboo whisk (chasen), ceramic bowls (chawan), bamboo ladle (hishaku), copper pot (okama), and water jar (mizusashi). A special highlight was the tea scoop (chashaku), which was gifted by Ohga Sensei to Yamauchi-san as a token of appreciation for his 88th birthday.

Prior to the tea ceremony, the utensils were carefully cleaned and prepared, ensuring the utmost hygiene and respect for tradition. The Matcha tea was meticulously prepared for each guest individually, allowing them to savor the unique flavor and aroma of this precious tea.

Tea Master Ohga Sensei and her disciples took turns preparing the tea with grace and precision. While one disciple was engaged in the intricate process of whisking the Matcha powder and hot water together, another disciple served traditional Japanese sweets to the guests. These sweets are traditionally served before the tea to enhance the bitter flavor of the Matcha.

Throughout the ceremony, Ohga Sensei shared insightful explanations about various aspects of the tea ceremony. She explained the significance of turning the bowl's design face away before drinking to show respect for the host and the tea itself. These explanations enriched the guests' understanding and appreciation of the ceremony's cultural significance.

After enjoying their exquisite bowls of green tea, the guests were treated to a delectable Japanese-style boxed meal (bento) prepared in advance by Dahlia. The bento featured a variety of traditional Japanese dishes, offering a delightful culinary experience to complement the tea ceremony.

The guests expressed their appreciation for the unique and authentic experience they had during the event. It was a grand success, and we at Hayakawa are grateful to Tea Master Norie Ohga Sensei and her disciples, who shared this precious tradition with the audience, as well as Dahlia and the Consulate- General of Japan in Chennai for the opportunity to hold the event at our school. There are also plans to conduct authentic tea ceremony lessons at Hayakawa in the future, and this event has been an important first step towards this venture.