Sunday, 1 May 2011


Today was a bit of a surprise kind of day. Last night San Hirano who is our Landlady popped round (Mr Hirano is a councillor or something and has been for a while. That or the photographer on his campaign was a dab hand with the old photoshop), and invited us to go to a tea ceremony with them in the morning. So we did and this is what I thought:

Tea is a funny thing really. In England, well in my house anyway, there are many kinds each with their individual following and way of making. Here is somewhat the same but with a sort of semi-spirituality attached. We walked into what looked like a town hall with judo rooms on either side. A que had formed and I think we pushed in, well, Mr Hirano did and we followed. There was a lot of following and vacant smiling. We took our shoes off and sat around a mat room on our knees. Women in lovely heavy Kimonos brought paper napkins round (although they were much neater and stylish looking than our pastel equivalents). Then an older woman came in and sat on a chair to talk to us all. I have no idea what she was saying, there was absolutely no expression in her voice but the circle of mostly middle aged, middle class japanese, found it hillarious. Then we were given bowls of green tea with a slightly creamy top. We had to bow a few times to the right and infront, turn the bowl and then drink up. There was also this funny roll thing that they gave us but I cant quite remember when we had that. I think it was made of some kind of bean paste, bright green on the outside and purple in the middle. To be honest I thought it was marzipan at first and nearly wet myself (I have a rather inconvenient nut allergy) The tea must have blurred my memory.

Afterwards we went into another room and saw some flower arranging. I have no idea what they were about but that there was an 'old' style and a 'modern' style. See if you can tell.

After all that tea and foliage, we went to this museum about Japanese technology and bits and pieces. There was this cute game at the end where you used photographic paper and an office lamp to expose little images in red and black. I liked the clock faces because of the number 8. Looked cooler than English ones I've seen.

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