Dalila Roglieri

Cha no yu: Japanese te cerimony

22/02/2018

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We are still with our nutritionist Dalila Roglieri in matsue: after tasting Matcha Tea in front of a surprising sunset, here we are now at the traditional tea ceremony.    

 

The intense taste of Matcha tea tasted on the street just a few days ago: the more I come back with memory, the stronger you get the feeling that that is just a piece of something bigger, a side of Japanese culture that I now want to complete.    

 

Fortunately today I do not miss it: the ship will only start in the evening, leaving me a whole afternoon to roam the streets of the city looking for the tea house that most inspires me, with a clear goal in mind: living the best experience of the Cha no yu, or sado, or - for us westerners - tea ceremony.   Despite the custom of welcoming the host in the house to sip tea throughout the world, in Japan it takes a deeper meaning and becomes a social rite with its precise formality.  

 

The ceremony can take the name of cha no yu, which literally means " Hot water for tea ", or - if you would prefer to highlight its spiritual aspect - of sado, " via tea ".    

 

What I am fortunate enough to attend this afternoon is according to the style-cha style, a particularly sober style that recalls the custom of Buddhist monks to consume green tea during meditation periods. Matcha Tea, with its stimulating properties, was considered to be aid from monks during the long hours of prayer, and still today retains the role entrusted to it centuries ago.    

 

The Zen Art of sharing with humility tea matcha has spread over the centuries even in popular culture, preserving the simplicity of the principles with which it was born.    

 

The Elegance of the movements in preparing and serving the drink wants to recall a concept of purity of meeting and respect among participants in the ceremony: much more harmony and tranquility are created in living the common moment, the more the guest will feel comfortable and Welcome.     The traditional ceremony takes place in small wooden buildings, almost remains inside, and provides for the use of different tools in natural material changing depending on the season.    

 

The location of the kettle also reflects the rhythms of nature: in autumn and winter, the "Kama" is kept in a furnace made in the tatami, while the mild spring temperatures and summer bring it to light on an external brazier.    

 

The duration of the rite depends on the occasion celebrated: the rite can become complex, while retaining sober style. Sitting on the tatami I look forward to the owner of the tea house.    

 

In a few minutes it reaches me, silent, carrying the tray tray on which the elements of cha no yu are supported in its most essential form. Preparation starts by heating the tea cup with boiling water, with circular movements that also wet the walls of the bowl. After drying it, the real preparation of tea begins.     Matcha Powder is stored in the nazume, small dark color container: my guest collects a small quantity with a bamboo tool, the chashaku, and puts it at the bottom of the chawan, the temperate cup.    

 

Everything happens with great calm: the respectful silence of the rite is interrupted only by the sound of hot water in the cup. With A Bamboo Whip, Chasen, tea and boiling water are now mixed vigorously until they form a foam with light green color on the surface. Matcha Tea is ready.    

 

Although far from home the use of hot water, a powder compound and a traditional kettle make my mind wander up to my home table in Italy. And I imagine to return one day the gracious Japanese hospitality with the gurgling of a traditional Italian Coffee Mocha.

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