During the sakura viewing tea party at Soochow’s Waishuangsi Campus on March 13th, 2020, Mei-Hwa Wu, lecturer from the Department of Japanese Language and Culture and the members of Japanese Tea Ceremony Club demonstrated the tea-serving procedure and etiquette, while the spectators enjoyed matcha (powdered green tea) and wagashi (traditional Japanese confections). Marking its 25 consecutive years, the event rejoiced over Soochow’s 121st birthday in a quiet way.
The tea ceremony is not just about drinking tea, but rather an exquisite form of art. Preparing tea means pouring all one's attention into the essential elements that range from the placement in the tea room to hand movements of making tea.
The calligraphy scroll hung in the tea room also plays a central role and serves as the first step in savoring tea. This year, the calligraphy featured the poem by Yuan-Ming Tao, one of the best-known Chinese poets in the Six Dynasties period, and it echoed the current season of spring. The scroll writings represented the key concept of this tea gathering—“After winter must come spring,” which anticipates a bright future lying ahead for a post-pandemic world.
Before entering the tea room, guests appreciated the calligraphy scroll. Then the host welcomed each guest and poured hot water into the pot, followed by serving tea to the guests, who would turn the chawan (tea bowl) clockwise by around 45 degrees until the front of it faces the host, and finished the tea in three sips.
Wu said that for this tea party, the members of the club had been practicing since last semester and even in summer vacation, which proves that it takes a great deal of time and efforts to help people grasp the essence of tea ceremony.
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