Friday, May 31, 2013
Are tea people taciturn?
This is the entrance towards my tea school (shown on the picture). What I found there was a trace that someone intentionally watered the pathway. Can you guess why? I think that my teacher sprinkled water over the path before the class started. I’m not the first student coming to the class so the path was not completely wet when I came. Anyway, the wet pathway is the sign for “I've been expecting you. Please come in.” The host sweeps and cleans the entrance before the guests come. Then, she sprinkles water. If you see the wet entrance, you can tell that the host is ready for the ceremony and you can get in. The sprinkled water is called “mukaemizu” which literally means welcome water.
In Sado (The Way of Tea), we highly value wordless actions and there are some rules for the non-verbal communication. The same rule similar to first given sample is keeping the door slightly open. It is the sign from the host that it’s ready and you can enter this way.
Tomeishi-stone or Sekimoriishi-stone also leads you to the correct trail in the tea garden. The stone is the sign for“do not go any farther than here”. If you see the stone, you have to go the other way. Without a map or instruction, you can still reach the destination where the host wants you to come. (Past entry about Tomeishi >>> http://everyonestea.blogspot.jp/2011/05/what-is-tomeishi-stone.html)
There is a rule also for the guests to tell the host their intention. When guests enjoy the kaiseki cuisine, the host is not in the same room; he/she is waiting in the next room. So, when the guests finish eating, they drop the chopsticks on the tray and make a sound all together. It is the sign for they are done. Then, the host comes into the room and clears away the dishes.
These rules can cut off idle words and make the ceremony smart and simple. I found it very interesting; tea people try to eliminate not only unnecessary objects from the tea room but also words.