Nomura Yoko believes tea will unite India, Japan

Nomura Yoko believes tea will unite India, Japan

In Japan, tea is considered more than just a drink. And the Japanese  tea ceremony has indeed played an integral part  in its culture for  centuries. It is an elaborate practice of preparing and serving the Japanese green tea called 'Matcha'.  It is patience, grace and authentic rituals that set this ceremony apart.

On the occasion of completing a year, Radisson Blu Atria recently invited tea masters Nomura Yoko, Yoshida Teruyo and Murata Masashi from the Japan Travel Cafe, Azuki, to perform the sacred ceremony. In a conversation with Nomura Yoko, Surupasree Sarmmah finds out more about this practice and what  Nomura  thinks of the Indian tea culture.

 

Tell us about the Japanese tea culture...

This ceremony is also called Chanoyu, Sado or Ocha in Japanese. For us preparing tea in this ceremony is more than just drinking it. It is also about the aesthetics. We serve Matcha (powdered green tea) along with  traditional sweets to balance out the bitterness of this magical potion. The host of the ceremony is always of prime importance and we Japanese believe in preparing a bowl of tea with all our hearts. There are aesthetics involved even in the way we place the tea utensil (which is considered from the guests viewpoint). We like to call this ceremony as the 'Way of the tea' and the manner in which it is performed is called 'Otemae'. There are various factors involved in making this sacred and authentic. One of the most important things is the venue. 'Chashitsu', a room especially for tea ceremonies - tatami floor, low ceiling, screens, an alcove for scrolls, a hearth built into the floor and entrances for guests are important aspects. The ceremony varies from one school of thought to the other, time of the day, season and venues.  

 

How often do you come to India?

This is my third visit to India, before this, I performed the ceremony in the University of Calicut last year. I am excited to showcase our cultural performance here in Bengaluru. I hope people get a glimpse of the significance and understand the importance of the ceremony, which is in harmony with the nature. The flower arrangements and the sound of water during the performance is extremely important to us.      

 

How successful do you think 'Matcha' is going to be here?

Yes, it is going to be successful as 'Matcha' green tea is already booming in the West and I am sure introducing it here will be a good idea. More than that, India will also be introduced to the Japanese culture.    

 

Can more events like this have a positive impact on the relationship between India and Japan?

Definitely. I saw people in huge numbers come to witness the tea ceremony in the University of Calicut, I was overwhelmed by the positive response. I am sure with more such events, the two countries are going to bond better. Tea is just a factor, understanding each others culture is the main purpose.    

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