Tea Culture in Japan

John Xina

It is amazing how ingrained tea is in Japanese culture and how different it is from other countries with a deep tea culture. One of the most interesting things about Japanese tea culture is the emphasis on the lack of repetition. You are not supposed to have pictures of birds or flowers when serving tea if your guests just returned from a flower viewing. This is because your guests just saw a lot of birds and flowers therefore pictures of birds and flowers are repetitive. Hosts literally take into consideration the actions of their guests before arriving at their tea house to avoid repetition.

I also find a tea house called a Sukiya to be very interesting as well. The Sukiya is supposed to be a hut or small shelter that is as barren as possible. The Sukiya is so barren that it is considered unfinished. The Sukiya barrenness is what makes it so beautiful. It is to be barren and unfinished on purpose. The finishing touches of the Sukiya are completed through one’s imagination. This makes it so all Sukiyas are a little bit different. Think of a Sukiya like a blank canvas; you would not be able to create what you wanted to if there is a bunch of crap on it. So the creativity of the Sukiya is created through the lack of creativity of the basic structure.

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