The Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Ottawa Festival

The Japanese Tea Ceremony at the Ottawa Festival

I attended the Tea and Chocolate Festival in Ottawa the other day.

I bought an admission ticket online and I also got a ticket for a private Japanese Tea Ceremony. I was very curious to find out how they would present the ceremony at this public event.
When I arrived, it was so crowded! There was a line up for tickets. Fortunately, I had a pre-ordered ticket, so I went through quickly.

I was able to sample different teas and pieces of chocolates at no charge. I found some interesting teas!  I didn’t know if any of the businesses would be wholesalers, however, I brought my business cards just in case. I made some connections. I will consider buying some of these teas and introducing them at CHA CHA TEA.

Then, I went to the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

It was amazing! They were set up very nicely, with the atmosphere of a very authentic tea room. They did a great job! There were only 5 guests, including me.

Some time ago, I had learned a little from a teacher who taught me the style of the “Ura-senke” school. The group at the festival were from the “Omote-senke” school. They could be considered brother schools but they have very different ways of making tea. It was fascinating for me to see the differences. For example, when I make Matcha tea in ceremony style, I make it frothy, but they don’t make it with bubbles. It looks and tastes very differently!  

I didn’t want to intimidate them just because I am from Japan. I thought that they must know more about the ceremony than I do. So I was quiet at first (though this is not like me).

Rebecca-san, the hostess, was very nice and knowledgeable. She had studied the tea ceremony for 7 years in Japan. She is even fluent in Japanese, kind and funny. She started to ask me a lot of questions and made me feel very comfortable.

While Rebecca-san explained what they were doing, her assistant brought a beautiful Japanese sweet, and another student made tea for us.

After the tea, Rebecca-san asked me if I would make a bowl of tea for her student. Oh my! I was not prepared whatsoever!! No Kimono, no Fukusa (cloth)... I was not sure if I could do well, but I certainly tried. They seemed fascinated with similarities and differences.

What a novel experience. I am very glad I attended the show. I really want to return and see them again.

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