Sunday, September 05, 2010

Suki Tea in Tokyo 6th Aug-13th Aug.

This trip was my wedding trip but as with everything I do tea is usually a part of it. It was going to be a combined work and pleasure trip as Masayoshi Manda who's father owns an antiques business invited me to fly from Tokyo to Fukuoka where his business is to discuss the SUKI TEA he imports, unfortunately Samantha and I, as well as 5 other guests who flew from far reaches of the globe to celebrate our wedding, declined as we had plans to large it up in Japans capital. and we did. . . Masa and family, I'll be over to Gallery Yumeori soon.
After a very long flight and a China Air muck up we we're delayed getting to Tokyo by one night, we did get a bonus night in a top hotel in Osaka where China Air dropped us off. The mini bars were on the airline so we celebrated our arrival in Japan in style and the next day were flown to our correct destination where Samantha and I along with two friends met up with another two friends, got refreshed and hit the city. Our hotel Excel was central Shibuya, the place with the mad crossroads and quite a built up shopping and nightlife district.

I've wanted to visit Japan, especially Tokyo since my dad bought me a Japanese mask poster when I was 10. I built myself up for a feast on the senses and the The first thing that struck me as different was the architecture then the street signs, plants, weather, light, smells, tastes, fashion, mannerism's but especially the food and drink. Not so much the price, it wasn't as pricey as I'd been led to believe. Expensive but if you've ever lived in London it's not so different.

We 24 houred it visiting temples, the odd bit of random shopping and getting married in the day. By night we hit the Hyatt for cocktails and then found some random small independent bars and chatted to Tokyo locals. Every other day the same in different regions of the city....and only one marriage day.

The tea ceremony was conducted by Suzi. Suki takes it off in this instance, not Suki. She has been preparing tea like this for over 26 years. First we had our sweets, a large parmaviolet, a chewy crystallised rock and a white bean cake. I'm not selling them here but they were delicious and a well needed sweet start for what was to come.
The Matcha was prepared by gently warming the bowl. There is a certain way to master the turn of the tea bowl, the length of time to sip your first sip etc. Etiquette in a way I've never experienced and this was an informal tea ceremony. Being the groom I was served first at all times, I liked that while it lasted. I think it was a guest of honour thing. I found out that it would not be unusual to have your boss at the head table of your wedding. I suppose as a respect thing. All together the ceremony took about 30 minutes and the tea, which was from Kyoto, was so refreshing. Now i've seen it done by the master I'll start training myself.

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