Posted 23 March 2005 - 01:48 AM
The Japanese tea ceremony always sounded interesting, so I was real eager to check it out on my visit to Tokyo. I told the local guy (who was showing me around) about this, but he dragged me to a bar in Roppongi instead -- and since I'd spent the last half year in Ireland, he bought a round of Guinness. I was yearning to check out the amazing culture of this place -- Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, theatres and whatnot. Instead, I'm in a bar surrounded by exuberantly cocky US Marine types embassy guards, and Japanese girls -- very obviously out to score themselves said jarheads. It was like a really bad Vietnam war movie or something. Worst pint of the black stuff I ever tasted, too.
Eventually, I did get him to take me to a place that served the stuff, and also sold it. Got a chawan bowl, whisk, spoon-thingie, and a lacquered container for the powder -- reasonably priced. Stuff doesn't taste too bitter, but as Jinmyo said, I don't see any reason to drink this outside the tea ceremony itself...
I found other places that sold the stuff, but at utterly astronomical prices. Bowls that costs thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands of dollars -- I find it hard to believe now, in retrospect, but really, I'm pretty sure I saw bowls in that range. And it made me think -- isn't the tea ceremony supposed to be about simplicity? I just don't reckon you'll reach enlightenment any sooner with a $12,000 chawan, than sipping the stuff out of a Kmart soup bowl.