As you know, if you have been browsing through our site, all our designs are inspired by the Japanese art and aesthetic of Wabi Sabi.
Wabi Sabi recognises that beauty lies in imperfection because that is how the world truly is. In order to fully experience the full extent of Wabi Sabi, we grabbed our ever faithful leather duffel bag, cashing in on the added bonus that you can take it on the plane and run out the airport while the others wait at the carousel, and travelled to Tokyo to see first hand how Wabi Sabi works in an urban environment and how it affects other forms of art, ritual and everyday life.
Our first stop was to check out a tea ceremony in Tokyo. We were struck by the amount of mindfulness that goes into every single movement. Every gesture is performed carefully, the mind focussed on the task at hand. This is how the muscle of mindfulness, the muscle that slowly gently and carefully draws us back to the present moment, is exercised and made stronger.
Making tea or making a leather bag is practise. No matter the task at hand we can always practise being present.
This below is our very valuable teacher Misao, who showed us step by step how to make tea.
Every school follows its procedure but other factors such as the time of the year, the day or the venue are also taken into account. We attended at noon and traditionally this is the time of the day when it is is preferable to have 5 guests and one host.
After having been called to the room by the sound of a gong, we were asked to purify ourselves and examine the items placed in the tea room. Misao then started to ritually cleanse each utensil— the tea bowl, whisk, and tea scoop— When the preparation of the utensils was completed, the she started to prepare thick tea.
Misao exchanged bows with us as we received our tea then in turn, we bowed to the next guest and raise the bowl in a gesture of respect to the host. We were then instructed to rotate the bowl to avoid drinking from the front, take a sip and compliment the host on the tea. After a few sips, we had to clean the rim of the bowl and pass it along. The bowl was then returned to Misao.
Miao never once mentioned Wabi Sabi or Mindfulness. These concepts were an embodiment of her actions and the ritual. The beautiful imperfect utensils and cup, her attention to every detail.
It convinced me even more that the things can not be studied in a book but need to be experienced. Either on the meditation cushion, at a vintage sewing machine or in a tea house and then, it all becomes magic.
Stay tuned for our next adventure.
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