和文化の豊かさを茶道で体験した研修員 Participants experience the abundance of Japanese culture at a tea ceremony

2024.06.07

5/11、JICA東京の地元である西原町会のご協力を賜り、福利厚生プログラムで日本文化紹介として茶道体験を行いました。
当日はブラジル、ウガンダ、ガーナ、ボツワナ、マレーシア、タイ、ウズベキスタンの研修員9名が参加しました。

自然との調和、もてなしの心、一杯のお茶を心から楽しむ豊かなお茶文化

鎌倉時代に中国から僧侶によって伝わったお茶は、修行中の眠気覚ましや健康増進として使われ、精神性を大切にした「侘び茶」として日本で発展してきた、といった茶道の始まりや時代背景のお話しの後、和室へ移動。
東京センターの和室を茶道に使うのはコロナ禍以降初めてです。主催の皆さまが選んでくださった美しい掛け軸やお花、お香が研修員を迎えてくれます。

まずは静寂の中で、茶道の一連の流れを体験します。
季節の深山つつじを模したとびきり美味しい主菓子が供され、懐紙の上で注意深くいただく研修員。
きりりとした空気感の中、道具を清め、お茶を点てる所作を真剣に見つめています。
道具を大切に扱い、心をこめてお茶を点て、目の前に供されるまでの所作の全てが優雅で美しく、温かな歓迎の心が感じられて感動的でした。抹茶は初めての研修員もいたかと思いますが、選んでいただいた九州の八女のお茶は甘味があって飲みやすく、皆「美味しい」と残さずいただきました。
その後はもう一席、リラックスした雰囲気で西原町会のゲストがお茶をいただくのを見学しながら、お茶を点てる所作の意味や道具について学びました。 

そして今回はぜひ自分でお茶を点てる体験をしてもらおうと準備いただき、それぞれが前に出て抹茶を茶筅で点てました。
力の抜き加減が難しく、お手本で見せてもらうようには中々出来ないことを体験。それでも「上手ですよ!」と主催の皆さまに言っていただき、初めて自分で点てたお茶をいただく研修員は、とても嬉しそうで笑顔が溢れていました。

その後の交流では、相手を思いやり、これほど多くのことを考えてもてなす文化や、茶道の所作の美しさに感動した、素晴らしいアートだ、時代背景や茶道にまつわるストーリーがとても興味深かった等、感謝のコメントが研修員から寄せられました。

古くは戦いの時代においても茶室には敵も味方もなく、お互いを敬い、一期一会の心からのもてなしを楽しむという茶道の素晴らしさ、豊かさを実体験してもらえたひとときでした。
西原町会の皆さま、そのお茶仲間の方々、研修員がどうしたらお茶を楽しんでくれるかを心を砕いて考えていただき、素晴らしい文化体験の機会を本当にありがとうございました。

研修員のコメント
・茶道は美しく、とても穏やかで素敵でした。日本の習慣に関わる細部への感謝が深まりました。

・素晴らしい経験をありがとうございました。日本の歴史と文化に触れることができて、とても楽しかったです。

・茶道がとても気に入りました。信じられないほど素晴らしい体験でした。開催していただき本当にありがとうございました。私たちにとても親切にしてくださり、全てを見せて知識をシェアしてくれて感謝しています。お茶はとてもおいしかったです!

Harmony with nature, hospitality, and a rich tea culture where a cup of tea is truly enjoyed.

On May 11, with the cooperation of the Nishihara Town Association, JICA Tokyo's local community, we held a tea ceremony experience as an introduction to Japanese culture in Participants Welfare Program.
On the day, nine participants from Brazil, Uganda, Ghana, Botswana, Malaysia, Thailand, and Uzbekistan gathered for the event.

Tea was introduced from China by Buddhist monks during the Muromachi period, and was used to stay awake during training and improve health, and developed in Japan as “Wabicha,” which valued spirituality. After the talk, we moved to the Japanese-style room. This was the first time the Tokyo Center's Japanese-style room was used for a tea ceremony since the coronavirus disaster. Participants were welcomed with beautiful hanging scrolls, flowers, and incense selected by the organizers.

First, participants will experience the sequence of the tea ceremony in silence.
The participants were served the most delicious main confectionery, which is modeled after the seasonal Miyama azalea, and carefully eat it on a piece of Kaishi (tea paper).
In the crisp atmosphere, the participants are seriously observing the process of purifying utensils and preparing tea.
From handling the utensils and preparing the tea with care, to serving it in front of us, everything they did was so elegant and beautiful, and we were moved by the warm welcome we felt.
Some of the participants may have tried matcha for the first time, but the Yame tea (from Kyushu) they chose was sweet and easy to drink, and everyone enjoyed it and said it was delicious.

Afterwards, we took another seat and watched guests from the Nishihara Town Association enjoy tea in a relaxed atmosphere, learning about the meaning behind the process of making tea.

This time, we wanted the participants to have the experience of making their own tea, so each of participants went to the front and made matcha tea with a chasen.
It seems to be a little difficult to relax and do it as they showed to us, but even so, the host said, “You're doing great!” The participants looked very happy and had a lot of smiles on their faces as they enjoyed the tea they made for the first time.

During the exchange afterwards, the participants commented on how much they appreciated the culture of caring for others and giving hospitality with so much consideration, how beautiful the tea ceremony was, it is a wonderful art, and how interesting the historical background and stories surrounding the tea ceremony were.

It was a time when the participants were able to experience the beauty and richness of the tea ceremony, where even in ancient times of war, there was no friend or foe in the tea room, and people respected each other and enjoyed the heartfelt hospitality of one another for a lifetime.
We would like to thank the members of Nishihara Town Association and their tea associates for their thoughtful consideration of how the participants could enjoy the tea ceremony, and for the wonderful cultural experience they provided.

Comments from participants
・The ceremony was beautiful, it was very peaceful and nice. I have gained more appreciation for the details involved in Japanese customs.
・Thank you for the wonderful experience. I enjoyed the journey into a past honored tradition of Japanese history and culture.
・I really liked the tea ceremony, it was unbelievable experience. Thank you so much for organizing it, and thank you for Naoko San and other ladies for being so nice and showing us everything and sharing their knowledge. Tea was very delicious!

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