On September 22, 18 exchange students from China, Korea, and Vietnam participated in a tea ceremony at the Chuo University High School at Bunkyo Tea House. The exchange students who came to Chuo for the Global Water-Environmental Engineering Human Resources Development Program in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the Graduate School of Science and Engineering, have studied the Japanese language for 6 months, and currently begun research on the water environment.
Chuo University High School at Bunkyo students wearing colorful yukata welcomed the first-time tea goers who looked nervous in the anticipating atmosphere in the beginning. The participating exchange students gradually loosened up after listening intently to the meaning of the scroll hanging from the wall with the famous phrase, “Treasure every encounter for it will never recur,” and receiving an explanation of the tea ceremony in both Japanese and English. Despite having to endure the painful, square Japanese sitting style, the exchange students enjoyed the experience as they carefully practiced the steps to drinking the tea. In another room, the exchange students practiced making tea with the guidance from the Chuo high school students.
An exchange student from China commented that “the tea house was very nice, which inducing me to drink tea the moment I entered the room. I realized that the Japanese way of tea is about cherishing the people you meet as you drink tea and share the pain of sitting with your legs folded.”
An exchange student from Korea was “surprised that the tea tasted completely differently from what we can buy from vending machines. It was very good. I am grateful that I was able to learn the Japanese culture through this program, and not only spend time researching.”
In the end, the manager of the tea club at the Chuo University High School at Bunkyo extended a friendly message to the exchange students, welcoming them to the tea house whenever they needed to relax in between research work. We look forward to planning more exchange events in the near future!